The Famous Five

Hibs’ Famous Five inspired Brazil 1970

You might have thought that Pele and the great Brazilian soccer team that won World Cup glory in 1970 did it all on their own. Like most others, you probably thought the mesmerising samba style was God-given and innate, a case of nature and very little nurture. But according to a new book they drew inspiration from a Scottish club – none other than Hibernian Football Club. Fans of Hibs claim that their legendary forward line of the Fifties, The Famous Five, provided the inspiration for the best football team the world has ever seen. They base their theory on what they have found in a Brazilian Football Encyclopaedia, printed shortly before the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

While there are no references to the national Scotland team, or the Old Firm, an entire chapter is dedicated to the skills of The Famous Five – Gordon Smith, Bobby Johnstone, Lawrie Reilly, Eddie Turnbull and Willie Ormond.

Hibs at the forefront of football

John Campbell, editor of the fanzine Mass Hibsteria, said: ‘The encyclopaedia seemed to be a comprehensive manual on all aspects of tactics. The accompanying drawings seemed to be making the point about how The Famous Five used to swap positions during a game, bamboozling opposition.’

He added: ‘Hibs were included because they were, at one time, at the forefront of football and brought to it a style that was original at the time. ‘The Brazilians recognised what Hibs brought to the game.’

Lawrie Reilly

Speaking at his Edinburgh home yesterday, Famous Five centre forward Lawrie Reilly, capped 38 times by Scotland, said he was flattered that the Brazilians had rejoiced in their talents.

Lawrie, now 68, said: ‘We played a lot of nice football in those days, and it is nice to think we were appreciated in Brazil.’

He added: ‘ But it doesn’t surprise me. We toured the world, and while we learned a lot on our travels, I would like to think that other learned from us too.’

The Famous Five

Hibs were one of the most feared teams in Scotland during the reign of The Famous Five, winning a succession of trophies and league titles, as well as amassing many international caps between them. The club’s name was also held in the highest esteem abroad, after a series of successful international tours in the 1950′s and 60s saw them playing to full houses in Canada, South America, the USA and Europe.

Bobby Johnstone and Gordon Smith

Hibs toured Brazil in 1953, drawing 2-2 with the country’s Vasco de Gama in the huge Maracana stadium. The Brazilian side were so impressed with Hibs that they reputedly tried to sign two of The Famous Five – Bobby Johnstone and Gordon Smith.

It was not until the Fifties that Brazil emerged as a major footballing force, but the 1970 Brazilian World Cup-winning side was arguably the best coached of all time. After the disaster they had in England in 1966, Brazil were determined to win in Mexico and adopt a strict training routine for four years to ensure success.

The Famous Five of Hibs

The Famous Five of Hibs

The Famous Five

Thanks to HailHail from the HibeesBounce for digging this up!