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Northern Ireland player's 1933 FA cup medal could fetch £10k

By Dick Barton

An FA Cup winners' medal presented to a Northern Ireland footballer after he starred in the 1933 final is set to sell for at least £8,000 at auction.

The 14-carat gold item belonged to Billy Cook, who played for Everton when they beat Manchester City 3-0 at Wembley on April 29, 1933.

Mr Cook later returned to Northern Ireland and, in the 1954-1955 season, managed Portadown.

Now his winners' medal is up for sale and is expected to fetch between £8,000 and £10,000 at Graham Budd Auctions in London on May 16. It previously sold for £6,900 when it went under the hammer at Christie's in Glasgow in 1998.

Cook was born in Coleraine on November 20, 1909, and lived in the Waterside area of the town.

He started his football career with Port Glasgow Athletic Juniors before joining Celtic in February 1930. The defender helped the team lift the Scottish Cup in 1931 and he won his first Ireland cap against Scotland at Windsor Park on September 17, 1932.

He made 100 league appearances for Celtic, who sold him to Everton for £3,000 in December 1932. To put that in context, at the time it was possible to buy five decent houses in England for less than £3,000 as the average price was £540.

In the 1938-1939 season, Cook (left) helped Everton win the Football League title. After the Second World War, he started his managerial career with Rhyl in Wales and, in 1947, became coach at Norwegian club SK Brann. He subsequently went to South America and managed the Peru national team.

After a brief spell with Portadown, he became the boss of Iraq.

Cook died aged 83 in Liverpool on December 11, 1992.

One of his team-mates in the 1933 FA Cup final was Everton legend Dixie Dean, whose 60 league goals for the side between 1927 and 1928 remains a Football League record.

In the Manchester City side defeated in that game was another illustrious football figure, Matt Busby - who went on to become Manchester United manager and architect of the club's historic 1968 European Cup triumph.

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