A Life in a Year – 19th December, Famous Sporting Trophies

The Brazilian football team won the World Cup tournament for the third time in 1970. It was put on display at the Brazilian Football Confederation headquarters in Rio de Janeiro in a cabinet with a front of bullet-proof glass.   Unfortunately although the Brazilians had gone to a lot of trouble to protect the trophy from a frontal assault they neglected to make sensible precautions for the rear and on 19th December 1983, the wooden rear of the cabinet was prized open with a crowbar and the cup was stolen.

For the second time…

The solid gold Jules Rimet trophy was stolen the first time while on public display at an exhibition in London in 1966 and this led to a nationwide search and the Football Association Chairman, Joe Mears, receiving threatening demands for money to ensure its safe return.  Brazil, the then holders of the trophy were understandably outraged and accused the English FA of total incompetence.  No change there then and they were almost certainly right of course but by a delicious twist of fate when the trophy was stolen again in 1983 it was never ever recovered.  It is believed that it was melted down for the precious metal and it will almost certainly never be seen again.

The English Football association might have lost the trophy bur at least they got it back…

This is the point where the story becomes unbelievably weird or perhaps just plain unbelievable.  One evening a week after the theft, a man called David Corbett was out walking his mongrel dog Pickles, in south-east London, when the dog’s attention was caught by a package wrapped in newspaper lying under a bush in somebody’s front garden.  It was the World Cup. I’ll say that again.  It was the World Cup!  No one has ever satisfactorily explained what it was doing under a bush wrapped in a copy of the Daily Mirror but David Corbett received a reward of £5,000, which was a huge sum, the equivalent of over £250,000 today and Pickles became an overnight national hero.  But some people said that the trophy was cursed and within weeks of the cup’s recovery and in a remarkable instance of bad luck, Pickles choked to death when he caught his lead in the bough of a fallen tree while chasing a cat.

Other sporting trophies…

In cricket, regardless of whichever side holds the Ashes, the urn normally remains in the Marylebone Cricket Club Museum at Lord’s.

The original Calcutta Cup trophy is in a very fragile state following many years of poor treatment by the winning Rugby team. When won by England the original Calcutta Cup is put on public display in the Museum of Rugby in Twickenham and when Scotland win it, it is kept in a cupboard under the stairs.

Wimbledon Tennis trophy’s for the singles champions are kept at Wimbledon and the winners are presented with smaller scale replicas.

There are 2 official Webb Ellis Cups, which are used interchangeably. One cup is a 1906 trophy made by Carrington and Co. of London, which was a Victorian design of a 1740 cup and the other is a 1986 replica. These trophies are kept at the home of the IRB in Ireland.

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