England’s one World Cup win, in 1966, is taking on the aura of a myth, according to a recent poll of supine consumers in a shopping mall. With every passing year there are fewer people alive who remember those Wembley heroics: Geoff Hurst’s hat-trick, captain Bobby Moore carried off shoulder-high, Nobby Stiles dancing around the pitch without his teeth in.
For younger people, hearing these stories second-hand, the players - including Martin Peters, squeaky-voiced Alan Ball and the Charlton brothers - seem legendary figures, like Robin Hood, Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. No one today remembers full back, George Cohen, though, to be honest, no one in 1966 knew who the hell he was either. Was it two World Wars and one World Cup... or was it the other way round? How quickly the memories fade.
Kevin, a Manchester United supporter from Manchester, was in the Trafford Centre with his son. “To the kids of today the current crop of England players are just a bunch of overpaid nancy boys and prima donnas. The kids don’t know we won the World Cup. I mean, we did win it... right?” Susan, attractive 27-year-old mother of two, said her father had told her stories about 1966, but she wasn’t sure how much to believe. “He was a bit hazy on the facts. Instead of a ball, the teams played with Joseph Stalin’s head, apparently. Dad’s in a secure unit now”.
Bert, 68, bucks the trend by being able to remember those great days. “It seems just like yesterday”, he said, with the rheumy eyes of an elderly labrador. “Or was it the meals on wheels lady?”
One thing’s for certain. Football ‘came home’ in 1966, but merely to have a shit, a shave and a shower, before going out on the town again. Bert didn’t rate England’s chances in Brazil. “They think their dreams of glory are all over. Well, they are now”...