9/6/16

Pickles: 1966 World Cup Champion



Ok, maybe Pickles the dog did not win the World Cup but he did become famous in history for finding the stolen trophy.




In March 1966, the Jules Rimet trophy was stolen from a public display four months before the World Cup was due to kick off at Wembley Stadium in London. A week later it was found by a black and white collie named Pickles.

Pickles and his owner Dave Corbett were going for an evening walk when Pickles spotted a package, tightly wrapped in newspaper, under a small tree near their south London home. Because the IRA were active in those days, Corbett was hesitant to open the package thinking it might be a bomb but his curiosity got the best of him. He tore a little bit of the newspaper off and saw a shield which he recognized right away as being the stolen trophy - minus a piece of the trophy.

The missing piece along with a ransom note was received earlier by English Football Association chairman Joe Mears. Mears alerted the authorities and agreed to meet the extortionist who identified himself as "Jackson". When the exchange was made the police arrested "Jackson" who was later identified as Edward Betchley, a 47 year old dockworker and petty thief. Betchley claimed to be only a middleman and said he did not know where the trophy was. Whether Betchley was indeed a middleman or acting alone has never been determined.





When Corbett took the trophy to the police station he was thought to be the prime suspect. However, after being interrogated for hours he was finally cleared of any connection to the theft. Corbett received a cash reward and Pickles was given a medal. Overnight, Pickles became a national hero for helping England avoid an international embarrassment. He made numerous television appearances and later played a part in the spy film The Spy With a Cold Nose.

After England beat West Germany, winning the World Cup, Corbett and Pickles were invited to the winner's banquet at a London hotel. Bobby Moore, the captain of England's national team, held the trophy then Pickles above his head while standing on a balcony in front of thousands of fans cheering them on. The pampered dog received a friendly pat on the head from the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, got to lick Corbett's dinner plate clean, and wasn't even scolded when he did a wee near an elevator in the posh hotel.

Unfortunately, Pickles died the following year at an early age. Corbett's young son was walking Pickles when the dog spotted a cat. Pickles, who did not like cats, broke free and was later found hanging up a tree, choked by his collar. Corbett buried their beloved pet in their back garden underneath a small plaque that reads "Pickles, Finder of the World Cup 1966".