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For the very next season he was banned for life for bribery and making illegal payments to players. At the time, in fact, corruption went to the top of the club, with the chairman and six of the directors also being banned along with 17 of the first-team squad who were ordered to be sold at auction by the FA.

Among them was the talented Billy Meredith who had exposed the nature and extent of the scandal. Ironically, he was bought by local rivals Manchester United, and would lead them to their first championship in 1908.

Robert Curtis, Cheshire

ATG note: the gold pocket watch presented to Maley featured at Gardiner Houlgate on May 22 but was unsold in the live auction against an estimate of £5000-10,000. By coincidence, a gold watch presented to Billy Meredith is on offer at Derbyshire saleroom Hansons on August 22.