Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pickles: the dog who saved the 1966 World Cup for England

The most famous picture in English footballing history could never have been taken without the help of a mongrel dog called Pickles.

The Jules Rimet World Cup held aloft by captain Bobby Moore had been stolen on March 20, 1966, a few weeks before England won the tournament for the first and only time.

Seven days after the cup had disappeared from an exhibition at Central Hall, Westminster, Pickles found it wrapped in newspaper under a garden hedge while out walking with his owner, David Corbett, in Upper Norwood, south London.

No doubt the collie mix was a bit disappointed that the Jules Rimet was made of solid gold worth £30,000 rather than a nice, juicy bone. But his owner would have disagreed – he received a £6,000 reward (roughly equivalent to £170,000 in today's money).

The thief was never found.

Brazil, which held the Jules Rimet trophy at the time and went on to keep it after winning the competition for the third time in 1970, was reported to have been outraged by the theft. Brazilian thieves, they said, loved football so much it would have been a sacrilege to steal the World Cup.

The Jules Rimet trophy was stolen again in 1983 – from a cabinet in Rio de Janeiro – and never recovered.

Pickles the dog died in 1967, choking to death on his lead while chasing a cat. He was buried in David Corbett's garden.


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