BY MARK GODFREY
Occasionally, we get some odd requests for help in our email inbox. One such correspondence came recently from our friends at Hannover 96.
Dirk KÃ¶ster of the Bundesliga club’s media and communications department is on the trail of a former player who made a big impression during his extremely brief time in Hannover colours.
Rumour has it that a British soldier named Fry could have been the first British player to play in Germany after World War II.Â However, all details aboutÂ him seem shrouded by the mistsÂ of time.
AsÂ KÃ¶ster explained: “Hopefully someone knows something about Fry â€“Â perhapsÂ he was someone’s father orÂ grandfather, andÂ when heÂ returned from Germany after the war,Â he might have had an interesting story to tell about the time he scoredÂ four goals in the highest German league â€“ we areÂ desperate to track this man down and hope we can getÂ any information from your readers.”
Without a first name, the search has proved difficult to say the leastÂ â€“ maybe the British ArmyÂ are ableÂ to find out ifÂ the elusiveÂ Fry was stationed near Hannover in 1946?
TheÂ mysteriousÂ strikerÂ appeared in several newspaper articles in the 1946/47Â season; most notably in the match report forÂ the game in the now obsolete Oberliga Niedersachsen SÃ¼dÂ when heÂ scored thoseÂ 4 goals in a 9-1 victoryÂ for Hannover 96Â against Schwarz-Gelb GÃ¶ttingen on 15.12.1946.
As well as his Man of the Match performance, it was noted he performed his heroics whilst wearing futuristicÂ white football boots.
But asÂ soon as he caught the eye, he disappeared just as quicklyÂ and KÃ¶ster speculates asÂ to the reasonsÂ why:
“Maybe the nameÂ FryÂ was an aliasÂ – the English Football Association had banned the participation of foreign players in immediate post-war Germany. After all, Allied soldiers were forbidden from fraternising with the locals. Until today we’ve found out veryÂ little about Fry – Â and the more we do uncover, the more questions arise.”
“For us, this football player is a phantom,” says Hannover 96 archivist Sebastian Kurbach. “In England, Fry is said to have played at Charlton Athletic. But the search for him has so far been unsuccessful. Neither the club in London nor the British Football Museum in Manchester were able to help us despite very intensive research activities on our side.â€
If anybody canÂ help us to find out more about the British Phantom in German soccer, please feel free to email us here at TheFootballPink@hotmail.co.uk or contact Dirk KÃ¶ster at Hannover 96 on firstname.lastname@example.org