England’s 1966 World Cup triumph over Germany at Wembley was one of the nation’s finest sporting moments and ever since then we have all had to endure constant reminders that it has been now nearly fifty years since England defeated Germany 4-2 at Wembley Stadium enabling Bobby Moore to proudly hold aloft the Jules Rimet trophy on home soil.
Whilst this famous victory will live long in the memory for everyone old enough to remember it, the rest of us have had to make do with watching footage from the time and collecting memorabilia – the nearest thing I have come to actually been there at a World Cup tournament itself.
One of my favourite items from 1966 is a signed photo cover by unlikely hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst, which perfectly encapsulates the manner of the victory over Germany. Indeed it’s amazing to recall that in the lead up to the 1966 World Cup England’s goal machine was Jimmy Greaves, but due to injury he lost his place to Sir Geoff and the rest as they say, is history.
Whilst every World Cup has never hit the same height from an England fan perspective, each tournament has nevertheless been compulsive viewing for anyone who loves the beautiful game and I’ve added to my collection of memorabilia accordingly from some of them.
The 1970 World Cup held in Mexico is fondly remembered for the flamboyance of the eventual winners, Brazil who’s team featured the legendary Pele, as well as the immensely talented Gerson, Jairzinho, Rivelino and Tostao to name just a few. So for me it has been apt to get my hands on a framed Pele signed 1970 shirt.
Four years later the 1974 World Cup hosted by West Germany marked the first time that the current trophy was awarded to the winners – the host nation who defeated Holland 2-1 in the final. Although England had failed to qualify for the tournament, I recall being captivated by Johan Cruyff who was aptly named the player of the tournament so I made it my goal to track down a Johan Cruyff Panini sticker for my 1974 World Cup album.
Argentina hosted the World Cup four years later but again England were inconspicuous by their absence leaving armchair fans instead to admire the goal scoring prowess of World Cup Golden Boot winner Mario Kempes. His six goals helped Argentina reach the final where they beat Holland 3-1 after extra time – with Mario grabbing two of the goals. However Scotland’s Archie Gemmill’s wonder goal against Holland was one of the abiding memories of the tournament, which is why I made it my mission to secure an Archie Gemmill signed photo.
Thankfully England DID qualify for the 1982 World Cup in Spain, which was the first time the tournament was expanded from 16 to 24 teams. However after failing to progress through their mini group against the host nation and West Germany in the second round, it wasn’t a tournament that lived long in the memory.