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 Köster 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. However, all details about him seem shrouded by the mists of time.
As Köster explained: “Hopefully someone knows something about Fry – perhaps he was someone’s father or grandfather, and when he returned from Germany after the war, he might have had an interesting story to tell about the time he scored four goals in the highest German league – we are desperate to track this man down and hope we can get any information from your readers.”
Without a first name, the search has proved difficult to say the least – maybe the British Army are able to find out if the elusive Fry was stationed near Hannover in 1946?
The mysterious striker appeared in several newspaper articles in the 1946/47 season; most notably in the match report for the game in the now obsolete Oberliga Niedersachsen Süd when he scored those 4 goals in a 9-1 victory for Hannover 96 against Schwarz-Gelb Göttingen on 15.12.1946.
As well as his Man of the Match performance, it was noted he performed his heroics whilst wearing futuristic white football boots.
But as soon as he caught the eye, he disappeared just as quickly and Köster speculates as to the reasons why:
“Maybe the name Fry was an alias – 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 very little about Fry – 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.”
If anybody can 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 Köster at Hannover 96 on firstname.lastname@example.org