By Stephen Byrne
The Fifa World Cup begins in Brazil on 12th June and we will be looking at Rovers’ connections with all participating countries.
The three footballers who have played against Rovers in the League and also appeared in Colombian football share a common story. This was the tale of El Dorado, when the Colombian League could briefly claim to be amongst the strongest in the footballing world.
In the immediate post-war years there was considerable discussion about the minimum wage for footballers and three broke free to pursue their careers in South America, all joining Independiente Santa Fe.
The most famous of the trio was Neil Franklin (1922-1996), who won 27 England caps during his career. Franklin appeared in six games for Santa Fe, scoring once.
He was joined by George Mountford (1921-1973), a former Stoke City team-mate, who was to score nine times in his seventeen games for Santa Fe, and by Charlie Mitten (1921-2002), born in Burma, who contributed eight goals in 24 matches.
Within a year, the bubble had burst and all three returned to England to face FA bans.
Once their bans were served, all three were to appear against Rovers in the Football League. Franklin played four times for Hull City between 1953 and 1955, Rovers winning three of these four fixtures.
Mountford played in both games as Rovers twice met QPR over Christmas 1952 en route to the Third Division title. Mitten was to appear in five separate matches with Fulham between 1953 and 1956.