It's coming up to a very special anniversary for football fans - the day England won the World Cup in 1966!
Every issue, our Editor at Large, Valery, will be reliving the best bits of our lives. This fortnight, her memories of football’s finest hour.
My dad was incredulous. What self-respecting man had his wedding on the afternoon of the world cup final? So while my sister and I watched at home with Granny and Granda, our poor father was stuck at a reception throughout England’s greatest footballing triumph – dashing out at odd moments, along with the vicar, to check the score on the hotel’s TV.
Seems he wasn’t the only one. Harry Vinsome had a sporty reverend to save the day: “At the reception, the vicar produced from under his vestments a small portable radio. From the top table, between the speeches, he called out the score. The hoorays and boos matched each other as pandemonium set in at 90 minutes – England 2 Germany 2. Then as those two England goals in extra time went home the vicar was on his feet cheering with the bride and groom, the guests and even the waiting staff.”
Doreen Levy remembers, “A friend showed me the photographs of her sister’s wedding held on the day of the winning match. All the men were wearing earpieces attached to a cord and I said, ‘I didn’t know that so many of your family were deaf.’ She laughed and told me they were all tuned in to small transistor radios tucked in their pockets so they could follow the match.” Plenty of you were in listen-only mode, including Thelma Doyle, en-route with her family by train to the Lake District. “Reception was bad on my transistor radio so when we stopped at Crewe, I held it out of the train window. Geoff Hurst got the winning goal as we were changing trains at Penrith Station. Many passengers had radios on and a big cheer was heard along the platform as the final whistle blew.”
But spare a thought for poor Jean Craig’s husband... “We were in Aden as my husband was in the RAF and the world cup was being broadcast by the BBC World Service. I took the children out so he could listen in peace, but imagine the reaction of all those listening when the BBC resumed normal programmes and didn’t continue with the commentary when the match went into extra time!”
Pat Harding and partner were in England – but weren’t faring much better. “My fiancé played cricket for Great Baddow cricket club. He had a league match that day and reluctantly had to play. The rain came down so hard, they had to stop playing but the umpires wouldn’t call the match off. Suddenly they capitulated and, as the chairman lived closest, 11-plus cricketers, some of the opposition and we girlfriends and wives all piled into his house to watch the second half and all the celebrations.”
Many of you found yourselves watching in the company of the opposition. Full marks to Mrs Harvey’s friend Hans who, “shook our hands, said that it had been a very enjoyable game and we deserved to win with such a great goal.” And also to Annette Beer’s mum’s lodger, Manfred, who said, “the best team won.”
“I could never forget what I was doing – having my first baby!” remembers Wendy Higlett. “My poor husband spent the afternoon watching a bit of the match then rushing down the road to the telephone box to check how I was doing. The doctor delivering me was not happy with his lot – obviously he would rather have been watching with his mates. During extra time my own little ‘World Cup Willie’ made his entrance weighing in at 9lbs 6ozs!”
Maureen Knighton meanwhile had her very own unforgettable triumph. “Every Saturday I made something special for tea. That day I tried a hot cheese soufflé and it rose magnificently. I made a grand entrance to the table with it as the family were dancing with glee round the table shouting, ‘we won, we won.’ What a day.”
Not only did Anne Highfield’s husband, son and friend have tickets for Wembley that day, he also whisked Ann away to the Playboy Club that evening... “Most of the England team were there celebrating. I still remember it 50 years on.”
Vera Sharp’s mum had her own unique up-close moment too... “England forward Roger Hunt lived close to my parents so we went to welcome him home. My elderly mother managed to get to his front door and was so excited, she went to hug him, slipped and fell among some rose bushes. Roger kindly helped her up, which made her day!”
Mrs Harley and her husband chose their own special way to celebrate. “Celebrations were high in our house that day – my husband being a real footie fan. Our second daughter was born in March 1967 – just nine months after the event. We have always called her our World
- For more nostalgia, pick up the latest copy of Yours magazine