Thursday, September 15, 2016

Mysteries, Legends and Conspiracy Theories, Part Six

1- Gerd Muller and the three namesakes
There has been a story that the Legendary Bayern Munich goalscorer, Gerd Muller, when starting out had wanted to join Nuremberg.
However, the Nuremberg Management turned him down because they had three other players named Muller in the side and did not want another.
He then of course joined Bayern Munich. This account has been repeated in some outlets but is unconfirmed.

Photo From: World Soccer, April 1999
(Gerd Muller)

2- Luther Blisset or John Barnes at AC Milan?
1980s Watford striker Luther Blisset has over the years been the subject of a rumor concerning his transfer to AC Milan in 1983.
The rumor is that AC Milan had really wanted to acquire his teammate John Barnes but as a result of mistaken identity opted for Blisset.
This is of course a false rumor that was perpetuated because Blisset had a disastrous season at Milan (1983/84). When AC Milan signed Blisset, he had been fully capped at International Level that previous season and had been the top goalscorer in the English league as well with Watford on their way for a runner-up position.

Photo From: Official Match Programme, England v. Wales 1983
(John Barnes and Luther Blisset)

3- Swedish Referee Ivan Eklind, 1934 World Cup
There are many who over the years have claimed that Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini had behind the scenes been pulling strings to guarantee an Italian victory in the 1934 World Cup for Propaganda purposes.
One such story concerns the Swedish Referee Ivan Eklind who refereed the Semifinal vs. Austria (June 3, 1934, 1-0 for Italy).
Legend has it that Mussolini had dined with Eklind the day before the match.
Austria’s Josef Bican claimed until his death that Eklind had been bribed.
Many also questioned the validity of Italy’s winner by Enrique Guiata, where observers noted the Austrian goalkeeper had been pushed before the goal but of course Eklind validated the goal.
There was also another story that after the World Cup, the Italian Federation booked him into a nice hotel at Capri with all expenses paid.
Eklind was of course selected to referee the World Cup Final the following week (June 10, 1934, World cup, Italy 2-Czechoslovakia 1)

Photo From: Azzurri, Storia della Nazionale di calcio tre volte campioni del Mondo, 1910-1983
(Swedish Referee Ivan Eklind)

Photo From: Azzurri, Storia della Nazionale di calcio tre volte campioni del Mondo, 1910-1983
(Diagram of Italy’s goal that shows a possible foul by Meazza on Austria’s goalkeeper Platzer, June 3, 1934, World Cup, Italy 1-Asutria 0)

4- Tofik Bakhramov and England’s Third Goal 1966
Did the ball fall behind the line or in front of it? That is the question that will remain a mystery to the end of time about Geoff Hurst’s goal (and England’s Third) in the Final of the 1966 World Cup (July 30, 1966, England 4-West Germany 2).
The goal was validated by the Soviet Linesman Tofik Bakhramov (that for years was referred to mistakenly as a ‘Russian Linesman’, he was Azeri).
According to the West Germans, the Soviet Referee was supporting the English because of World War II and/or because the Soviets had lost to the Germans in the Semifinal.
The story is that on his deathbed when asked about the certainty of his decision, he replied ‘Stalingrad’. (Of course this is uncomfirmed)

Photo From: World Soccer, October 2004
(Tofik Bakhramov on the left side next to Uwe Seeler, July 30, 1966, World Cup, England 4-West Germany 2)

5- Joe Gaejtens
The Haitian-born USA International Joe Gaejtens’ owes his place in Soccer History for scoring USA’s winner vs. England in the 1950 World Cup.
However, no one knows for a fact about his fate after he returned to Haiti.
His brothers were politically active against Haiti’s Dictator Fran├žois ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier.
On the morning of July 8th, 1964, Gaejtens was arrested by the Duvalier Government, clearly as a form of reprisal against the brothers.
It has been assumed that he was executed shortly thereafter though no one knows for certainty and his body was never found.

Photo from:  Soccer International, March 1990
(Joe Gaetjens is sitting, the third from the right side, June 29, 1950, World cup, USA 1-England 0)

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