It was raining on July 30th, 1966 as I walked down Olympic Way from Wembley Park underground station for the big match, England v West Germany. I had booked a couple of nights in a nearby private home that had advertised bed & breakfast. £1.50d and I had visited the Hendon Hall Hotel where The Three Lions had called home for almost a month. I brought with me a couple of team posters and a stamped addressed poster tube to be sent home after all the lads had signed at lunch.
Back on Olympic Way we had lots of fans with Union Jacks and German flags with many top hats, bowler hats and painted faces. Kiosks were selling flags, scarves, rattles, horns and mini lions, fish & chips, burgers, candy floss, ice cream, donuts....- BUT NO REPLICA SHIRTS ON SALE, and not for a few more years! I paid a shilling for a final programme, which was produced at the last minute. So far there had only been one programme for the rest of the tournament. I paid for a radio recording of the final to be sent in a few days and there was Ken Baily dressed as John Bull as he had at all England matches, posing with fans. He was a legend in Bournemouth and very fit, having made the Guinness Book of Records for running the most miles.
I climbed the steps up to the VIP entrance and looked at the masses coming up Olympic Way as Prime Minister Harold Wilson, cabinet minister Dennis Howell, who was a registered referee and future Minister of Sport, Mohammed Ali and others arrived. In Rome's Palazzo dello Sport in 1960 I had watched the then CASSIUS CLAY win the Olympic light-heavyweight gold medal. England arrived in their yellow and blue Lodges Coaches bus. It wasn't until 1970 that Mexico '70 that individual coaches painted in team colours for all 16 finalists were provided free.. Believe it or not the knock out stages-quarter and semi-finals- would have been decided after a draw by the drawing of lots. If the final finished a draw after extra time there was to be a replay on the following Tuesday at Wembley.
England players were paid £60 a match but the F.A. had promised £22,000 to the squad in they won the cup. Bobby Moore as captain and senior players had decided in advance that it would be divided equally-£1,000 each to all 22 players, even if they never played. Just after I had visited the team hotel Adi Dassler arrived and offered £1,000.00 to every player who would wear adidas boots in the final. I believe that all but Gordon Banks, who had a deal with Puma, accepted the money. West Germany always wore adidas boots anyway.
Although Saturday had plenty of rain it was quite a warm summer Saturday afternoon. Helmut Haller put the Germans ahead in the 12th minute but Geoff Hurst equalizes 6 minutes later from a pass from Bobby Moore. It wasn't until tht 78th minute that Martin Peters put England, playing in ref shirts, ahead. At 89 minutes, with the cup seemingly won, Wolfgang Weber scored passed Gordon Banks, and we were looking at 30 minutes of extra time. Both teams were tired on the soft muscle sapping turf but Ramsey ordered his team to stand up and not show their opponents that they were tired. In the 108th minute we had the controversial third England goal scored by Hurst. The ball hit the underside of the bar, bounced on the line and went back into play. Swiss referee Gottfried Dienst went over to 'The Russian Linesman' Tofik Bahramov, who was from Azerbaijan, but then the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan. SSRA.
He and the Swiss had no common language. Does ANYBODY remember the name of the other linesman? It was the Czech Dr. Karol Galba. Tofik nodded to Dienst and pointed to the centre. I do not think the ball crossed the line having seen it from every angle over the years. Fortunately in the 118th minute Hurst received a long pass and blasted it past Hans Tilkowski with his left foot as commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme made his famous comment. "THEY THINK ITS ALL OVER......IT IS NOW!", as fans ran onto the pitch. Even if he had blasted it over the bar, by the time it was back in play the match would have been over.
I went from my seat to lean over an try and touch the Jules Rimet Trophy after Bobbu Moore was presented with it and climbed down the stairs to the pitch for a lap of honour. After the VIP's had departed I climbed over the red velvet wall of the Royal Box. There were three white cards still there on the plush seats. Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Stanley Rous and H.M. Queen. ' I NICKED THE H.M.QUEEN' sign, and climbed up to to Press Box and behind it the Press Centre and grabbed some drinks and sandwiches.
That evening I was in Trafalgar Square with thousands of happy fans, some dancing in the fountains. A mile away in The Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, there was another massive crowd. All four semi finalists had been invited to an official banquet and reception: England, West Germany, Soviet Union and Portugal. THE RIDICULOUS THING WAS THAT THE PLAYER'S WIVES WERE NOT INVITED. So, the players left swiftly and did their own thing.
Only the 11 players in the final got medals on the day, and Alf became SIR ALF. It was not until 2009 that the remaining 11 players and the coaches Alf Ramsey, Harold Shepherdson and Les Cocker, or in some cases their surviving family members, received medals at No. 10 Downing Street from the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown...a Scotsman !!!