Standing in line outside the cinema to watch the British comedy 'Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines' on 29 July 1966, Martin Peters was told by Alf Ramsey that he’d definitely be playing the next afternoon in the World Cup Final.
Peters, still only 22 when the Final was played, had forced his way into the starting line-up after England’s drab 0-0 draw in the opening game against Uruguay.
Once in, Peters would be ever-present for the next eight years, in no small measure because he scored close on a goal every three games – hugely impressive for a midfielder.
The 1966 World Cup Final was his finest moment. He could have won it in normal time, latching on to a deflected shot from West Ham team-mate Geoff Hurst to score England’s second goal.
Peters had ghosted into a goalscoring position, using all the tactical intelligence which had led Ramsey to call him “ten years ahead of his time”, a quote which later became something of a burden for the player.
Unflappable, perceptive and stylish, Peters was the perfect foil for the fiery young workaholic Alan Ball in England’s midfield on that day – and in many other games for the Three Lions.
After leaving West Ham (where he won the European Cup-Winners’ Cup in 1965) for Tottenham Hotspur in 1970 (where he won the UEFA Cup), Peters ended his career at Norwich City, where he was twice Player of the Year despite his advancing years.
After a brief spell in management at Sheffield United, he went into business with his friend, team-mate and fellow World Cup winner Hurst.