My World Cup Scrapbook – Sir Geoff Hurst

England’s historic FIFA World Cup victory, Sir Geoff Hurst reflects on his unforgettable summer of 1966…

Skating to Success

In the midst of preparing for the festive fixtures in Christmas 1965, I was training with my West Ham United teammates at the Forest Gate roller-skating rink. Suddenly, manager Ron Greenwood called me over and delivered incredible news: I had been called up to the England squad for the Poland game. It was a dream come true, and I could hardly believe I would have the opportunity to represent my country. Although I didn’t get to play in that particular match, I made my England debut in the following February’s friendly against West Germany at Wembley, which ended in a 1-0 victory for us.

Reflecting on my scoring record, especially after West Ham’s FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup triumphs, I sometimes wonder if my England call-up should have come earlier. In early April, I faced Scotland at Hampden Park, which was an intimidating and testing international game. Fortunately, I played well, scored a goal against future teammate Bobby Ferguson, and contributed to our 4-3 victory.

Shortly after, in early May, we secured a 2-0 win against Yugoslavia, during which Martin Peters earned his first cap as well. My performance for West Ham in the 1965/66 season was impressive, with 40 goals in 59 games, earning me a place in Sir Alf Ramsey’s provisional World Cup squad. Alongside Bobby Moore and Martin Peters, I attended the get-together at Lilleshall, knowing that only 22 players would eventually make the cut. The uncertainty during those three weeks was nerve-wracking, even Bobby couldn’t provide any hints about the final selection. As a newcomer, I questioned whether I would be chosen, despite being one of the country’s most in-form strikers with those 40 goals. However, my doubts turned to delight when I was handed the prestigious No. 10 shirt for the World Cup

Leave a Reply