To get in touch, please write to contact@greensonscreen.co.uk

Argyle 3, Santos 2

Friendly Game: Wednesday, March 14, 1973

Just 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 man.  

Unknown 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.

These 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? 

These video clips are owned by The South West Film & Television Archive, and reproduced with its kind permission:

First half (92 secs, 2404K)  First 15 secs audio only.

Second half (81 secs, 2275K)

From behind the goal  (32 secs, 912K, no sound)

The match programme

 

The following 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.

An 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.

But 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.

Santos 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.

They 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.

Mr 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 off.

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 Holiday Inn.

With 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.

Their 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 three.

Argyle 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.

Pele, 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.

His 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 goal.

At the 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 boardroom.

It 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!

Argyle: Furnell (Aleksic), Provan, Sullivan, Hore, Saxton, Hague, Dowling, Rickard; Hinch (Davey), Latcham, Welsh.

Santos: Claudio, Alberto, Murias, Hermes, Leo, Marcal, Jair, Brecha (Pitico), Pitico (Vincente), Alcindo, Pele, Edu.

Scorers: Argyle - Dowling, Rickard, Hinch -- Santos - Pele (pen), Edu

Referee: Mr C. Nicholls (Plymouth)

Attendance: 37,639

Greens on Screen is run as a service to fellow supporters, in all good faith, without commercial or private gain.  I have no wish to abuse copyright regulations and apologise unreservedly if this occurs. If you own any of the material used on this site, and object to its inclusion, please get in touch using the 'Contact Us' button at the top of each page. Search facility powered by JRank Search Engine. DHTML JavaScript Menu Courtesy of Milonic.