When Pele Broke Our Hearts

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'Terrific...a lovely story, well told and, best of all, you don't have to be Welsh to enjoy it"
The Sunday Times

'A brilliant book...a thoroughly good read...I warmly recommend it' Adrian Chiles Radio 5 Live

'A great tale, diligently researched and well told'
GQ Magazine

'Excellent...an intriguing story, compellingly told'
Four Four Two

'If you were to write a surreal football comedy script tinged with pathos, personal tragedy, heroism, politics, adventure and endeavour, you couldn't begin to emulate the story of Wales in 1958...well-crafted...meticulously researched'
Total Football

'A beautifully written and expertly researched book, which gives an insight into Wales' greatest football triumph'
Nicky Wire


Foreword - John Charles
Preface - Nicky Wire
1.  Christmas Comes Early
2.  King of the Team-Talk
3.  The Boys of ‘58
4.  The World’s Most Valuable Player
5.  Welcome to Soltsj
6.  The Contenders
7.  Mad Magyars
8.  The Mexico Debacle
9.  ‘We’re Not Playboys’
10. Glory in Stockholm
11. Brazil
12. Forty Years On

The 1958 World Cup

When Pelé Broke Our Hearts is the definitive story of the Welsh team's remarkable 1958 World Cup campaign, the first and only time Wales has qualified for football's premier tournament.

Wales qualified for Sweden as representatives of the Middle East/Asia group by beating Israel 4-0 on aggregate in a special play-off  following the refusal of its Arab neighbours to play the fledgling Jewish state.

The Welsh team’s haphazard preparations for the World Cup amounted to a kick-about on Hyde Park using jumpers for goalposts but, in John Charles, Wales had the world’s most expensive player and one of the finest footballers the world has ever seen.

Against all the odds, and led by Manchester United assistant manager Jimmy Murphy who’d stepped-in at Old Trafford after the Munich air disaster months earlier, Wales fought through to a quarter-final against Brazil, but without the injured Charles - who’d been kicked to pieces by Hungary in the previous game - the team struggled to score and were finally beaten by the first World Cup goal scored by the 17-year-old Pelé.

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