Paddy Hasty: an Olympian and Tooting and Mitcham legend
When Craig Bellamy scored for Team GB at Old Trafford against Senegal, he became the first British man to do so in an Olympic Football Tournament since Tooting & Mitcham United legend, Paddy Hasty.
Patrick Joseph Hasty was born on 17th March 1934 in Belfast but his parents moved to the Fleet area of Hampshire when he was a still a child.
After playing for a short while for Salisbury City he was signed by Tooting & Mitcham United during the 1954-1955 season.
His impact was immediate when on his debut against Barnet he scored four goals in a 7-2 win and Tooting went on the win the Athenian League that season.
The following season saw Paddy also make his debut for the Northern Ireland Amateur Team on 17th September 1955 against England.
Tooting were elected to the Isthmian League in 1956 and many Football League clubs tried to persuade Paddy to turn professional. Although he refused, he did sign on for three on Amateur forms, first playing twice for Leyton Orient and then once for Queens Park Rangers before signing for his nearest League Club Aldershot.
With Paddy in attack, Tooting became Champions of the Isthmian League in 1958 and again in 1960.
1959 saw Wimbledon win the Isthmian League but Tooting became nationally famous when they reached the 3rd Round of the FA Cup and were very unlucky not to beat Nottingham Forest who were riding high in the First Division (now known as The Premier League).
Only a disputed penalty robbed Tooting of victory at Sandy Lane and although they were beaten 3-0 in front of 42,999 spectators in the replay, they were moral winners. Nottingham Forest went on to win the FA Cup at Wembley but years later their manager, Billy Gray, wrote in his autobiography, that the tie against Tooting & Mitcham United was their toughest in all the games it took them to win the cup that season.
In the 1959-1960 season not only did Tooting finish Champions of the Isthmian League but they also played in four Cup Finals.
Winning the Surrey and London Senior Cups and after being forced to play the other two on their opponents ground were not disgraced in losing to Barnet 2-1 at Underhill in the London Charity Cup and to Chelsea also 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in the London Challenge Cup.
Paddy`s season was far from over though as he still found time to play a game in the Third Division for Queens Park Rangers at Wrexham.
Then it was off to Italy to play for Great Britain in the 1960 Rome Olympics.
The Great Britain party travelled to Italy fully realising that their assignment of playing Brazil, Italy and Formosa in Group 1 of the Olympic Football Tournament was a hard and difficult one.
Brazil 4 Great Britain 3 26th August 1960 The first match was played at Livorno, a port and pleasure resort about 180 miles north of Rome. The stadium is now called the Stadio Armando Picchi and is the home ground of A.S. Livorno Calcio.
Brazil took a second minute lead from a quickly taken free kick and for half an hour the better ball-playing Brazilians were on top.
Then a brilliant individual goal by Bobby Brown brought Great Britain an equalizer. Facing his own goal, he took a bouncing pass, flicked the ball over his shoulder and over the head of the Brazilian centre-half, spun round, trapped in on the turn and scored with a rocket-like half-volley from twenty yards range.
From this moment onwards the team played with much greater confidence. Soon after half-time Jim Lewis headed Great Britain into a deserved 2-1 lead only for tragedy to strike three minutes later when Tommy Thompson broke his leg in a tackle on the halfway-line.
With no substitutes allowed it was no surprise when Brazil eventually ran out 4-3 winners with Bobby Brown scoring Great Britain`s third from a cross by Paddy Hasty.
Italy 2 Great Britain 2 29th August 1960 The second match was played in the Rome Olympic Stadium before 45,000 spectators. The stadium is now shared as home ground by Lazio and A.S. Roma.
The home side had a good start when they went in front after nine minutes. But the Great Britain team proceeded to play some of the best amateur football seen for many years, and deservedly equalised mid-way through the first half when Bobby Brown scored with a well-placed left-foot drive.
Italy again took the lead soon after half-time, but a quarter of an hour from the end, Paddy Hasty equalised when he shot through a crowd of players after a corner.
Fifteen thrilling minutes followed, with the Italians still looking the cleverer footballers but Great Britain`s attackers always seeming the more dangerous.
When the final whistle went, the team felt that they had shown the millions of television viewers in this country that our best amateurs could play with determination, courage and considerable skill.
Formosa 2 Great Britain 3 1st September 1960 The last game was against the Chinese from Formosa and was played at Grosseto, a market town midway between Livorno and Rome. The stadium is now called the Stadio Olimpico Carlo Zecchini and is the home ground of U.S.Grosseto F.C.
After 32 minutes Great Britain opened the scoring, a strong and determined run by Jim Lewis down the right wing was followed by a centre and Bobby Brown was in the position to finish.
Ten minutes after half-time, Bobby Brown scored again, his fifth goal of the tournament but the Chinese soon made it 2-1.
Paddy Hasty then scored what proved to be the winning goal as although the Chinese fought back again to make it 3-2 it was Great Britain who took both points.
The next day the party left Rome on a Viscount aeroplane and reached London Airport at 8.30pm ready to return to their respective clubs whose season had already begun.
During the season a huge significant change was made to the professional game when Jimmy Hill, as players` union boss, was able to get the maximum wage abolished on 18th January 1961.
Almost immediately Aldershot were able to persuade Paddy Hasty to turn professional with them and his last competitive game for Tooting & Mitcham United was against Corinthian-Casuals. It was an away match played at The Oval on 25th February 1961, Paddy was made Captain for the day, Tooting won 3-1 and inevitably Paddy scored.
Conclusion With Team GB only losing their 2012 quarter-final on penalties it is inevitable that people will look back and say that, as the 1960 team finished third in their group and failed to qualify for the knock-out stages, this present side is better.
Now nothing should be taken away from Stuart Pearce and his team but the tournament is now for Under 23 professionals with three overage players allowed.
In 1960 the nineteen players in the squad were all amateurs but that was not the case with all their opponents.
We know very little about the Chinese but one of Brazil`s scorers was Gerson who went on to play in the all conquering Brazil World Cup winning side of 1970, scoring the winning goal in the Final. He was just one of many who were to grace the world stage.
The Italians also had a team full of future stars two of who were named Giovanni. Giovanni Rivera is better known as Gianni Rivera and is an AC Milan legend. He is one of only a handful of men to play in four World Cups, 1962, 1966, 1974 and 1970 where he played in the memorable final against Brazil held at Mexico City`s Aztec Stadium. He went on to be the President of AC Milan before moving into Italian politics.
Giovanni Trappatoni is probably more remembered for his distinguished managerial career in which he is currently the manager of the Republic of Ireland. However he too was an AC Milan player with Gianni Rivera and they both won the European Cup (now known as the Champions League) in 1963 and 1969 together with countless domestic honours including many Seria A titles.
Stuart Pearce has been applauded for his use of substitutes during the tournament but when Tommy Thompson was seriously injured in the opening game in 1960 his team mates had to play on a man short.
With Great Britain 2-1 up at the time against Brazil and looking like certain winners things might have been very different if that cruel twist of fate had not happened.
So let us end with saying that Team GB have done us proud in 2012, but the 1960 team still remains the last Great British side to qualify for an Olympic Football Tournament.
And, by finishing third in their group behind Brazil and Italy, Paddy and the rest of the 1960 team also did us proud.
The above information was supplied by the Tooting & Mitcham Supporters Trust. Check out their website for details of the book that they are intending to publish later this year to celebrate 125 years of Tooting and Mitcham football.