On This Day – 12th March

It was on this day in 1973 that Pele played in London for the only time in his career. It wasn’t at Wembley Stadium though, as you would imagine.

Pele’s club Santos played two games in England in 1973, one at Fulham before going down to Plymouth Argyle. They had been in England the previous year, with matches against Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa.

The Santos matches always drew in large crowds, with both the hosting club and Santos splitting the gate receipts. 21,464 fans were at Craven Cottage that night, more than double Fulham’s average attendance that season.
After the Fulham match, Santos representatives claimed that the London club had lied about the number of fans present at the match. They wanted more money from the friendly, but they didn’t get it.

Fulham won the game 2-1, with Pele scoring from the penalty spot after he was initially brought down in the penalty area by Fulham goalkeeper Peter Mellor.

There you have it, Craven Cottage is the only London venue that the great Brazilian played at! You never know if that will ever come up in a pub quiz. If it does, you read it on here first!

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