In my day it was about this time of year that we had a brief visit from one of them there celebrities that seem to regularly pass through town, when I haven’t got anything else to talk about.
I remember exactly when this was because it was the autumn immediately before we won the football World Cup.
Now it happened that the Brazil national team came over here to have a little warm up tour. They were due to play a friendly against Aston Villa on the Sunday so were travelling up the A6 on the Saturday when their coach broke down.
Apparently, he’d been having family problems and what with the pressure of the World Cup he had been on the edge for a while. Course, not, I just made that bit up for comedy affect.
The bus broke down coming into Finedon and coasted down the hill before coming to a halt out side Parkwell. They parked well outside Parkwell! (I’m in a bit of a funny mood)
At first the team didn’t notice anything was wrong. The lads were great singers and they’d done a full repetoire of Brazilian folk songs between Bedford and here. To be frank the driver was grateful for the break.
Anyway, a mechanic from Parkwell assessed the problem, took the obligatory intake of breath and announced it was an all day job.
Now the team were a laid back bunch so they found their way through to the Rec with a ball for a kick about. Who should they find there but none other than Finedon Vics Reserves. Now it happened that they were standing about kicking their heels- that was allowed in them days. Bozeat Booters had had to cry off at the last minute as six players had come down with a virus.
Despite the language barrier a match was quickly arranged. The Brazil lads had all their stars; Edu, Jairzinho Zito and of course, Pele. Finedon had half a dozen from the shoe factory, two farmers and a curate. But they did have Dancing Desmond on the wing, an amateur ballroom dancer and bus driver. Des plagued the Brazilian defence but unfortunately, most of the action took place in the Vics penalty area. Even when Des got the ball, Pele of all people clattered into him. Time and again he hacked Des down. The lad was black and blue but never complained.
After the game everyone retired to the ‘Prince’ to imbibe copious amounts luke warm beverage, which led to much fun, laughter and a good old sing song. The visitors could do all manner of harmonies all unaccompanied. A fantastic time was had by all before they were back on the road.
You know those Brazilians left a lasting mark. To this day whenever, a group of singers get up to sing unaccompanied in the remaining local hostelries, some one will all shout out that they are singing ‘Hacker Pele’.