Sunday June 21st 1970 – Kick-Off: Midday
I went to the final with no axe to grind on who won, but knowing that Brazil was going to win it. Had I been a betting man, I would have bet my house on Brazil winning. Apart from the fact that the Italians must have been totally shattered, there was a gulf in class.
I hoped that Italy would win.
I was just going to enjoy the sheer beauty of their football. And it was gorgeous. It was played in the knowledge that the man-to-man marking tactics of the Italian defence would not be able to cope with the brilliant Brazilian forwards. It felt like a proper holiday by this time. This would put the icing on the cake. But, in a way, it was almost as if I shouldn’t have been there. I’m sure there was more deserving people who didn’t have a ticket.
As always, we got to the stadium by coach.
There were a lot of Brazil fans. They might have actually been Mexican, but they were all getting behind Brazil. A bit like the Man United syndrome over here I suppose. A lot of people support Man United even if they’re not anything to do with them – you know – where you live. It was the same with Brazil. Everyone’s favourites.
These Brazilians… The Mexicans loved them. They had the support of the locals.
It wasn’t all sunshine out there. It was a cloudy day, this one. People were well wrapped up. It was cool by Mexican standards.
Our seats were, again, very high up behind the goal – the same area where we’d sat before for the semi-final. It was always hard to identify the players from that distance.
We were pretty much in the same place as we saw Italy versus the Germans.
We were behind the goal that Brazil was attacking in the second half – high up in the stand. We had numbered tickets so it would have been logical that we would all sit in the same block. But everyone sat wherever.
I don’t actually think we were sitting in our (numbered) seats. The seating was just long benches anyway – with a number stencilled on. A bit like the old Wembley.
It might have been – ‘first in the stadium’ gets the first seats. Nobody was sitting in the right seats. My seat had been taken by a local.
I don’t remember any stewarding.
There wasn’t a steward in sight. The ones who were there didn’t want to know if someone had taken your seat. That was the worst of the stewarding.
They wouldn’t move people out of the seats so we stood in their way. Tough luck really. We’d come all this way – we weren’t going to stand aside.
Where we were it was just packed. So everyone ended up sitting wherever they could and there were numerous scuffles, with people trying to claim their rightful seats.
I stood in a gangway during the game. I wasn’t the only one. My friend Roy [Nightingale] was separated from me. A policeman had told him he’d take him downstairs [to the lower tier] where he could watch it. Roy said to me, “Are you coming?” I said “No, I’m staying here”. I didn’t trust what a policeman might say or do… You know, backhanders or something. But, in the end, Roy said it was actually OK.
A swarthy Mexican gentleman tried to evict me from my seat at half time, but with all the gangways crammed with locals who had somehow gained admittance, I held firm. I just sat there and refused to move and that was it. Eventually matters simmered down. At the end of the day, I don’t think they had sold extra tickets or anything like that. Everyone had got tickets. But they just sat where they wanted to.
From safety angles it shouldn’t have been allowed.
But the atmosphere was terrific with all those Brazil fans waving flags and sounding horns.
It was a super game to be at. Next to the 1966 Final this was perhaps the best game I’d seen, although the Italy – Germany semi-final was probably the most exciting.
It was a bit one sided for my liking. Could well have been that the Italians took too much out of themselves with extra time against Germany in the semi. It made Brazil look good. If it had been England I don’t think they would got that 4-1 score line. We might have lost of course but there was a difference between us and the Italians. But I felt very privileged to be there.
I felt privileged to be there. I was almost purring throughout. Brazil were a little like Revie’s great Leeds United team – in as much as they were almost telepathic. But of all that great team – I think Gerson was the one. Such a clever player…
You do wonder how England would have fared. It was a cool day so condition would have been in our favour. Even so, the chances are Brazil would have had the edge.
I could now actually understand why Brazil thought they’d won it after beating England.
We stayed in there quite a while after while they presented the cup.
At the end of the game, both teams were given a huge ovation and the whole trip was almost made worthwhile, solely to see the unfettered joy and excitement of the Brazilian fans. It was worth it for that. We went back to the hotel and probably had a few drinks because it was almost the end of our visit.
After the game, we came out to get a taxi – I’ll never forget it. I said to the driver, “Can you take us to a nice bar?” So, he’s driving down the road and all of a sudden, he’s done a right turn and gone down this dark bumpy side street. Then he’s done a left – another small dark road. And then he pulls up. Well, we had a look out and it didn’t give you good vibes, you know? Dodgy. We thought, “Fuck this!” We didn’t fancy this at all. So, we says, “Drive on mate, we ain’t getting out here.” Dear me! Kind of place you’d get your throat cut – know what I mean!? He must have been on a few bob to take us there. But we weren’t getting out. So, we say, “Carry on. We want to go to a hotel or something.” So, we got back on the main streets. It was more alive there.