Jack Taylor’s World Cup final stopwatch fetches over £4,200 at auction

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The stopwatch used by English referee Jack Taylor to time the 1974 World Cup final has fetched a total of £4,210.80 (including fees) at Fellows Auctioneers in Birmingham.

The timer was used by Wolverhampton-born Taylor to time the fastest goal ever scored in a World Cup final – the penalty by Johan Neeskens in the second minute. This goal was also the first ever penalty awarded in a World Cup final.

The stopwatch contains engravings including the official 1974 World Cup logo and Jack Taylor’s initials. It was entered into auction at Fellows by Taylor’s family.

Three separate internet bidders from Fellows Live and The Saleroom were interested in the lot – with the eventual winner triumphing at approximately 11:55 am on Monday 14th June.

The hammer price of the item was £3,300, and the full price including fees was £4,210.80.

The item was Lot 175 in the Luxury Watch Sale, a live auction which took place in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. Its auction estimate was £3,000 – £5,000.

Jack Taylor Omega Stopwatch hand shot_Property of Fellows Auctioneers
Jack Taylor Omega Stopwatch hand shot

The 1974 World Cup final took place in Munich, with West Germany emerging as winners in a 2-1 victory.

Johan Cruyff, Gerd Müller, and Franz Beckenbauer all participated in the match, with it often being mentioned as the biggest and most important match in referee Jack Taylor’s career.

After awarding a penalty to the Netherlands in the first minute, before a German player had even touched the ball, Jack Taylor recalled that Franz Beckenbauer approached him and said “Taylor, you’re an Englishman.”

Taylor, born and raised in Wolverhampton, can be seen using the stopwatch in various videos and images of the match. He is one of only three Englishmen to have refereed a World Cup final.

It is not known why Taylor was able to keep the stopwatch, although it is likely that he was gifted it by FIFA.

He gave the stopwatch to his daughter, Jayne Willis, over forty years ago. It has remained – untouched – in a cabinet since the 1980s.

The watch still works, and it comes in its original Omega box, which also contains the name of the referee.

Measuring 54mm in diameter, and with a mechanical, hand-wound movement, the item could be viewed in both Birmingham and London prior to the sale. Fellows also offered free shipping on its purchase.

Jack Taylor took charge of more than 1,000 competitive matches over a 33-year career, including the 1966 FA Cup final and the 1971 European Cup final.

In 2013 he became the first referee to be inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame, after previously being inducted into the FIFA Hall of Fame in 1999.
He passed away in Shropshire in 2012, aged 82.

Steven Yambo, Senior Watch Specialist at Fellows Auctioneers, said: “It is a delight to auction such a precious and significant piece of footballing history. Jack Taylor was one of the most esteemed English referees who was involved in some huge football matches, although this was certainly the biggest.

We received multiple bids from three different bidders on this lot and I am glad that the stopwatch was sought-after. It is in a very good, working condition for its age and the winning bidder has acquired an exquisite and historic item.”

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