June 04 2014, 0 Comments
It's a story that creeps up every World Cup year, a ludicrous tale more fitting for the big screen than a 60s south London estate. However as the years roll by, the whole idea of somebody wanting and actually succeeding to steal a World Cup trophy seems to capture our imaginations and baffle us as to how it was possible. Incase you've never heard the comical story of pickles the dog (unlikely) then let us fill you in. It was March 20th 1966, the country was all but set to host the greatest footballing tournament in the world. ...Harold Wilson was prime minister and poised to take a second term, fashion was flourishing and the people of London were in full swing. In Central Hall, Westminster the coveted Jules Rimet cup was on display at the “Sport with Stamps” stand as part of the Stampex Exhibition. The gleaming solid gold statuette that had graced the hands of footballing greats like Pele stood in the centre of the room for all to glare and dream. As a church service began in a neighboring part of the building and with two guards still in the hall at the time, somehow, without anyone seeing or hearing a thing, the cup was removed from its display. As it was such a high profile case, Scotland Yard was immediately put on the trail as panic ensued. Before it was made public, the FA secretary even ordered a local silversmith to replicate the cup and of course to keep shtum about it. Inevitably however, a deluge of media hype followed as well as numerous crank calls and theories behind the robbery. The best was probably the man who wrote in to tell the police that his clock, yes his clock had told him the trophy was in Wicklow, Ireland. Soon after, a genuine ransom package was received containing a piece of the Jules Rimet trophy. Though the press didn’t specify what ‘piece’ was in the package it’s hard not to imagine a miniature finger or toe and the gasps of police officers as its revealed, prompting a woman to feint hand on forehead. After a meeting was arranged and the man in question, A Mr. Edward Betchley subsequently arrested, he insisted he was just a middleman for the true mastermind known only as ‘The Pole’. Eventually Bletchley promised to reveal the trophy’s whereabouts in return for a visit from his lady friend. Whilst the deal was being orgainsed a couple of days passed and David Corbett, a Thames lighterman was on his way to make a phone call across the road from his flat in Norwood, South London. With him was Pickles his four-year-old mongrel dog, a gift from his brother who couldn’t take pickles’ incessant furniture chewing. As they crossed the road pickles began to pull away, drawing his owners attention to a bundle of newspaper which was tightly wrapped and lodged beneath the front wheel of a neighbors car and some bushes. As David tore away some of the paper he revealed the words Germany, Uruguay, Brazil. Running back to his ground floor flat and frantically ripping the rest of the paper, the gold, winged, cup lay in Corbett’s hands, certainly not the last Englishman to have the privilege that year. Pickles had sure enough found the World Cup trophy and gained celebrity status across the nation and the world. Starring in a feature film ‘The Spy with the Cold Nose’ amongst plenty of appearances and awards, not least getting to lick the players bowls after the World Cup Winners’ celebratory meal. The metropolitan police were left red faced after the whole ordeal, though they were helped by England going on to lift the trophy. Brazil said it was ‘sacrilege that would never have been committed in Brazil where even its thieves loved football too much’. In Rio de Janeiro, 1983 the Jules Rimet trophy was once again stolen and has never been seen again.