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Ulster-born Everton hero's FA Cup medal sells for £8k

By Dick Barton

A winner's medal presented to a Northern Ireland footballer after he starred in the 1933 FA Cup final at Wembley has sold for £8,000 at auction.

The 14-carat gold medal belonged to Coleraine-born defender Billy Cook, who played right back for Everton when they beat Manchester City 3-0 in front of 120,950 people at the London venue on April 29 of that year.

Cook later returned home, and during the 1954-55 season managed Portadown.

Before the sale last week at Graham Budd Auctions in London, Cook's medal had been expected to fetch between £8,000 and £10,000.

The medal previously sold for £6,900 when it was auctioned at Christie's in Glasgow on December 10, 1998.

Cook was born in Coleraine on November 20, 1909, to Co Donegal-born carter James Cook and his wife, Co Derry-born Hannah.

He started his football career with Port Glasgow Athletic Juniors before joining Scottish giants Celtic on February 13, 1930, just 12 weeks after his 20th birthday.

He helped Celtic win the Scottish Cup in 1931, and won his first Irish cap against Scotland at Windsor Park on September 17, 1932.

He made 100 Scottish League appearances for the Bhoys before being sold to the Toffees on December 30, 1932 for £3,000.

While it might not sound a lot now, in 1932 it was possible to buy five decent houses for less than £3,000, with the average English house price then £540.

It was in his first season with Everton that he helped the club to glory at Wembley.

And in the 1938-39 season Cook helped the Goodison Park side win the league title.

After the Second World War he began his managerial career with non-league Rhyl in Wales.

In 1947 he became coach at Norwegian club SK Brann.

He later managed the Peru national team.

And following his brief spell at Shamrock Park, he became the manager of the Iraq national team.

Cook was 83 when he died in Liverpool on December 11, 1992.

One of his team-mates in the 1933 FA Cup final was the legendary Dixie Dean, whose 60 league goals for Everton in the 1927-28 season remains a record that in all likelihood will never be beaten.

In the losing Manchester City team that day was someone who was to become more famous as a manager than as a player, Matt Busby.

Sir Matt went on to be a legendary boss at Manchester United, building the famous Busby Babes team that was devastated in the 1958 Munich air disaster.

He then rebuilt the club, leading United to their George Best-inspired European Cup triumph in 1968.

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