The legendary commentator passed away on this day in 2002.
With one inspirational moment of commentary genius Kenneth Wolstenholme immortalised a match, a tournament and himself.
Covering the 1966 World Cup for the BBC, Wolstenholme was already the nation’s recognised voice of football, having joined the Corporation in ’48, and it was here, as England reached the pinnacle of world football, that the commentator also found worldwide fame.
The scene barely needs remembering, living as it does so readily in the memories of England football fans young and old. But as Geoff Hurst galloped forward in the dying seconds of England’s epic Final clash with West Germany, moments before lashing England’s fourth goal into the German net, Wolstenholme encapsulated the moment of pure euphoria and relief being experienced by people all around the ground and the country...
“Some people are on the pitch...They think it’s all over...It is now!” he cried as Hurst scored his hat-trick, England won the World Cup and an entire nation celebrated.
It was a magical line for a magical moment.
During his career with the ‘Beeb’ Wolstenholme commentated on 23 successive FA Cup Finals and five World Cups, leaving after the 1970 edition of the tournament. He later made a television comeback with Channel 4’s Italian football coverage.
When he passed away on 25 March 2002 he was still very much a football fan, optimistically looking forward to that year’s World Cup. And, although he was sometimes protective about his often quoted commentary, we’re sure he would be more than happy if it could be utilised in England’s favour at South Africa 2010.