‘When this 1966 World Cup photo was taken, I still didn’t know I’d scored a hat-trick’

Geoff Hurst celebrates England winning the World Cup, 30 July 1966

There have probably been days over the past 51 years when someone hasn’t spoken to me about the 1966 World Cup final. But not many. I don’t mind that; you don’t get bored talking about winning a World Cup for England. If anything, as I get older, I find myself growing more astonished to have been part of something that means so much to so many people. I don’t think that’s unusual: in any walk of life it’s only as the years pass that you start to appreciate the significance of what you achieved.

It was a good afternoon. I scored a hat-trick, but it’s not false modesty to say I was fortunate. That squad didn’t need me in it to be world class. You had [Gordon] Banks, [Bobby] Moore, [Bobby] Charlton, [Jimmy] Greaves. Every one of those was unbelievable. I hadn’t been the best player at my school, let alone in the country, but I worked hard and had a good attitude. That’s what [England manager] Sir Alf Ramsey wanted in his players.

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