It was long considered a “lost” football match – but now, amateur footage has come to light capturing action from the legendary game 50 years ago.
It was June 4, 1972, when Newcastle United, in the Far East on a four-match end-of-season tour, lined up against the cracking Brazilian club side Santos for a demo match at Hong Kong’s Happy Valley Stadium. The significance of the game centered on the No. 10 playing for the Magpies’ opponents that day.
For football fans then, it was given that Pele was the best football player in the world. Even today, many will argue that he is the greatest player of all time. Fast, agile, strong, brave and awesome in the air, the striker was a remarkably amazing scorer – and he would help himself to three more against Newcastle United that afternoon.
In an era of social media and live television, the game has not been widely reported. The Chronicle carried half a dozen paragraphs on its back page and, later, there were a couple of references to the match in books by United club historian Paul Joannou.
The game’s movie came out just a few years ago. It was purchased on eBay by Andrew Smith of Wardley, Gateshead. The 35-year-old producer and teacher, who kindly shared a clip with ChronicleLive, said: “I collect old movies and home movies. When I got the Newcastle United footage, there were very few details about the movie and I didn’t recognize where the game was. happened.
“It came in Super 8 form, and it was pretty delicate. Despite that, it’s very clear for amateur footage. I’m not a big football fan and it took me a while to figure out the meaning of the game.”
Newcastle United’s 1972 Far East tour came after a season in which they finished 11th in the First Division. Star striker Malcolm Macdonald was away on England duty and missed the trip, but most of the team’s other big names were there.
For three-time World Cup winner Pele, who was then 31, the game took place two years after Brazil’s triumph in Mexico ’70, but the legendary number 10 would prove he could still pack a powerful fist. A few years ago, I spoke with some of the Newcastle players who faced Santos and the world’s biggest player on a rainy, humid afternoon in Hong Kong 50 years ago.
Frank Clark, who made the United Nr. For more than a decade, he recalled: “The trip took us to places like Tehran, Bangkok and, finally, Hong Kong. We were 2-1 up at halftime with goals from John Tudor, and a 30-yard scorer from Tony Green.
“We were the best team before the break, but it was a different thing after halftime. Like Pele, I remember Edu playing, and he was really impressive. The great Brazilian defender Carlos Alberto was also in the team.
“Anyway, Pele suddenly decided to turn it on. He scored three amazing goals in about 15 minutes. Not only was Pele smart, he was hard as nails – and so powerful. After 65 minutes, he left – and there it was. We lost 4-2 but it was a great experience to be on the same pitch as the best player in the world. “
Former striker John Tudor, speaking of the Brazilian superstar, said: “For fifteen minutes we were in the presence of greatness. Pele’s skill, close control and acceleration were just incredible. He was like lightning. He scored three goals. Job. he was gone. What a footballer. “
And former midfielder Tony Green recalled: “There was no applause for Newcastle. Everyone came to see Peleo. He was great, great. I played against players like Dennis Law, George Best and Bobby Charlton, but Pele was a different class.”
Thanks to filmmaker Andrew Smith for sharing a rare piece of Newcastle United and football history. You can check out Andrew’s website at www.century21films.co.uk. Follow Andrew Smith on Twitter at @nelegibleme