The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has lent a helping hand towards repairing what is arguably the finest looking trophy in the Manx footballing calendar.
The Isle of Man Football Association needed to get the Railway Cup trophy to a professional silversmith in England in order to carry out a much-needed overhaul of what is the largest football trophy awarded each year by the Isle of Man FA.
The Steam Packet Company stepped in and offered to look after the trophy – and its guardian, the FA’s Norman Kneen – as it crossed the Irish Sea on its way to Sheffield.
Isle of Man FA Chief Executive Frank Stennett said: ‘This trophy was presented to the FA in 1925. The original trophy was presented in 1905 and is on display in our boardroom. The existing trophy is much bigger in size and was presented by the Railway Company to encourage people to travel on the railway to watch games of football across the Island. It has been periodically temporarily repaired, but was in need of a full overhaul by a professional silversmith.
‘The trophy needs some TLC. It has been presented every year on or around Boxing Day since 1925 – excluding the war years – and over the course of time it has picked up a few knocks and bumps. There are many stories linked to the Railway Cup trophy but we are all looking forward to its complete restoration. It is without doubt our finest trophy and means a lot to both football fans and also railway enthusiasts. The silversmith at Sheffield Silverware who examined it said it is without doubt one of the finest trophies he has seen.
‘The repairs and restoration should be finished in a few weeks’ time. As soon as it is ready we will look to make plans to bring it straight back home.’
Mr Stennett added: ‘Norman contacted me to say how well he and the trophy had been looked after on the Ben-my-Chree. We appreciate the efforts of everyone at the Steam Packet Company who has assisted us on this project. Over the years the Company has been really supportive to our sport and we can’t thank them enough.’
Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘The Railway Cup is a magnificent trophy and, while obviously suffering wear and tear over the years, it still looks remarkably good after 86 years. We were only too happy to do what we could to assist the FA with this restoration project, and help ensure the trophy is awarded for many years to come.’
Pictured with the Railway Cup are, left to right, Isle of Man Football Association’s Norman Kneen and Chief Executive Frank Stennett, Steam Packet Company Director of Marketing and Communications David Findlay and Captain Mike Leadley