Fifty years ago something remarkable happened. England won the World Cup. That’s right, the country that invented football finally won the sport’s greatest tournament. Unfortunately, since then, England have won nothing. That’s despite having some of the world’s most expensive, most highly paid players.
So, for all kinds of reasons, 1966 has taken on almost mythical nature. It’s a happy place the English can go to whenever they want to feel comforted by success. As an outsider, should 1966 ever come up in conversation, we list below the important things you need to be aware of:
1. ‘Some people are on the pitch they think it’s all over….it is now!’.
This is the TV commentary that accompanied England’s 4th goal. Often this phrase is shortened to ‘..they think it’s all over…it is now!’ However, given England’s abysmal performances in subsequent tournaments ‘it’s all over’ might be a far more relevant phrase.
2. The Russian linesman.
This pivotal figure in British history is famed for waving his flag to award a goal for England when it is far from clear that the ball crossed the goal line. The goal put England 3-2 up in extra time. All of which means that the most significant figure in English football in the last 100 years might just be Tofiq Bahramov who actually came from Azerbaijan. Memorise his name, and his nationality, and drop the information into any 1966-based conversation and you will gain new found respect from those around you.
3. Nobby Stiles.
Nobby Stiles is hard to explain. He wasn’t Bobby Moore, the England captain who lifted the cup. He wasn’t Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat trick in the final. And he wasn’t one of the famous Charlton brothers, Bobby & Jack. But what makes Nobby an icon of 1966 is the sight of him dancing on the touch line after the match, World Cup trophy in one hand, and false teeth in the other. Utter joy.
Incidentally, if the people you’re chatting with are Scottish, Welsh or from Northern Ireland, then the whole 1966 thing takes on a completely different flavour. For these people 1966, and the fact that it was so long ago, is really rather funny.
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