Eighty-seven years have passed since the first World Cup was played in Montevideo, Uruguay. The footballers that played in 1930 have since passed away and we can no longer speak to them to offer their recollections of a tournament where very little film footage exists.
The next best thing is the stories and experiences that were passed on to their relatives and recorded by historians, writers, journalists and filmmakers. While such eyewitness evidence, passed on by word of mouth, can present problems of faded memories and biased interpretations, such oral testimonies are 'not necessarily any more biased or partial than documentary evidence.'
Here, then, is a collection of such testimonies from the descendants of those men that had the honour of playing in the 1930 World Cup. It includes links to articles, videos and audio recordings from their wives, sons and daughters to their nephews and grandchildren.
Bert Patenaude was only 20 years old when he played for the United States in 1930. The Fall River Marksmen striker scored four goals in Montevideo, scoring in the first game against Belgium on 13th July and then four days later the first hat trick in World Cup history against Paraguay. His wife, Leona Lambert, who passed away early this year at the age of 103, gave an interview with Fall River's Herald News in July 2010. Bert's son, Bert Patenaude Jnr, also gave an interview in July 2010 with ESPN.
James Brown was born in Scotland in 1908 and was one of six British born players to represent the United States in Uruguay. He is credited with the lone US goal in their 6-1 defeat to Argentina in the World Cup semi-final. His son, George Brown, who also played for the United States in a World Cup qualifier in 1957, gave an interview with the UK's Daily Mail in September 2017. George also appeared in a documentary Soccer in the New World - Part 1 - The history of Soccer in North America, where he recalls a story related to him by his father of the United States victory over Belgium.
Arnold 'Arnie' Oliver was a forward with the 1930 United States team that travelled to Montevideo, Uruguay, but did not play in any the World Cup matches. However, he did play in several exhibitions as apart of post World Cup tour. In 2002, his daughter, Jane Britto, was interviewed by New Bedford's Standard-Times, which appeared on their website Southcoasttoday.
Robert 'Bob' Millar was the coach of the US team in Uruguay. Born 1890 in Scotland, he played for two seasons with Scottish club St Mirren between 1909-1911 before emigrating to the States, where he played for more than a dozen American teams and won several titles. He went on to coach the New York Giants where he was given the opportunity to take charge of the US national team in Uruguay, where he led them to the semi-finals. In 2014, during the United States moderately successful World Cup campaign, an Oregan based TV crew from KGW News, tracked down his daughter Mary Martyn in Gresham. The interview is no longer available to watch but a transcript of the news item is archived here.
Andrew 'Andy' Auld, like James Brown, was also born in Scotland, in 1900, and played for the US team in Montevideo. A World War One veteran, Andy emigrated to the States in 1923, with the intent of settling in Gillespie, Illinois. When his plans did not work out as he hoped he went to live with his sister in Niagra Falls. It was while playing for local team MacKenzie F.C. that he was spotted by a recruiter for the new ASL team Providence Clamdiggers where they offered him a professional contract. In later life, Andy would return to Scotland to visit his relatives, and in 2002, his nephew, Bobby Auld, gave his recollections about his uncle to the Scottish newspaper, The Herald.
Adalbert Steiner was a defender who played for Romania in their 3-1 victory over Peru in their opening World Cup match. He was born in 1907 in Temesvar (Timisoara) at a time when the region was apart of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Steiner had a successful period with Chinezul Timisoara winning several titles before moving to Clubul Atletic Timisoara where he was picked to play for the national team in Montevideo. Early in the game against Peru, Steiner suffered a double fracture leg break after a vicious tackle by Peruvian Souza Ferreira. For those versed in the Romanian language check out the audio interviews with Adelbert Steiner's two sons, Iosif and Adelbert, recorded with Radio Timisoara, on the 25 June 2015 and the 5 July 2015, as they discuss their father's experiences in Uruguay.
Ladislau Raffinsky was a Romanian forward who was apart of the Romanian squad that travelled to Montevideo in 1930. In 1929 he scored ten goals for Juventus Bucharest in their 16-0 victory over Dacia Urinea Brailia. Raffinsky, along with his teammate Emerich Vogl, initially had trouble seeking time off work to go to the World Cup. In 2015, his daughter, Colceriu Rodica, gave an interview with news publication Actual de Cluj, about her father. The article which details his journey and experiences in Uruguay is drawn largely from the journal of Romanian captain Rudolf Wetzer.
Dragomir Tosic was part of the Yugoslav squad at the 1930 World Cup although he did not get a chance to play in any of the matches. Dragomir wrote letters home to his parents about his journey and experiences during this epic tour to South America. Unfortunately, all but one of these letters were destroyed in World War Two after a German bomb hit the home of his parents. In 2012, his daughter-in-law, Milica Tosic, wrote a biography of his life titled „Jedno Pismo, Jedan život...” ("One Letter, One life ..."). For Serb speakers, you can listen to an interview that Milica Tosic gave to Radio Beograd in 2013 about the book.
Dr Mihajlo Andrejevic was Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the JNS, the Yugoslav Football Federation. He was head of the Yugoslav delegation that travelled to Uruguay in 1930. He wrote correspondence that he dispatched to the Belgrade newspaper, Vreme, reporting on the Yugoslav team in Montevideo. In 2011, his son, Milan Andrejevic, was interviewed by Serbian newspaper, Politika, where he recalled the time his father left for South America.
Kosta Hadzi was a lawyer from Novi Sad and Vice-president of the Yugoslav Football Federation. He travelled to Montevideo in 1930 as part of the Yugoslav delegation. In 2010, the Serbian newspaper, Politika, interviewed his son about his father's life and his time in Uruguay.
Milovan Jaksic was the goalkeeper for the Yugoslav national team that travelled to Montevideo in 1930. He was instrumental in Yugoslavia's 2-1 victory over Brazil in their opening World Cup match, where he made many fine saves. The Uruguayan newspapers praised his performance and immortalised him in print and photographic poses in their pages proclaiming him 'El Gran Milovan'. In 2014, his niece, Gordana Jaskic, gave two interviews to the Serb publications, Novosti and Kurir, where she provided an account of his early life.
Blagoje 'Mosa' Marjanovic was an inside forward for the Yugoslav national team that took part in the first World Cup. He was top-scorer for his club BSK Belgrade in 1930, and he would score in his country's 4-0 victory over Bolivia. He was one of the first professional footballers in Yugoslavia along with his teammate Aleksander Tirnanic. In 2013, his son Zoran Marjanovic gave an interview with the Serb newspaper Novosti, describing his father and his life. For Serb speakers, you can also watch an interview with Zoran Marjanovic and his sister, Visnja Marjanovic, discuss the life of Mosa for Serb television in 2011 with RTS.
Guillermo Stabile was the top goal scorer at the 1930 World Cup for Argentina. A prolific striker for his club, Huracan, he only made his debut for his country against Mexico when Roberto Cherro fell ill and Manuel Ferreira had returned to Buenos Aires to take a law exam. His hattrick in that game secured his place in the team for the rest of tournament. He would score twice against Chile in a 3-1 win which assured Argentina's place in the semi-final against the United States. His two goals against the Americans in a 6-1 rout saw Argentina reach the final against their fierce rivals Uruguay. Stabile would score his eighth goal in that final to give his team a 2-1 lead before half-time, but it wasn't enough to win the game as the host ran 4-2 winners. An excellent article on fifamusuem.com details his life and career with some added anecdotes from Stabile's grandchildren, Guillermo, Estaban and Roxanna.
Luis Monti was the legendary midfielder for Argentina at the 1930 World Cup known for his physical prowess. He scored the only goal, from a freekick, for his country in a 1-0 victory over France in their opening game. He sat out Argentina's next game, a 6-3 win over Mexico, for reasons not entirely clear, but returned to help Argentina beat Chile 3-1. He scored the opening goal against the United States in a 6-1 victory in the semis but had decided he would not play in the final against Uruguay because of death threats to his family. He was finally convinced to play in that game but did not give his usual physical performance with Argentina losing 4-2. He would later play in Italy and represent his adopted country at the 1934 World Cup where he helped them to a 2-1 victory over Czechoslovakia in the Final. Read another great article on fifamuseum.com about his life and an interview given by his grand-daughter, Lorena Monti.
Oscar Bonfiglio was the goalkeeper for the Mexican team that travelled to Montevideo in 1930. He played against France in one of two opening games of the tournament and conceded the first ever World Cup goal by Lucien Laurent in a 4-1 defeat. He was dropped for Mexico's next game against Chile, another defeat (3-0), but returned for the last game against Argentina where he conceded six goals. He did, however, save a penalty from Argentina's Fernando Paternoster. In 2014, his grandson, also named Oscar Bonfiglio, gave an interview with ESPN Deportes about his grandfather.
Juan Carreno was a legendary forward for Atlante and the Mexican national team and travelled to Uruguay in 1930. He scored in Mexico's 7-1 defeat against Spain at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics and would score Mexico's first goal at a World Cup in their 4-1 loss to France. For those versed in the Spanish language, you can watch a Mexican TV program with interviews with Juan Carreno's daughter, Guadeloupe Alicia Carreno, grandsons, Victor Molina Carreno and Julio Molina Carreno, and granddaughter, Maria de la Paz Molina.
Ernesto and Isidoro Sota were, along with their brother, Jorge, legends at Mexican club America in the 1920s and 1930s. Ernesto Sota represented Mexico at the 1928 Olympic games and would head the Mexican delegation that travelled to Montevideo in 1930. His brother, Isidoro Sota, was the second choice goalkeeper in Uruguay and played in Mexico's second game, a 3-0 defeat to Chile. For Spanish speakers, you can watch a short documentary about the three Sota brothers with interviews with Isidoro's sons, Ernesto Cisneros Sota and Isidoro Cisneros Sota, and the son of Jorge, Jorge Sota Garcia.