Monday, 31 July 2017
749 The Boys of 66
First viewed : 15 April 1986
As a sort of curtain-raiser for the forthcoming World Cup , ITV made this wonderful documentary narrated by Michael Parkinson about the victorious England team of twenty years earlier, all of whom were still alive at this point. The programme largely concentrated on what they were doing for a living subsequently, a reminder that our top footballers were not set up for life in those days.
Therefore you had Ray Wilson, an undertaker in his native Huddersfield, Roger Hunt running a haulage firm and Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst working in the same insurance company after less than glittering managerial careers. Predictably, Jack Charlton, about to start his famous reign in charge of Ireland, was the most assured raconteur although they were all comfortable enough in front of the camera.
The most poignant contributions came from those who'd retired the earliest, the full backs Ray Wilson and George Cohen. Wilson said he'd be chased out of the pub if he tried to trade on his fame in Huddersfield while Cohen was quite happy to be filmed having a colostomy bag fitted after a serious bout with cancer.
Sadly, Alf Ramsey , working for a construction firm since an undistinguished spell at Birmingham City drew an end to his managerial career , declined to take part and in Parkinson's words "remains an enigma".
It all seemed an awfully long time ago then; thirty years on it seems like ancient history.