3, Santos 2
a friendly, but for 37,639 Plymothians this was an extraordinary
night. Santos, one of the world's leading football clubs, graced
Home Park as part of their international tour.
For young and old alike, this was a chance of a lifetime - to
be able to see the greatest footballer ever, Edson Arantes do
Nascimento, otherwise known as Pele. Then nearing the
end of his career, he had lost none of his grace and skill. Never
before (or probably again) would Home Park witness such a
to the massive and expectant crowd, the Santos players were
ordered to remain in their dressing room whilst their officials
made a last minute demand for £2,500 more than their contract
provided. Seeing this as little short of blackmail, Argyle's
chairman, Robert Daniel, refused. Santos's response was simple,
'no money, no match'. Minutes before kick-off, and with the excitement
mounting outside, Daniel had little choice and reluctantly
agreed to pay.
clips are a joy to watch. The Home Park terraces bulging at the
seams, although the science of turf management had a little way to
go in those days. And what about those perimeter seats! To cater
for the less able, individual folding wooden seats were placed
on the running track along the whole length of the
boundary fence. I'd forgotten about this practice - can you
imagine it today?
article is an extract from Harley Lawer's excellent book: "Argyle
Classics" published by Green Books, Plymouth (ISBN: 0951381709), and
is reproduced with his kind permission.
hour before the kick-off thousands were already thronging the terraces and
thousands were milling around outside. Home Park had never witnessed
anything quite like it before. After all, it was only a friendly.
this was a once in a lifetime occasion to see the world’s greatest footballer
turning the clock back a few seasons, and it seemed as if every football fan
in the West Country wanted to be there on the night Pele came to Plymouth.
Unfortunately, his Santos management wasn’t quite so enthusiastic about
gracing the occasion with their team’s presence. For the fans queuing up to
get into the ground never realised until they read the next morning’s
newspapers how close this box office hit was to being called off just
half-an-hour before the kick-off.
officials wanted their share of the gate proceeds in hard currency before they
took the field. But, after scrutinising the sell-out match returns, they
demanded £2,500 more than the signed contracts provided.
were suspicious of the official crowd figures. ‘No money, no match’ they
threatened and walked out on the negotiations after the club chairman, Robert
Daniel, refused to concede to their blackmail demands.
Daniel had second thoughts, however, when he looked out of the boardroom
window on a capacity crowd waiting anxiously for the match to start and
wondered how he could tell them at this late stage that the whole match was
He reluctantly agreed to pay the ransom under protest but refused to hand over
the extra cash until the teams attended an after-match reception at the
the match finally under way Mike Dowling needed just three minutes to lift the
roof off the Santos net with a blistering drive. Derek Rickard promptly made
it two with a deft header which Santos claimed was offside.
goalkeeper raced half the length of the pitch to argue with a linesman. When
Claudio later fumbled the ball Jimmy Hinch accepted an easy chance to make it
players were taking it all much too seriously for the temperamental Brazilians
who were so upset that they threatened to call it all off again if the referee
wasn’t replaced at half-time.
the ambassador, put his diplomatic skills to work to restore calm in the
dressing room corridors. He then returned to the pitch to express the
mesmerising talents the fans were still waiting to see.
close-control dribbling, passing and shooting sparked a Santos revival. But
his only goal was from the penalty spot. Edu swerved through to seize a second
final whistle hundreds of youngsters swarmed on to the ground. The prize of
Pele’s shirt went to Johnny Hore but he and the rest of the team had been
warned that this special souvenir was booked for pride of place in the
would serve as a reminder of an unforgettable night that could have turned out
to be the biggest non-event in the club’s history!
Furnell (Aleksic), Provan, Sullivan, Hore, Saxton,
Hague, Dowling, Rickard; Hinch (Davey), Latcham, Welsh.
Claudio, Alberto, Murias, Hermes, Leo, Marcal,
Jair, Brecha (Pitico), Pitico (Vincente), Alcindo,
- Dowling, Rickard, Hinch --
- Pele (pen), Edu
Mr C. Nicholls