The story of the Shelbourne player and the Hitler Nazis

Analysis: Frank Brooe’s Shelbourne days marked the end of a career that consisted of playing against Germany on the eve of World War II

Fashions were few and far between in Ireland in the 1950s, but football was an exception. For a while, shortly after their heyday, it became angry for world class players to offer their talents to any Irish club that could afford to pay them the most.

Shelbourne fc Somehow I still found the money to rent those old surnames to liven up those dark Saturday afternoons. The rivals provoked Shels by calling the association “The League of Nations”. Again, there was very little entertainment at the time. Some of these imported players were extremely skilled and others only had a story to tell. Frank broom was one of those, and its story would reverberate over the years.

Broome began his career at Aston Villa, playing for England seven times. He was considered an “excellent sniper, fast and extremely dangerous in the penalty area”. He played for Shels from February to April 1955 and was making £ 5 a week, although a newspaper reported that the Ringsend Reds cost £ 10 more a week to transport him from Birmingham to Dublin and return home. That doesn’t seem like much compared to £ 350,000 from Mesut Ozil per week to Arsenal, but Broome was at least able to secure his place on the roster.

The Germany against England program in Berlin in 1938

While Broome Shels appealed to fans for his talent, he was one of the English players who offered the Nazis’ salute during an infamous film To meet 1938 in Berlin. This incident, in which Broome debuted with the team, left the English federation looking for excuses, fearing the newspapers would find out what would later be termed “sporting disgrace”. ” from England.

The game, which was played in the Berlin Olympic Stadium in front of 115,000 spectators, aroused high expectations in Hitler’s Germany. The local team trained in the Black Forest for two weeks to prepare for the competition and 400,000 Germans applied for tickets. Hitler would have been there if there hadn’t been a previous engagement to Mussolini. Instead, the Führer sent his lower bench, consisting of Rudolf Hess, Hermann Göring, Joseph Goebbels and Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop.

England won the game 6-3 (and Broome scored one of the goals) but what happened before sparked an international rage that would last for decades. While the English players were in the locker room, an FA official told them to greet with their arms raised during the German anthem. “The locker room broke out,” Broome said at the time, “there was chaos. The English players were angry and totally against it. ” However, the FA official returned to report that he had received a direct order from the British Ambassador in Berlin, Neville Henderson, to say that the political situation is now “so sensitive that it is only needed.” a spark to set Europe on fire ”. The players obeyed.

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The English football team from British Movietone greets the Nazis during the German national anthem during a 1938 game in Berlin.

Broome’s Aston Villa teammates were sitting high in the stands as the Birmingham team were invited to play in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Stuttgart on the back of the international friendly. Villa players reportedly praised the Nazis ahead of the exhibition games, but it was their use of a new football tactic that angered German fans. The offside trap was mocked, hissed, and yelled by supporters, and this hostility resulted in Villa players being escorted from the field by SS guards and storm troops.

Almost 15 months later, the “spark” Henderson was talking about was really ignited, and a bigger game was brewing in Europe when Hitler invaded Poland and the world fell into chaos for the second time. The war resulted in the relocation of league football to England, but Broome continued to play during this time because he believed football helped bring a sense of normalcy to beleaguered citizens.

He was nearly 40 when it turned out he was playing for Shels in Dublin, a mission that meant he had to cover 240 miles every weekend. However, he made a name for himself during his time in Dublin. The Irish Times speculated that he may be the “lead genius the Shels young team needs”.

We should never find out how clear that could have been when Shels tried to meet a relentless adversary he could never shake off: a deteriorating record. In mid-1955, Broome and the then club manager saw the new credit crunch. David Jack (the first man to score at Wembley) came out so they could find their way back to England.


The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect the views of RTÉ


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