'Blue Plaque' for Chilean in English football

July 30, 2019

If you ask a football fan to name an influential Chilean in English football, most will mention Alexis Sanchez.  Those of a certain age may suggest the Robledo brothers - George and Eduardo ("Ted")- whose tremendous success in the 1940's and 1950's deserves to be remembered by more.

 

As toddlers, half-Chilean George and Ted moved to England from Chile in 1932, with their mother, Elsie, and baby brother, Walter.  

 

George and Ted went on to play for Barnsley.  George's goals soon attracted the attention of top-flight club, Newcastle United, at a time when Ted had only played a handful of matches for Barnsley. George refused to sign for Newcastle unless they also signed his brother, why they agreed to in January 1949 for a fee of around £26,500.

 

At Newcastle, George continued his scoring form, becoming the highest scoring overseas player in England and scoring the winning goal in the 1952 FA Cup final against Arsenal. Ted also played in that final, which was the first time that two overseas players had played in the same team in an FA Cup final.  An 11-year-old John Lennon sketched a drawing from a photograph of George's winning goal, an image which Lennon later used for the cover of his album "Walls and Bridges".

 

At international level, George played for Chile in the World Cup in 1950, even though he did not speak Spanish.  Ted joined George in the national team appearing together in the side beaten 1-0 by Argentina in the final of the 1955 South American Cup in front of 65,000 people in Santiago's Estadio Nacional.  

 

The brother's moved back to Chile in 1953, to play for Colo-Colo, where in five years they won the league title twice. 

 

In 1970, Ted went missing from a ship, the Al Sahn, sailing out of Dubai.  Ted's body was never found and the circumstances of his death remain unresolved.  George died of a heart attack at home in Vina del Mar in 1989, aged 63.

 

George's daughter, Elizabeth, is believed to live in Australia.  Walter's family settled in Richmond, London.  One distant relative, Lucy Thorpe, has their original contracts for Barnsley FC, with the address: 97 Barnsley Road, West Melton, South Yorkshire. This is the house where there will soon be a "Blue Plaque". Barnsley Football Club have agreed to pay for the plaque, which will hopefully be unveiled in the autumn of 2019.

 

 

 

 

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