RETRO: The day Brazilian legend Pele turned out against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough, 44 years ago today
Exactly 44 years have passed since arguably the greatest player of all time graced the Hillsborough turf for the second time in his illustrious career.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, more commonly known as the Brazilian star Pele, was the star attraction as Sheffield Wednesday hosted Santos on February 23, 1972.
Santos prevailed 2-0 in a game which kicked off at 2.30pm on a Wednesday afternoon, due to power cuts from the miners' strike at the time. Still, 36,996 turned out - with many of the crowd skipping school to catch a glimpse of Pele. In contrast, Wednesday’s home game with Watford just four days earlier attracted a crowd of just 13,934.
Tommy Craig shadowed Pele in the last 10 minutes in order to get his shirt at the final whistle, and the Brazilian great was almost three hours late to a reception after the game. He prolonged his absence by signing multiple autographs for fans who had waited to catch a glimpse of him.
"I told the referee to give me a signal when he was about to blow for time so I could stand beside the great man," Craig told the Daily Record.
"When time up came I grabbed Pelé round the waist until he had parted with the jersey."
The three-time World Cup winner first strode out for Santos at Hillsborough in front of 49,058 fans on October 22, 1962. He had turned 22 just days earlier.
Santos won 4-2; Coutinho netted a hat-trick but it was Pele - carrying a knock from a game against Aston Villa days earlier - who was the undoubted star of the show, foxing Owls and England goalkeeper Ron Springett - and around 20,000 fans who were packed on the Kop - from the penalty spot.
What are your memories of Pele at Hillsborough? Were you there? Let us know in the comment section below.