The Barber Fan special - remembering 30 July 1966

Wednesday 30 Jul 2014
England's Geoff Hurst scores the decisive goal in 1966

There cannot be a more special day in English football history than 30 July 1966.

The England team became football’s world champions on a Saturday afternoon of sunshine and showers at Wembley. We were a little over halfway through the ‘Swinging Sixties’ and the game of football suddenly became a lot more fashionable.

The side managed by Alf Ramsey and captained by Bobby Moore – both, sadly, no longer with us – beat West Germany 4-2 after extra time in the dramatic World Cup Final of 1966. The official attendance inside Wembley was 96,924 and there were 32 million watching on UK televisions.

I was 15 and in the fourth form at Purley Grammar when the World Cup was on, still the only one that England has hosted, and my father bought us tickets for four of the Wembley matches.

Bobby Moore holds aloft The Jules Rimet World Cup trophy

Bobby Moore lifted the World Cup on 30 July 1966

We saw France v Mexico (1-1), England v Mexico (2-0), England v France (2-0) and England v Argentina (1-0).

We had three Canadian relatives staying with us and we watched the Final together in the living room of our house in Coulsdon, a town near Croydon in Surrey. They seemed to have no idea of its significance!

I can only think of two sporting events on TV that were so exciting that I literally had to leave the room for a few minutes to calm down. One was Roger Taylor’s Wimbledon semi-final with Jan Kodes and the other was that World Cup Final. Talk about being put through the wringer!

Germany scored, we equalised, we took the lead with on 78 minutes. Then there were seconds to go. Surely we’d won it. They got a dodgy free-kick. The ball bounced crazily around the goal area and one of their lads thumped it past Gordon Banks.

Surely we’d lost it.

Both sides were playing from memory now on an energy-sapping pitch. Geoff Hurst’s shot on the turn hit the underside of the bar, came down and then out. Roger Hunt, the nearest, raised his arm to salute a goal. Tofik Bakhramov, the linesman from what is now Azerbaijan, told the Swiss referee that he thought it was a goal.

Martin Peters also scored on that famous day in 1966

But was the ball really over the line? Yes, it was. The referee said so.

Hurst’s third, England’s clinching fourth, was a wonderful moment for this teenager amongst philistines.

Moore led his heroes up the 39 steps to the Royal Box, wiping his muddy hands when he noticed the Queen’s white gloves. He said just one word as Her Majesty handed him the Jules Rimet Trophy.


Four years later I was working for The FA in the same office as Sir Alf.

Pinch me, someone.

By David Barber FA Historian