England’s 1966 World Cup winners: what happened next to the stars who made the nation proud at Wembley
IT remains the greatest day in English football but the death of Gordon Banks is a reminder age and poor health are catching up with the surviving members of Alf Ramsey’s triumphant 1966 side.
Most of those who helped see off West Germany 4-2 at Wembley sold their winners’ medals for less than today’s superstars earn in a week – but us fans will never forget what they did.
When their playing days ended, none were left with the kind of fortunes today’s footballers enjoy and for many it was a case of finding new careers outside the game.
Here, MARTIN PHILLIPS finds out what the victorious XI got up to in the years after they made history.
Gordon Banks: Goalkeeper
THE ex-Leicester and Stoke stopper lost the sight in his right eye in a car crash in 1972, forcing his retirement.
In the Eighties he became a member of the pools panel and was made Stoke City’s president in 2000.
In 2001 he sold his World Cup medal at auction for £124,750.
Banks lost a kidney to cancer 14 years ago, and passed away on February 12 at the age of 81.
George Cohen, 79: Right back
THE Fulham defender was once described by George Best as “the best full-back I ever played against”.
Injury forced him to retire at 29. Two years later, in 1971, his mother was hit by a lorry and killed and, in 1976, he was diagnosed with cancer, which he fought for 14 years.
Fulham paid £80,000 for his World Cup medal in 1998.
He sold it to fund his retirement.
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Bobby Moore: Centre-half, captain
THE West Ham skipper joined Fulham in 1974, then moved to play in the US from 1976 to 1978.
He briefly managed Oxford City before moving to Hong Kong side Eastern AA in 1982 and returning to the UK as Southend United boss in 1984.
He stayed on the club’s board until his death.
His marriage to first wife Tina ended in 1986 and, after joining Capital Gold radio as a pundit, married second wife Stephanie in 1991.
He died from cancer in 1993, aged 51.
Tina sold his memorabilia to West Ham in 2000, reportedly for more than £1.4million.
Jack Charlton, 83: Centre-half
AFTER a successful career with Leeds United he ran two clothes shops in the city and the club’s Elland Road souvenir shop.
In 1974 he steered Middlesbrough to the First Division and later the Republic of Ireland to Euro ’88 and ’92 and the 1990 and 1994 World Cups.
He admits his memory is failing but remembers the 1966 final and says he will not sell his medal.
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Ray Wilson: Left back
DESPITE his weak header gifting West Germany the opening goal in the final, 1966 wasn’t a bad year for Wilson.
Not only did he help England recover from that early setback but two months earlier he had lifted the FA Cup with Everton.
He retired from playing in 1971 and briefly took charge of Bradford City the same year while they searched for a manager.
Wilson started an undertaker’s business in his native Huddersfield until he retired in 1997. He sold his World Cup medal in 2002 for a reported £80,000 to help fund his retirement but within two years had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Wilson died in May 2018.
The medal, which was bought by a private collector, was re-sold in 2014 for £136,000.
Nobby Stiles, 76: Midfield
WON the European Cup with Man Utd in 1968 before he moved to Middlesbrough in 1971, then to Preston North End as player-coach where Bobby Charlton was manager. Both left the club in 1975.
Stiles returned as manager from 1977 to 1981 and briefly took the reins at West Brom in 1985, during which time he battled depression.
He went back to Man Utd and helped coach the so-called Class of ’92.
In 2010 he sold his World Cup and European Cup medals. He said: “I’m as patriotic as the next Englishman… but at this stage of my life I’d rather have some control over the distribution of my memorabilia and know that my family will benefit.”
The medals were bought by Man Utd for £209,000.
Stiles was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2012 and prostate cancer in 2013. His health had deteriorated in recent years.
Bobby Charlton, 81: Midfield
AFTER hanging up his boots Charlton managed Preston and signed his former England and United team-mate Stiles. After resigning he played in South Africa and was once part of an invitational XI which included Bobby Moore.
He built businesses in travel, jewellery and hampers and ran football schools in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and China.
In 1984 he became a director of Man Utd.
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Knighted in 1994 for services to football, he helped in various bids for England to host sporting tournaments and with charities, including landmine victim causes.
Like his brother Jack, his memory is fading but he plays an ambassadorial role for Man Utd and has retained ownership of his World Cup medal, which is displayed in United’s Old Trafford museum.
Alan Ball: Midfield
THE youngest member of the World Cup squad at 21, he moved from Blackpool to Everton and then to Arsenal.
After retiring from playing he had a 15-year managerial career at clubs including Portsmouth, Southampton and Man City.
His second autobiography in 2004 revealed his struggles as his wife and daughter were diagnosed with cancer.
He sold his World Cup medal for £140,000 in 2005 to raise money for his family.
Ball died from a heart attack, aged 61, in 2007 while trying to put out a fire in his garden.
Martin Peters, 75: Midfield
PETERS moved from West Ham to Spurs and then to Norwich after his goal-scoring heroics in the 1966 final – he put England 2-1 up before West Germany equalised to send the match to extra-time.
Nicknamed “The Ghost” for his ability to drift unnoticed into goal-scoring positions, he played for Sheffield United in 1981 and managed the club for 16 games but was unable to save them from relegation.
In 1984 he worked for an insurance company until he was made redundant in 2001. Though he continued to work as a match-day host at Spurs, he sold his World Cup medal to West Ham in 2001 for a reported £150,000.
In 2013 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and his condition has since deteriorated rapidly.
Roger Hunt, 80: Striker
KNOWN to Liverpool fans as Sir Roger, he ended his 11-year stint at Anfield in 1969 and moved to Bolton.
After retiring in 1972 he joined the family haulage company, and in 1975 became a member of the pools panel, which decides the likely results of postponed matches.
He is one of only three of the World Cup-winning team to still own his medal.
Geoff Hurst, 77: Striker
LEFT West Ham for Stoke in 1972 and had stints at West Brom, Cork Celtic and Seattle Sounders.
He became player-manager at Telford United before joining Ron Greenwood’s England coaching set-up, then managed Chelsea until he was sacked in 1981.
Hurst left football to work as an insurance salesman but managed again in Kuwait. He built a career as an after-dinner speaker and pundit.
Hurst, knighted in 1998, sold his World Cup medal to West Ham for £150,000 in 2001 and said: “As a family we decided the best thing to do was to place it in a museum.”
Alf Ramsey: Manager
SIR ALF was knighted for his services to football in 1967 but sacked as England boss after failing to qualify for the 1974 World Cup.
Having been a defender for Spurs before going into management, he took charge of Birmingham City and advised Greek side Panathinaikos before retiring to a fairly reclusive life in Ipswich, doing occasional media work.
He suffered a stroke during the 1998 World Cup and died a year later, aged 79, suffering from Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Sir Alf was posthumously awarded a World Cup medal ten years after his death, when it was agreed medals would be given to the 11 members of the England squad who did not appear in the final and the backroom staff.
Harold Shepherdson: Assistant manager
“SHEP” played as a centre-half for Middlesbrough before being called up to serve as an Army fitness instructor during World War Two.
He struggled to hold down a regular place at Boro after the war and a knee injury ended his playing career soon after. He’d played just 17 games.
But going on to be England’s longest-serving trainer – he worked under Walter Winterbottom, Ramsey and Joe Mercer between 1957 and 1974 – he was awarded an MBE in 1969 for services to football and went on to become assistant manager at Middlesbrough until he retired.
He died in 1995, aged 76, following a heart attack. Wife Margaret, known as Peggy, received his posthumous World Cup medal in 2009. She died two years later, aged 91.
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