Pickles (dog)

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Pickles
Pickles dog.jpg
Species Dog
Breed Mixed Breed Collie
Sex Male
Died 1967
Known for finding the missing Jules Rimet Trophy
Owner David Corbett
Awards National Canine Defence League (silver medal)

Pickles (born 1962 or 1963; died 1967) was a black and white collie dog, known for his role in finding the stolen Jules Rimet Trophy in March 1966, four months before the 1966 FIFA World Cup was scheduled to kick-off in England.

Trophy theft[edit]

The World Cup trophy was stolen on the afternoon of Sunday 20 March 1966. It had been on public display in a glass cabinet during the "Sport with Stamps" Stanley Gibbons Stampex rare stamp exhibition at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster. The thief evaded the round-the-clock security, and ignored rare stamps with a value of £3 million to steal the silver-gilt trophy, which was generally thought to be worth far less.[1]

A telephone call from a man who called himself "Jackson" to Joe Mears, chairman of Chelsea F.C. and The Football Association, alerted him that a package would be left at Stamford Bridge the following day: it contained a £15,000 ransom demand, accompanied by the removable lining from the top of the trophy. The package was turned over to the police, who arranged to meet "Jackson". However, when they arrested the man who had mailed the package, whose real name was Edward Betchley, he claimed that he was a middleman, and the real culprit, a man he called "The Pole", was never identified. Betchley was eventually convicted for demanding money with menaces, and sentenced to two years imprisonment. If the thief was another person, he was never caught.[2]

Recovery[edit]

The rest of the trophy was found on Sunday 27 March, just seven days after it was stolen, wrapped in newspaper at the bottom of a suburban garden hedge in Beulah Hill, Upper Norwood, South London, by the four-year-old Pickles, while taking a walk with his owner, David Corbett, who worked as a Thames lighterman.[3][4] Suspicion of involvement in the theft was attached briefly to David Corbett.[5] When England won the trophy, as a reward, Pickles was invited to the celebration banquet and was allowed to lick his owner's bowl.

Corbett collected nearly £5,000 as a reward.[6][7] He used the money to buy a house in Lingfield, Surrey, in 1967.[8] Pickles was awarded the silver medal of the National Canine Defence League.[9]

The Football Association had a replica of the cup made in base metal, for publicity use, so the gold original could be kept safe. The original cup was awarded permanently to Brazil after the 1970 FIFA World Cup, but it was stolen from the headquarters of Brazilian Football Confederation in Rio de Janeiro in December 1983 and never recovered. The replica was bought by FIFA at auction in 1987 for £254,000, and it is held by the National Football Museum in Manchester.

Later life[edit]

Pickles starred with Eric Sykes and June Whitfield in the 1966 film The Spy With the Cold Nose.[10] He also appeared on several television programmes, including Blue Peter and Magpie. He was also named "Dog of the Year", and awarded a year of free food by pet food manufacturer Spillers.[4]

Pickles died in 1967 when he was strangled by his choke chain lead that caught on a tree branch while he was chasing a cat near his new home in Surrey.[10][4] He was buried in his owner's back garden,[11] and his collar is on display in the National Football Museum in Manchester.

An entirely fictional version of the story was told in a 2006 ITV drama written by Michael Chaplin, called Pickles: The Dog Who Won The World Cup. He was voiced by Harry Enfield.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1966: Football's World Cup stolen. BBC, On This Day
  2. ^ The Sunday Times Illustrated History Of Football Reed International Books Limited. 1996. p.133 ISBN 1-85613-341-9
  3. ^ Reid, Alastair (10 September 1966). "The World Cup". The New Yorker. p. 3. Retrieved 2 February 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c A twist in the tale, The Observer, 23 April 2006
  5. ^ "The Canine Sherlock Holmes". The world's strangest mysteries. New York: Gallery Books. 1987. p. 545. ISBN 0-8317-9678-2. 
  6. ^ Equivalent to nearly £83,997 in today's pounds
  7. ^ "How Pickles the dog found the World Cup trophy - 50 years on". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 March 2016. 
  8. ^ I'd love a Pickles statue on Wembley Way', says owner of dog which found World Cup in Croydon, Croydon Advertiser, 31 January 2016
  9. ^ Pickles, the World Cup dog, gets his reward, British Pathé, 7 April 1966
  10. ^ a b Fleckney, Paul (10 June 2006). "How Pickles the dog dug up the accursed World Cup". This Is Local London. Retrieved 2 February 2007. 
  11. ^ Tribute to Pickles, Lost & Fond
  12. ^ Pickles: The Dog Who Won the World Cup (2006) (TV), IMDB

Further reading[edit]