A Football last played with during the First World War could become the most expensive ever. The leather ball dates back to the Battle of the Somme, when infantrymen kicked balls forward as they advanced. As the World War centenary year approaches, the ball’s French owner Dominique Zanardi believes it could be time to let it go home. In 1998, the 54-year-old memorabilia collector found the ball, close to where the 18th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment attacked on July 1st 1916.
“It was in on a rubbish dump in the village of Coin, near Albert”, Zanardi said.
“A farmer who had housed members of the regiment had died, and his grandchildren were clearing his house.
“They were set to burn everything, including the ball, but I managed to retrieve it. A rucksack in which the ball was found was stamped 18th Manchesters.
“The ball was from Gamages, the London department store, and had probably been bought by mail order.”
Zanardi, who runs Tommy’s cafe and museum at Pozières, said he was contacted by Manchester United about acquiring the ball, but turned them down at the time.
Asked about how much the football might be worth, Zanardi said: “How can you value something that is unique, and so historic? It’s priceless.”