The Trisidan captain Zamonides, trying out his diplomatic skills! (Image from issue 294).
See The Hornet(first series) issues 293 (19th April 1969) to 306 (19th July 1969).
(Second series) - Issue 621 (2nd Aug. 1975) finishes after issue 634 (1st Nov. 1975).
Writer:- The Hornet editorial team?Artists:- First series - Joan Giralt. Second series - not known.
Main cast:- Jimmy Hargreaves, inside right for Rottenham Hotspur; Zamonides, the Trisidan captain.
Time period:- England, late 1960's, mid-1970's.
Alien beings from the planet Trisidium arrive on Earth, their aim, to conquer our planet not by war, but by beating the planet's top footballing teams! A Trisidan, Zamonides is sent on a reconnaissance mission. He observes a football match between Rottenham Hotspur and Tancaster United and assumes it is a primitive way of fighting. Never having encountered this style of 'warfare' before, they kidnap the two football teams, so they can observe them playing football. Eleven Trisidans are then programmed with the players combined football knowledge and then sent to Earth to begin the conquest by beating the England's top football teams. (Please view the first episode below). Hargreaves injuried in a football match is appointed by the Football Association (F.A.) to accompany the aliens on their tour.
The Trisidans are humanoid in appearance, with bald heads and pointy ears, which grow longer when (I think), they get excited. They also have one other interesting trait, they like to keep their first and little fingers vertical. Whilst re-reading the series I kept a close eye on whether the artist had tried to pull a fast one, by drawing a middle finger vertically instead of the other two fingers. The temptation must have been great to try and slip one image past the editor, but alas none could I find. (I should point out for non-western readers of this site that raising your middle finger towards someone is regarded as an offensive gesture in English speaking countries and can lead to aggressive confrontations! No doubt elsewhere in the world it is an offensive gesture to raise the first and last fingers. Italy possibly?).
The humour in this strip is as a result of social misunderstandings between two races. The Trisidans believe football is a type of warfare and by beating the top teams they will have conquered Earth. Hargreaves though realises differently. So the scene is set for a series of mis-understandings as the Trisidan team play matches and so learn more about the quaint human and English ways.
The Trisidan football team barges in on a local football match with the above result! (image from issue 294).
Sporting strips appearing in both comics needed an 'angle', some unusual element to make the story stand out and catch a child's imagination. The premise of aliens attempting to conquor Earth by beating football teams, doesn't sound very promising. But in this instance this series works perfectly. Nicely written and drawn, the humour resulting from the clash of cultures keeps this strip moving.
In the final episode a World Team play against the Trisidans for the future of the planet Earth. Losing 2-0 at half-time the World Team claw themselves back into the game and win 3-2 thanks to two brilliant goals from Hargreaves, (who was able to play in the match having recovered from his injury). As a result the invansion of Earth is postponed. The Trisidan's before they leave make Hargreaves their Terrestrial Consultant to the Planet Trisidium.
A second series was published in late 1975. Rottenham Hotspur are playing in the World Club Championships in Santiago, Chile. But on the flight back to England, the plane crash lands in heavy jungle somewhere in Brazil. With the team out of action new players must be recruited to play for Rottenham Hotspur. Hargreaves who had been injured in the match, wasn't on the flight. Meanwhile the Trisidans who have been monitoring the affair despatch Zamonides and his football team to sign and play for Rottenham Hotspur. I'm missing the last few issues so I don't know what happens. (But at a guess I would imagine everything works out alright in the end).
The following adventures of the Trisidium football team are from issues 293, 298 and 300 respectively.