In Part 2 of our look at some of the connections between Tottenham Hotspur and Brazil we will discover the first Spurs players to play in that country and some more visitors to White Hart Lane, as well as another international who graced our ground.
Tottenham may not have toured Brazil but four of our players gained experience of playing in that country as long ago as 1950 at the World Cup. Tottenham had won the Second Division Championship that summer, and would go on to win the First Division the following season. It might seem odd for a second division team to have four players chosen for a major tournament but that’s what happened.
The first Spur to take to the field was Alf Ramsey. He played in all of England's three games on that ill-fated trip. He was joined in the third game by Eddie Baily. The two non-playing members of the squad were Bill Nicholson and Ted Ditchburn. The story of that tournament can be found in the Flying Down to Rio series, (1).
But they were not actually the first Spurs players to set foot there. When the team toured Argentina and Uruguay in 1908 the ship stopped there on both trips. That story is in Spurs in South America, (2).
Paulinho, joined Spurs in July 2103 from Corinthians for what is to be believed seventeen million pounds. A club record at the time but would be broken in a few weeks.
He made an impressive start being the man of the match on debut at Crystal Palace.
He then scored away in the Europa League in Tbilisi but getting a very late back heeled winner at Cardiff. He would go on to score six times in forty five games before moving to play in China in the summer of 2013.
To date he has 37 international caps and while at Spurs was in the 2016 World Cup squad.
The main problem seemed to be the transfer window had closed two weeks before. This meant he couldn’t play in any competitive games including the Under 21 league. Thus he could only play in, normally behind closed doors friendlies, and we could never really assess him or decide if he would be suitable for the English game.
This clearly did not help his settling in or his development. At the end of the season, even though we needed a central defender Harry Redknapp, our manager at the time decided not to take up the option and Bruno moved on.
Another Brazilian club played at the Lane in the autumn of 1958 after the Conti de Rio tour the previous season. This however was a tour of a very different complexion. Bela Vista or Bela Vista Futebol Clube de Sete Lagoas, to give them their full title. They weren’t a big club by any stretch of the imagination though a resourceful Brazilian businessman with an eye for an opportunity organised a tour of Europe by the club in the hope of making some money.
He marketed them as one of the biggest and best club sides in the country. This on the back of Brazil having won the World Cup that previous summer in Sweden.
Bela Vista played 16 games in main continental Europe. The first was against the mighty Real Madrid, the European Champions, which they lost 1-2.
However after that the tour went from bad to worse. Their other games were in France, Germany, Italy, Denmark and Holland and Bela Vista won just two of the sixteen games played. They then arrived in England where they were beaten by Birmingham, Newcastle, Middlesborough and Sheffield United.
The Brazilian FA having received reports about what was happening and the defeats being inflicted upon their countrymen attempted to recall them as there was a feeling that they were an embarrassment to Brazilian football. Bela avoided early attempts to bring them home. Bela arranged games with and lost to Luton Town and then their final game of the tour against Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs ran out 3-1 winners with two goals from Alfie Stokes and one from George Robb.
Bela Vista agreed to return home and when they reached their home town of Sete Lagoas they were greeted as heroes with a fireworks display and granted a parade through the town.
He never appeared for the first team and was later released by the club in 2007 after loan spells in Italy he moved there on a permanent basis.
in part 3 we look at meetings in Japan & Australia. Why we didn't go to Brazil in 1914 and another ex-player along with the latest connections.
Notes - 1 - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/flying-down-to-rio-flight-five
2 - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-spurs-in-south-america
see also -http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/connections-brazil-part-one
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With very special thanks to Andy Porter the clubs historian for his help in preparing this article.
Thanks also to THFC, THOS, Bob Goodwin - the complete record, Footysphere.com, ozfootball.net, Getty Images, Top Spurs, Myhstg, The FA and Englandonline,
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