Football boots return to shop which sold them 70 years ago
A custom made pair of football boots have been returned to a shop that sold them 70 years ago.
Dougie Tobutt is the third in his family to run Tobutt Sports on Blackburn Road, Astley Bridge.
The store is looking forward to celebrating 100 years of operating in the town, and Mr Tobutt is looking to put on a display highlighting the history of the business.
He recently thought he had lost a rare pair of football boots, made by Popular, which were signed by England and Preston North End legend Tom Finney.
A supremely talented winger who scored 30 goals in 76 games for England between 1945 and 1958, Finney was recognised as being one of the best footballers the world has ever seen.
Mr Tobutt put out an appeal to find a similar set of boots.
And his call was answered when old friend Dave Thomasson revealed he had the pair of boots which were obtained from the shop when he was aged around five.
They were custom made and done when Mr Tobutt's grandfather was in charge of the store.
After keeping hold of them for 70 years, he has handed them over to be part of the display along with a pair of socks his mother knitted to go with them.
Mr Thomasson, 75, said: “I am from a football mad family.
“I was the mascot, there was a factory on Waterloo Street called Put You Up who made settees who had a team.
“Lots of my family works there and they played every week in what was probably the Bolton combination league.
“I got them from the shop from Dougie’s father when I was four or five.
“I found out he was having this centenary so I gave them to him.
“I have had them 70 years.”
The store, which began Higher Bridge Street in 1923, was opened by Dougie’s grandfather Len.
His son Geoffrey helped out after the Second World War and after the death of Len in 1965 Geoffrey came in before later taking over.
He has expanded the business to include the Good Health Centre.
Mr Tobutt, 72, who later recovered the boots signed by Finney he thought he had lost, said: “We are going to have a display with memorabilia, rackets from the 1920s and football tops.
“Since my 60th birthday I have got all my life together.
“Since then we have got 16 lads together every year including Dave.
“He said he had these boots.
“I thought I had lost the ones signed by Tommy Finney, I got them signed when I saw him at a book signing.
"The Finney boots turned up in a plastic bag in the cellar when I was throwing stuff out, so now we have both to put on show for our anniversary."