Notts County, founded in 1862, is often regarded as the oldest professional football club in the world.
Over the past 158 years they've had their fair share of ups and downs, not least during the club's early history, when fortunes were mixed, league positions varied, and spells in the second division seemed a sad decline for a club that had helped found the top flight in 1888.
Despite seeing their first demotion after a sorry 1892-93 campaign, the club remained resolute, hoping to reach the same heights they had but two seasons ago when they achieved their highest league finish, as well as reaching the final of the prestigious F.A. Cup.
Although it would be a further four seasons until 'The Magpies' were to gain a well-deserved promotion, perhaps the most memorable event in the club’s entire history came during this brief hiatus, that being in the form of an immense F.A. Cup win during the 1893-94 season. The importance of this accolade cannot be overstated, representing the first time (and only one of eight) a club outside the top flight has lifted the trophy.
Whilst this historic achievement is still invoked when fans talk about ‘the magic of the cup’, the side who completed this feat was one replete with talent, including five international players, and perhaps one of the staunchest goalkeepers in English Football at that time, George Toone.
Born in 1868, Toone started off his junior career with Nottingham Jardines FC, and then Notts Rangers FC, before signing his first professional contract with Notts County in 1889. He would go on to make over 250 appearances for the club during a ten year spell, including their 1891 F.A. Cup run (of which he missed the final due to a leg injury), their 1896/97 promotion, and of course that fateful F.A. Cup victory in 1894.
Whilst a formidable goalkeeper, and one who represented England on two occasions, Toone played during a time when many didn’t devote all their time to the sport, but also followed a chosen occupation alongside football. In his case, Toone supplemented his income working as a twisthand in the famous Nottingham lace industry, one that must have certainly helped developed his wrists to anticipate powerful shots during his time between the sticks.
Considering the career of this Nottingham legend, we at McTear’s are delighted to be offering a medal awarded to Toone during the 1895/96 season. Lot 1739 is a Derbyshire F.A. Charity cup winners’ medal awarded to the player, this being but one season before The Magpies reclaimed their rightful place back in the top flight.
This offering isn’t the first Toone medal to come to auction, with his F.A. Cup winners’ medal having previously sold for a price over £8,000 in 2018. With an estimate of £1,500-2,500, one lucky fan will get the chance to own a piece of Notts County history, and cast their mind back to one of the most decorated spells in the clubs history.
McTear’s is Scotland’s only auction house to host a Sporting Medals & Trophies Auction. For a complimentary, no-obligation valuation contact James Bruce on 0141 810 2880 or James@mctears.co.uk