Please note: Please note that the museum will be closed on Sunday 12 February 2023 for a private event.

Thank You Pickles! 50 Years Since A Dog Saved the World Cup

18 March 2016


On Sunday 20 March 1966, the Jules Rimet trophy, presented to the winners of the World Cup, was stolen from an exhibition of rare stamps in London. A week later it was found, wrapped in newspaper, under a hedge by Pickles, a black and white Border Collie.

As the National Football Museum prepares an exhibition all about the 1966 World Cup, we'll celebrate that year's most unlikely football hero by giving everyone the chance to 'find' the Jules Rimet trophy here in Manchester.

World Cup banquet held at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London in honour of the victorious England team following their victory over West Germany in the 1966 World Cup Final. Bobby Charlton holds Pickles the dog, who found the World Cup trophy which was stolen during a rare public stamp exhibition at Westminster Central Hall, before the tournament. 30th July 1966. Pic courtesy of Mirrorpix

World Cup banquet held at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London in honour of the victorious England team following their victory over West Germany in the 1966 World Cup Final.
Bobby Charlton holds Pickles the dog, who found the World Cup trophy which was stolen during a rare public stamp exhibition at Westminster Central Hall, before the tournament.
30th July 1966. Pic courtesy of Mirrorpix

Pickles became a national hero, and an international star. He was awarded a number of honours, and was even invited to the celebration banquet after England won the cup. You can see his collar and medal on display at the National Football Museum.

The 1966 Jules Rimet trophy, now on display at the museum, was made in secret after the original had been stolen, in case it was never recovered. Very few people knew about the existence of this copy, but a policeman called Peter Weston swapped it for the original immediately after the game, handing the copy to an exhausted Nobby Stiles in the dressing room. This replica was then used at public events, including the celebrations, for the rest of the time that the trophy remained in England.

The original trophy was returned to Mexico for the 1970 World Cup. Brazil won the tournament for the third time, and were given the Jules Rimet to keep. It was stolen again in 1983: the thieves were caught, but the trophy had been melted down for gold.

To commemorate 50 years since Pickles saved the World Cup, the trophy will be popping up around the city.

The 1966 Jules Rimet trophy

The 1966 Jules Rimet trophy

We’d love Manchester’s commuters, workers, shoppers, diners and football fans to share their pictures of this iconic trophy in these unique settings all this week. Keep an eye on @FootballMuseum to see where the trophy is each day, and use #ThankYouPickles when you post your pics, to help share the story of a unique moment in football history.

When the trophy is returned to the museum on Easter Sunday, we’ll say Thank You Pickles by letting dogs (and their well-behaved owners) into the museum for one day only. Manchester Dogs Home will be there too, with treats for dog owners and plenty of information on how you can help rescue a dog.

Pickles and David Corbett play football in the garden, 1966.

Pickles and David Corbett play football in the garden, 1966.

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