Tuktuk Day 42

Gary Thacker

It is always good when I hear from a follower of The Shirt Project. This weekend I heard from friend, fellow Hispanophile, author and BIG Chelsea fan, Gary Thacker. He is excited about the launch of his latest book, O Jogo Bonito! I am delighted to spotlight it. 1966 was, of course, the English party, Wembley, Hurst’s hat-trick, Nobby’s celebrations etc. The spectators were still in suits and ties and it was in a London of Carnaby Street, pop music and post-war euphoria with nationwide hopes and dreams. The Brazilians who arrived as World Cup holders were fairly cynically kicked out of the competition and failed to progress past the group stage. 1970 marked their re-emergence on the world stage. Gary describes this in detail but at pace.

O Jogo Bonito! is the magical story of Brazil at the 1970 World Cup, and a team that featured the incomparable skills of Pelé, Rivellino, Gérson, Jairzinho and Tostão.

The 1970 World Cup was the first tournament televised live and in colour. It was also the occasion when the Brazilian Seleção Canarinho declared themselves to be the best team ever to lift the Jules Rimet trophy – bringing their own life and colour to the tournament. Yellow shirts as bright as the Mexican sun, blue shorts as vivid as the bright sky, and dancing feet, beating out a hypnotising rhythm that rendered opponents flat-footed by comparison.

Their third success in four tournaments meant that the 12-inch-high trophy would for evermore be the property of Brazil. It was a more than fitting accolade. All teams crowned as world champions before and since, are measured against, and fall short of, the bewitching beauty of that team. It was Brazil’s football in that World Cup that truly defined the phrase the beautiful game (‘o jogo bonito’).

You can learn more here


This is not Gary’s first rodeo. He has written two fantastic novels (above) about the semi-pro game in Spain which are two of my favourite books about football. Think Fever Pitch but at a faster pace. Think A Season with Verona but a few levels down (about 8!) He has also written non-fiction books on England in the World Cup, the Dutch and Chelsea. Full details here


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