Fifty years on from England’s proudest football moment when skipper Bobby Moore lifted the FIFA World Cup trophy, The FA has announced a series of events and activities to mark the anniversary – and the achievement of the players who won it.
It will also use the milestone to outline its current and future approach to delivering international success – as well as the development of the game at every level.
FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: “30 July 1966 was a pinnacle point not just in our football history, but as a nation.
“Our patron Her Majesty the Queen – now in her 90th year – presenting the late, great Bobby Moore with the Jules Rimet trophy at Wembley was one of the high points of a memorable decade.
“It’s absolutely fitting that we should mark the moment – as well as the players and management team who took us to this ultimate success. We must also acknowledge the clubs and stadiums around the country that more than played their part in joining with The FA to host such a successful tournament.
“Equally, as the custodians of the game in this country, it’s vital we use the power of the anniversary as a platform to communicate The FA’s current activities and future plans. We all want to repeat the high of 1966 – across the men’s and women’s games.”
The anniversary events rightly kick-off with full support for ‘Football Shirt Friday’ on Friday 22 April, organised by the Bobby Moore Fund. The day encourages fans to wear their football shirts to work and make a donation of £2, raising funds for research into bowel cancer, the illness which ended the former England captain’s life in 1993, aged just 51.
Find out more about Football Shirt Friday
The programme of events continues with ‘1966: Still Gleaming’, two new exhibitions at the National Football Museum, Manchester and Wembley Stadium connected by EE, opening on 24 June and 11 July respectively. Personal memories of the time collected by The Sporting Memories Network will feature in the exhibitions and on a new website using football heritage to enhance communication and memory skills with older people.
It all culminates in a major event at The SSE Arena, Wembley, on the actual anniversary date – Saturday 30 July. The story of the England’s finest football day will be recounted minute-by-minute through current reflections and historic footage, with the entire event broadcast live on BBC Radio 2, red button and into cinemas nationwide. Tickets are now on sale to this event – click here for more information.
The same evening, a gala dinner will be held at the stadium, hosted by ’66 Winners’, who represent some of the players who won the World Cup.
Watch footage from the 1966 World Cup final against West Germany
To ensure the anniversary has a future legacy, The FA will also be making 66 awards of £1,966 each to community projects at football grassroots level. These awards will primarily be made via County FAs to give the legacy national reach. They will start to be made as the summer unfolds.
A bespoke collection of official commemorative merchandise will be launched in early June, including a hallmarked coin struck by the Royal Mint, a limited edition England shirt and an official book recording the summer of ’66. A donation will be made to the Bobby Moore Fund from the sale of these items.
In between all the above, The FA will be supporting many and various events being organised by those with a special interest in the anniversary.
For example, English Heritage will unveil a blue plaque on the house where Bobby Moore was born in Barking, East London. A Matt Lorenzo-produced film, ‘Bo66y – The Movie’, will also be premiered at Wembley Stadium connected by EE.
In terms of the clubs, West Ham United will stage a ‘Legends’ match at Upton Park while Fulham FC have commissioned a statue of George Cohen, their former right back who wore the no.2 England shirt in the Final. In addition, the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, where England stayed in 1966 and celebrated the Final win, is planning a series of events with The FA’s support.
As they come to light, other activities and events will be assessed and supported by The FA on a case-by-case basis. The aim will be to create an ongoing, countrywide series of events to keep the memory of 1966 alive – as well as pointing to football’s future.
Underpinning all the activities undertaken by The FA will be numerous ways for fans to get involved, particularly through the use of social media channels.
“Much has changed on the football landscape – here and internationally – since 1966,” says FA chairman Greg Dyke. “Yes, we haven’t celebrated a World Cup win since then, but there are plenty of other causes for celebration around the game’s overall development in this country.
“We have an exciting future ahead, and we’re all determined to give the game the best-possible chance to flourish, whether on the international stage or at grassroots – and every level in between.”