Published: 10:40, 27 October 2021
| Updated: 10:47, 27 October 2021
An investigation surrounding the alleged theft of a “priceless” winners’ football medal is under way.
The 67-year-old said: “I’m absolutely devastated. It means so much to me.
“I have reported it to the police, and they have taken it on board."
He had been due to visit Deal on Saturday for their FA Vase first-round tie against Kennington and had asked his wife, Sandie, to take the prized possession out of a safe and she left it in the front room of their apartment at D'Este Road, Ramsgate.
Mr Sampson, who remains the only manager of a Kent side to have won the FA Vase, suffered with shingles last week and had to decide against going to Deal’s Charles Ground for the tie.
He said: “I have got an apartment in Ramsgate.
“I was meant to be going down to Deal last Saturday and I was going to take my medal. I said to Sandie ‘Can you take my medal out?’
“She took it out of a safe and put it in the front room.
“I had shingles last week.
“I had seen the Vase medal sat there on Friday.
“On Saturday, I was meant to be going to Deal but I was not well enough because I had shingles. So Sandy had to phone the Deal chair, Natalie Benville, to say I couldn’t make it."
It was only on Sunday morning he and wife Sandie noticed the blue box, which contained the medal, had gone missing.
"We think we know who took it," he said.
Mr Sampson, who had a stroke in 2007, also successfully coached Herne Bay, Tonbridge and Dartford but says the medal is the most prized of his possessions from an illustrious career.
Kent Police has confirmed it is looking into the incident.
A spokesman said: “Kent Police is investigating a reported theft in Ramsgate, which is believed to have taken place on Friday.
“The victim reported that a medal, which is a FA Challenge Vase winner’s medal, was taken from a property in D'Este Road.”
Mr Sampson, who doesn't think the medal is worth as much as some may expect but said it has significant sentimental value, hopes Deal can reach the FA Vase once again this term and the in-form Hoops progressed to the second round as they beat Kennington 4-0.
He added: “Sandie was tearful because she thought it was her fault but it wasn’t her fault. I asked her to get the medal out for me.
“It’s the most important piece of football memorabilia I have got.
“It’s priceless to me. I wouldn’t put a price on it.”
Mr Sampson has also written a book called "Sudden Exit" which tells of his struggle to fight back to health after his stroke.
Team-mates have offered Mr Sampson their own winners’ medals following the news.
Roly Graham's late goal won the FA Vase for Deal as they beat Chippenham Town 1-0 at the old Wembley 21 years ago.
The incident coincided with work being done at the apartment on Friday.
Enquiries into the reported theft are ongoing and anyone who has seen or been offered the medal for sale, or who has any information which may assist enquiries, should call Kent Police on 01843 222289, quoting reference 46/214069/21.
You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or use the online form on their website.