Football legend Pele helps North Norfolk youth football club’s fundraising goal

East Coast Warriors youth team manager Craig Howell and sons Jesse, 10, and Tyler, 15, with the signed Pele shirt being auctioned tonight in aid of club funds. Photo: Karen Bethell East Coast Warriors youth team manager Craig Howell and sons Jesse, 10, and Tyler, 15, with the signed Pele shirt being auctioned tonight in aid of club funds. Photo: Karen Bethell

Saturday, July 5, 2014
6:30 AM

A Norfolk youth football club has been given a World Cup boost by football legend Pele.

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Pele factfile

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or better known as Pele was born October 23 1940.

He made his senior debut for Brazilian club side Santos in 1956, a month before his 16th birthday.

Ten months later he played for Brazil against Argentina.

Pele missed the first two matches of the 1958 World Cup.

His first World Cup goal came in the 1-0 quarter-final win over Wales and he scored a hat-trick in the semifinal against France and two more in the final over host nation Sweden. At 17, he became the youngest ever winner of the World Cup.

Brazil defended the title four years later in Chile, but Pele was injured early on and missed most of the tournament.

Injuries also plagued him in 1966 as Brazil were eliminated in the first round.

But in 1970 he was back on top of his game leading Brazil to a record third title - giving him a unique record of winning three world cups.

He scored 77 goals for Brazil in 92 appearances, and is said to have netted 1281 in 1363 senior games overall.

He played his final game for Santos in 1974, but was persuaded out of retirement the following year by North American Soccer League club New York Cosmos in a $4m deal.

He played his last game for them in 1977 in front of 75,646 fans.

The Brazilian ace has signed a shirt which is the star lot tonight at a fundraising ball for the East Coast Warriors club.

They are worlds apart in the global game.

Pele’s stunning skills have seen him labelled the best player of all time and become a global icon as he graced World Cups between 1958 and 1970.

East Coast Warriors are based on the playing fields of Bodham near Holt, where they run seven youth teams involving more than 100 youngsters.

Pele in his playing days. Picture: PAPele in his playing days. Picture: PA

The link-up came through celebrity photographer Andy Gotts, whose family live at Sheringham, and who is a friend of a Warriors mum.

He met Pele through capturing him for his growing portfolio of portraits featuring movie, stage and sports stars.

“The shot was taken recently as part of my iCons project for the Elton John AIDS Foundation featuring people the movies, music, fashion and sports who have reached a pinnacle in their chosen career; and whom we deem as ‘legends’.

Pele signed the shirt at the shoot.

Pele with photographer Andy Gotts from Sheringham. Picture;ANDY GOTTSPele with photographer Andy Gotts from Sheringham. Picture;ANDY GOTTS

“I took a couple with me for him to sign. He was more than happy to sign them. He was a real beautiful soul and a great ambassador of ‘the beautiful game’,” said Mr Gotts, who is currently working as official photographer for the Monty Python reunion.

“If by donating this little trinket, that I have collected along the dusty roads of being a celebrity photographer, I can help a few Norfolk boys get out in the open air and wave the flag for North Norfolk, its the least I can do,” he added.

Warriors under-10s manager Craig Howell said they had no idea of what price the Pele shirt would fetch at the ball being attended by 210 people at Pinewood Park Leisure Centre Upper Sheringham tonight.

He said it was “incredible” for the rural club to get a boost from a man who was a sporting legend.

The club, after a spell based at Sheringham, is currently moving seven of its teams back to Bodham where it began and looking to boost its funds.

Other items under the hammer include Norwich City and Manchester United signed footballs, and boxing gloves signed by local fighters Jon Thaxton and the Walsh brothers.

To place a phone bid for the Pele shirt call Mr Howell on 07825 302464.

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