Advertisment for Craven 'A' cigarettes featuring Stanley Matthews, Europe, 1952
“The cigarette for me” says “football genius” Stanley Matthews in this 1952 advert from Picturegoer magazine. The use of sporting figures, as well as glamorous stars from the stage and screen, in cigarette advertising had become commonplace by this time. However, after the link between smoking and poor health was definitively made in the 1950s – and popularly accepted in the following years – such advertising swiftly declined. The Craven ‘A’ brand was enduringly popular. With it’s cork tip, but no filter, one of its most unlikely claims was that it was “kind to your throat”. Stanley Matthews is one of English football’s greatest ever players. In a professional career lasting over thirty years, he played for his country more than fifty times. He was also the pivotal figure in one of the sport’s most memorable games – the 1953 F.A. Cup final, often referred to simply as ‘the Matthews final’. Vegetarian and teetotal, Matthews was criticised for advertising cigarettes, but he was still playing at the highest level aged 50. The oldest man to ever play in England's top division.
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