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Mutual Respect by Steve Payne

Author says: what if heightened immigration fears had brought Enoch Powell to Number 10? Tragically, in 1993 Bobby Moore died of bowel cancer age just fifty-one. Here's to you big guy, you're the greatest. Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

June 7th 1970,

on this day in Guadalajara Soccer Stadium representatives of Her Majesty's Government watched in mounting horror as Brazil beat favourites England 1-0. Captain Bobby Moore then embraced Pele in a startlingly iconic gesture of sportmanship that challenged the racist immigration policies of Prime Minister Enoch Powell.

England were considered by many to have a stronger side than the one that lifted the World Cup four years earlier. Sir Alf Ramsey was still in charge and players from the World Cup winning side such as the Bobbies Charlton and Moore (the Captain), Alan Ball, Gordon Banks, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters were in their prime. They had been joined by midfielders Francis Lee and Alan Mullery, and defenders Tommy Wright, Terry Cooper and Brian Labone.

As reigning champions, England had not had to qualify so they arranged a pre-tournament tour, playing the national sides of Columbia and Ecuador, to acclimatise to the heat and altitude.

"Bobby Moore was a gentleman and a professional" - reader's commentAt the final whistle, the Brazilians leapt for joy as though they had already won the cup, so clearly relieved were they to have beaten the World Champions. The enduring images are those of Bobby Moore and Pele embracing each other and the obvious mutual respect that the two teams held for each other.

In 1966, the British people had seen the triumph of the Labour Government, the shiney NHS bodies of Moore and his working class footballers. They had taken the national team to the summit of human experience, the world cup. But in 1970, against the backdrop of Powell's apocalyptic warnings of "rivers of blood" and that "in ten years the black man will hold the whip hand in this country", Moore took the national team to a new level. Because the team that travelled to the Mexico 1970 World Cup were more than champions, they were working class heroes taking Britain out of the Imperial Era, beacons of an exhilerating future that Powell would never understand.

Author says to view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

Steve Payne, Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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