In my last log I mentioned how easy it was to walk into the England hotel on the morning of the 1966 World Cup Final and get a poster signed by the squad, with no security people present.
An old friend was amazed after reading this, so I will bring up some other examples of The Good Old Days. Three weeks earlier I had driven with a friend across the country to The National Sports Centre at Lilleshall, Shropshire to watch England train prior to their first match at Wembley against Uruguay. We parked outside the hall where the team was housed and walked into the lounge where the players were relaxing, to wish them well.
No security, no problem. We were asked to sit down for a cup of tea after our 3 hour drive. In the entrance on a cork board was a hand printed team sheet for the opening match. I asked assistant coach Les Cocker if I could take it as a souvenir. He refused, and I couldn't make a copy (I don't think copy machines had been invented then), so we got some autographs, some handshakes and a cheerio.
I watched all three England matches at Wembley v Uruguay, France and Mexico, plus the quarter final v Argentina, semi-final v Portugal and the final v West Germany. Only £1 pound in the second best seats for the early matches and only £2.50 for the final, near the Royal Box. I also stood up at Hillsborough for West Germany v Switzerland, Old Trafford for Hungary v Portugal and Middlesborough for Italy v North Korea. After that momentous 1-0 win for the Koreans I walked down the tunnel at Ayresome Park and into their dressing room to join in the celebrations and a glass of what I think was sake. Only 50 pence for each of those matches.
After the World Cup Final 4-2 victory I took photos of Bobby Moore being presented with the Jules Rimet trophy by Queen Elizabeth. After she left I climbed over into The Royal Box. The middle three red velvet chairs each had cardboard seating signs. Sir Stanley Rous, H.M. Queen, and Prince Philip. I took the sign saying H.M. Queen as a souvenir!!!
Four years later I was in Mexico as The Three Lions attempted to defend their crown. I was at all 6 group matches in Guadelajara: England, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Romania. The summer before in 1969 I had been in Guadalajara at the new Jalisco Stadium for England's friendly match with Mexico. A couple of days earlier I had met the team at The Hilton Hotel and managed to persuade manager Alf Ramsey to let me travel on the team bus to a training session. On returning to the hotel my friend Colin Harvey of Everton gave me his England jersey. Try travelling with the team these days!!
After losing the quarter final to West Germany in a very hot Leon, the team flew home, but I took a Mexicana Airlines flight to Mexico City for the semi-final Italy v West Germany, and the World Cup Final, Brazil v Italy. I was seated next to Alf Ramsey and Les Cocker for the flight.