When the Brazilians came to Scotland

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This is one of my favourite sporting photographs. It is taken on either the 23rd or 24th of June 1966, when the Brazil national side, at that time World Champions ( Chile 1962), having arrived in the UK to defend their title at the finals in England, came up to Scotland to play a friendly at Hampden.

The venue is obviously Troon Juniors football ground on the Ayrshire coast, the very un-prepossessing structure of the pavilion making up the background to the shot. And the main man is one of the world’s best-ever players, Pele – complete with minder – right in the middle of the picture. Surrounding him is a cross section of Scottish life at that time.

To the left, is a young boy carrying on his back a satchel-type of schoolbag, one very common in that era but almost never seen today. To Pele’s right, are two other ladies, one in long trousers, one in the shorter version, this one ready with pen and piece of paper hoping for the great man’s autograph. On either side of the main door, are several older men, all wearing the flat caps so beloved of that generation (I have one but Elisabeth will not come out with me if I wear it!); and to the extreme right, is a lady who had no doubt heard of all the commotion and had come along for herself to see what all the fuss was about. She has got herself up on what are surely terracing steps for a good gawp and is carrying one of the ubiquitous two- handled shopping bags of the era, well before the advent of supermarkets and plastic bags!

What I really love about the photo, though, are the shoes on Pele’s feet. No trainers for him, nothing but the best of shiny lace-ups. The training session is obviously finished, so could he be on his way to ‘ra dancing’?

Jim Craig

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