– Content and Marketing Coordinator, Press Office at EmmanuelleChaix
Summer is definitely drawing to a close now. I, like many other Londoners, attempted to elongate the season, by squeezing out another BBQ on Saturday, only to find myself standing in the rain in my flip flops. It is a shame that summer is over, but we can look back on the past few months, and relish in what a great time it has been. The weather has been glorious and The World Cup was absolutely spectacular. We will definitely remember the English team for a while, and they will find themselves placed amongst the rest of our country’s footballing greats. I felt it was important, however, if we are adding to the Football hall of fame, to remind ourselves of the original English football hero. The canine detective, Sherlock Bones if you will, Pickles, the crossbreed Collie.
In 1966, England was preparing to host the 8th Word Cup, excitement was building around the nation, and the Jules Rimet Trophy was being paraded round the country. In March 1966, it was being showcased at a stamp exhibition in Westminster. The trophy was in a glass cabinet and guarded by 6 police officers, but disaster struck when the trophy went walkies. ‘The FA deeply regrets this most unfortunate incident. It inevitably brings discredit to both the FA and this country.’ Was the rather bleak official statement given. The country went into melt down, determined to find the trophy. Rewards where offered up by numerous people for its safe return, but nothing came to light. There were false leads and rather farcical bribe attempts, but as the tournament came ever closer, we were trophy-less.
All of this changed when our heroic crossbreed Collie pawed into the frame. Pickles was on a walk in Upper Norwood, South London, with his owner David Corbett. Corbett speaks of Pickles catching a scent and disappearing into a bush. It was only when Corbett ventured towards his dog with a lead that he became aware that Pickles was investigating a brown package. Following Pickles’ adamant sniffing, he opened it up to discover the missing trophy.
Pickles immediately became a national celebrity. He was awarded a silver medal by the secretary of the National Canine Defence League (now the Dogs Trust), was presented with a silver platter covered with money and a bone chew toy, as well as being given a year’s supply of dog’s food. He even used his new found fame to get into acting, appearing in the comic caper ‘The Spy with the Cold Nose’, in which he received the double the usual fee a dog would be paid, due to his star status.
The infamous picture of Bobby Moore raising this same trophy after England won the entire tournament, presumably after being inspired by Pickles’ antics, is etched into the mind of any football fan. It marks the first and last time England had success on an international stage.
Without our canine hero, the country would have had a very different summer and Pickles should always be remembered as England’s first footballing hero.