The whirlwind adventures of the NASL’s Dallas Tornado: Memories with footballer Jan Book
WST: What are your memories of Lamar Hunt? In your mind what was his mission for the Dallas Tornado?
JB: A wonderful, caring person and a true gentleman. A world class innovator and visionary, with a goal of: “Anything is possible.” Lamar’s mission was for the Dallas Tornado to become a world famous soccer team. To show the world that soccer was played in America. In addition to show the world, that Dallas and specifically Texas, was famous for more, than the Kennedy assassination.
WST: If Bob Kap were with you today what do you think he’d say to you?
JB: Mr. Kap would say: “I’m extremely proud of the way you boys turned out in life.
I’m pleased to see that you listened to all my advice and teachings. I can tell by the good looking women in the room, that you have been successful and lucky. I knew that when I selected you, this was a group of young men that would make a difference in making the world a better place. I can see you have contributed well. Now go and get a haircut!”
WST: Did Kap really know Ferenc Puskás?
JB: They went to coaching school together in Hungary. They were very good friends. Ferenc was godfather to Mr. Kap’s daughter Sonja. Puskás helped coach us during our training camp in Spain.
WST: The tour started normally enough in Spain, Morocco and Turkey. Then it took an extraordinary twist in Greece when you missed your flight from Athens to Nicosia. The plane you were supposed to take was blown up in a terrorist attack. How did you miss it? What was the team’s feelings taking the following flight?
JB: The team members have different recollections of this event. Of what we remember is the fact that the plane that took off before our flight for Cyprus that day had a bomb on board that was placed there by a terrorist group to assassinate a Greek General, named Grivas. The plane exploded and tragically killed 66 innocent people. We learned later, that General Grivas was actually on our flight, that same day to Cyprus.
WST: In Cyprus given all that happened how could you possibly concentrate on playing soccer?
JB: It was very difficult to focus on a soccer game, knowing how close we had been to death. However, we had to move on and play the scheduled game, the next day. The game against Apollon of Limassol was played on a field which was made up by cinder surface, which made it even more difficult.