45 years ago today: Sickies across the city as Pele and Santos come to Hillsborough to take on Sheffield Wednesday amid miners' strikes and power cuts

Pele runs at the Sheffield Wednesday defence as Santos take on the Owls at Hillsborough on February 23, 1972
Pele runs at the Sheffield Wednesday defence as Santos take on the Owls at Hillsborough on February 23, 1972
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An afternoon kick-off and the opportunity to watch one of the world's greatest footballers was too good an opportunity to turn down.

The people of Sheffield skipped school, took a half-day off work, invented an appointment with the dentist or a distant relative's funeral and crammed into Hillsborough to catch a glimpse of the great Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or Pele to his mates.

Around 37,000 were there as Sheffield Wednesday took on Brazilian kingpins Santos and while the match itself wasn't exactly a cracker, according to reports in The Star that day, no one there will forget the day that Pele at least attempted to open up his bag of tricks in S6.

The Star's Tony Pritchett wasn't exactly impressed by Santos of '72, who won 2-0 thanks to a fluke' goal from Nene and a more memorable one from Ferreira - ' searing volley'.

"Pele and the Santos Superstar drew a magnificent 37,000 crowd to Hillsborough yesterday; duly beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 without too much trouble; went home a few thousand pounds better off...yet still failed in their mission - to entertain," wrote Pritchett.

He went on: "Santos had come halfway round the world to play. many supporters had come hundreds of miles to watch...and it all went so flat on them.

Pele shows a trick at Hillsborough on February 23, 1972

Pele shows a trick at Hillsborough on February 23, 1972

"Sadly, the Brazilians must know, after their experiences at Hillsborough and Villa Park, that their days of swanning around the world on huge guarantees are over. Unless they find another Pele that is."

Players and officials from Leeds United and Manchester United block-booked tickets for the match which had a 2.30pm kick off due to power cuts as a result of the miners' strike of early 1972.

Santos had lost 2-1 to Aston Villa, two days previous, with 55,000 turning up at Villa Park (that match was played at night).

For those watching from the terraces, it was a memorable occasion, and for others on the pitch it was equally unforgettable.

Pele, alongside Derek Dooley and The Star's Tony Pritchett, signs autographs at an event afterwards

Pele, alongside Derek Dooley and The Star's Tony Pritchett, signs autographs at an event afterwards

The Owls' Scottish midfielder Tommy Craig wrote in The Star the following day: "I've played against Pele...I've even got his shirt as a souvenir/ That's why yesterday's Santos match was the great occasion of my life.

"Ever since I knew Santos were coming I have been living for the day. And I had my heart set on getting a souvenir from Pele. Thanks to referee Gordon Hill, I managed it.

"I had a word with him during the match and asked him to give me the word when there was a minute to go. And Mr Hill, who's a great sport, stuck up one finger and then blew his whistle as I drifted up to mark Pele.

"So there I was next to the great man when it ended. And i made sure we swapped shirts. So, for me, I have more than the memory toi remind me of the day I played against Pele."

Fans wait to greet Pele at Hallam Tower Hotel for a special reception in Sheffield following his side's friendly at Hillsborough

Fans wait to greet Pele at Hallam Tower Hotel for a special reception in Sheffield following his side's friendly at Hillsborough

Pele with Owls skipper John Holsgrove

Pele with Owls skipper John Holsgrove

From The Star on February 24, 1972 - Tommy Craig swaps shirts with Pele

From The Star on February 24, 1972 - Tommy Craig swaps shirts with Pele