From the Archives

1966 World Cup At 50 - Rattin's Rage & Hurst's Header

Last season I wrote five articles marking the 50th anniversaries of West Ham United’s quarter-final, semi-final and final matches in the 1965 European Cup Winners’ Cup winning campaign. Following on from Tony Hanna’s excellent first-hand account of life during the 1966 World Cup, this is the first of my three-part series commemorating the 50th anniversary of the knock-out stage matches of English football’s finest achievement.

England had progressed to the last eight of the tournament by virtue of an uninspiring goalless draw with Uruguay, a 2-0 victory over Mexico thanks to Bobby Charlton “belting the ball” and a tap-in from Roger Hunt while a double from Hunt secured a 2-0 win over France.

The quarter-final took place 50 years ago today, on Saturday 23rd July 1966 – a day also famous for the death of Hollywood actor Montgomery Clift at the age of 45. England’s opponents were Argentina in front of 90,584 at Wembley – the South Americans had reached the knock-out stages by beating Spain 2-1, drawing 0-0 with West Germany and beating Switzerland 2-0.

Alf Ramsey made two changes to the side that had beaten the French – Blackpool’s Alan Ball came in for Liverpool’s Ian Callaghan and West Ham United forward Geoff Hurst replaced the injured Jimmy Greaves of Tottenham. Ramsey resisted calls from FIFA and his own FA officials to omit Manchester United midfielder Nobby Stiles from his XI – Stiles, for whom the term ‘combative’ does not seem fully sufficient, had irked the top brass after a bad tackle on Frenchman Jacques Simon in the previous match. After a row between Ramsey and the FA, the manager spoke to Stiles to discover if there had been any intent to injure Simon in the tackle. Stiles assured his boss that there had not and that was good enough for Alf, who duly went to the FA Senior International Committee and informed them that they could have his resignation if Stiles was not permitted to play.

Argentina, technically gifted and England’s first real challenge of the World Cup, did not set out to play the kind of football that could have beaten the host nation, who were resplendent in all-white. Their captain, Antonio Rattin, talked himself into being sent off, while the South Americans sought to intimidate their English opponents, spitting at them, pulling the hairs on the back of their necks, pulling their ears and going into tackles with excessive force. Ramsey would later describe the Argentines as “animals”.

Rattin was ejected from the field of play by German referee Rudolf Kreitlein in the 35th minute. He initially refused to leave the pitch, arguing furiously with Kreitlein even though neither understood each other’s native language and the game was held up for some eight minutes until Rattin reluctantly departed. As a way to further show his disgust, Rattin then sat on the red carpet which was exclusively for the Queen to walk on and he eventually had to be escorted from the field by two policemen and twisted a British flag before being escorted down the tunnel. It was also during this game that Jack Charlton was cautioned, only to discover the fact the next day from the newspaper report. As a result of the incidents during this game, Kreitlein (who died four years ago at the age of 92) and English referee Ken Aston developed the idea of yellow and red cards to aid on-field communication in football.

The breakthrough finally came in the 78th minute – a goal born on the West Ham United training ground at Chadwell Heath. Martin Peters delivered a cross from the left, Geoff Hurst’s near-post run left the Argentine defence napping and he glanced his header into the far corner beyond a rooted Antonio Roma. Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds were at number one on the day of the game with ‘Out Of Time’ and Hurst’s header ensured that time had run out on Argentina’s World Cup campaign. England, meanwhile, marched on to the semi-finals.

In Argentina, the match is referred to as el robo del siglo – the steal of the century. It was the beginning of a fierce rivalry between the two nations, with Ramsey running onto the pitch at the end of the match to prevent his players from swapping shirts with their opponents. Argentina have since said that the referee was biased in favour of the home nation, resulting in Rattin’s dismissal. Further refereeing decisions have impacted on major matches between the two countries since – 1986 saw the ‘Hand of God’ goal by Diego Maradona, 1998 saw David Beckham sent off for a petulant kick at Diego Simeone and 2002 saw Michael Owen fall under a challenge by current Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to win England a crucial penalty.

Finally, a nod to those members of the Argentina team that day who are sadly no longer with us. Goalkeeper Roma passed away three years ago at the age of 80 while centre-back Roberto Perfumo, who went on to captain his country in the 1974 World Cup, died in March this year at the age of 73 from a skull injury after falling from a stairway while dining with fellow journalists at a Buenos Aires restaurant. Forward Ermindo Onega was killed in a car accident in 1979 at the age of 39.

England: Gordon Banks (Leicester), George Cohen (Fulham), Jack Charlton (Leeds), Bobby Moore (captain, West Ham), Ray Wilson (Everton), Alan Ball (Blackpool), Nobby Stiles (Man Utd), Bobby Charlton (Man Utd), Martin Peters (West Ham), Roger Hunt (Liverpool), Geoff Hurst (West Ham).

Argentina: Antonio Roma (Boca Juniors), Roberto Ferreiro (Independiente), Roberto Perfumo (Racing Club), Rafael Albrecht (San Lorenzo), Silvio Marzolini (Boca Juniors), Antonio Rattin (captain, Boca Juniors), Jorge Solari (River Plate), Alberto Gonzalez (Boca Juniors), Ermindo Onega (River Plate), Luis Artime (Independiente), Oscar Mas (River Plate).


My World Cup memories, 50 year Anniversary.

It was July 1966 and I was ten years old and four months. Remember how a few months added on to your age seemed so important when you were young? My interest in football had only started the year before after a change in school. My old school did not play football or even have a school team. At my new school every playground was for kicking a ball around or chasing a girl, it was so much more fun. I picked the game up quickly, football that is, and was in my new schools team but I was still a year away from going to Upton Park, the home of my favourite club, West Ham United. My mum and dad, who both had no interest in football, had gone up to the East End the night the Hammers won the Cup in 1964. The stories they told me of how the locals were celebrating, the singing and dancing, were enough even at my young age to let me know, this was the club I was going to support for life.

Our family was one of the breed then, large family moved onto the new housing estates in Essex designed to take in the East Enders who had been bombed out during the war. Every time you went outside there were either kids kicking a ball about or heading down onto the local playing fields, knocking on doors on the way, rallying up enough to make at least 20 a side. There was no 45 minutes each way, you just played until it was dark.

But this was July 1966 and something big was happening. England were hosting the World Cup. Our manager, Alf Ramsey, was telling everyone we were going to win it! He was bonkers, everyone knew it, how could anyone beat Brazil? They had Pele. In fact we were lucky to be playing for anything at all. Someone had nicked the Cup a few weeks earlier only for it to be found in a brown paper bag in a hedge by a now notoriously famous dog named Pickles. Famous that is for the amount of trivia questions surrounding the event since that day! Colour TV was still a year away and another three before both BBC and ITV had regular broadcasts. For most it was even longer than that due to the expense. It was exciting waiting for the first game of the tournament to begin. Live football was a rarity in the UK back then, from memory I think it was only the FA Cup final that was usually shown live and perhaps the European Cup finals? Match of the Day and the Big Match were Saturday night and Sunday lunchtime offerings that showed highlights of one pre-selected game and the goals from some of the others in the English first division. It was certainly the famine before today’s feast, and all in black and white too!

England played Uruguay in that first game and drew 0-0, but we went on to top our group with 2-0 wins over France and Mexico. The big shocks were happening in groups three and four though, with Brazil losing out to Portugal and Hungary, and North Korea qualifying at the expense of Italy. Poor Pele had been kicked all over the place and Brazil failed to adapt and nothing was known about North Korea but it meant the Italian players would have tomatoes thrown at them when arriving back home at the airport.

In the quarter finals the Koreans led Portugal 3-0 after just 22 minutes and the whole World wondered what was going on! However, Portugal with the goal machine Eusebio, restored sensibility and came back to win 5-3 and West Germany and the Soviet Union also made the semi finals. England beat Argentina in a spiteful match 1-0, with Alf Ramsey famously branding Argentina and their captain Rattin “animals”. West Germany and England of course made the final as both won their semis 2-1 against the Soviets and Portugal respectively. By this time the form of Geoff Hurst, who had replaced the injured Jimmy Greaves earlier in the tournament, was in line to make it three Hammers playing in a World Cup final. West Ham skipper Bobby Moore was already proving himself World class and Martin Peters was a player Ramsey was later to describe as “ten years ahead of his time”.

The final between England and West Germany was played at 3pm on Saturday the 30th July 1966. A date that has gone down into British history. I knew it was going to be a big day then as mum and dad had organised their day to watch the game on TV. I am sure it was the first game of football they had ever watched in their lives! No need to tell anyone here what happened but it is still the most famous and proudest date in English sporting history. West Ham of course, made an overwhelming contribution with Moore as captain and Hurst and Peters scoring all four goals. Like me, I doubt there are too many of you reading this now of similar age that could not recite the team sheet of that day. The following weeks down the fields saw kids puffing their cheeks out, just like Geoffrey, as they blasted the ball into the back of the imaginary net, followed by the self commentary of “they think it’s all over – it is now!” Imaginary net of course, as all goals back then were just two piles of jumpers.

A few weeks later our local catholic church hall managed to get a cinema tape of the game and they played the whole game again in their function room. It was on a big screen but it was also in colour! What a treat. I will never forget that day as hundreds of kids sang England and cheered as our Hammers scored their goals, every moment relived in pure innocent ecstasy. In a few days time it will be the 50th anniversary of that famous afternoon at Wembley Stadium. Those halcyon days seem so heady now, such a long time ago. Fantastic memories, but if you told me then that 50 years later I would be writing about that day, and that England had won nothing since and not even played in a final, I would not have believed you.

I have decided to release this article a week before the anniversary so as not to clash with Dan Coker’s three part series on the event next week. Not a bad effort on Dan’s part as he is getting married next Saturday, 50 years to the day we won the Cup! I think everyone on here will all join me in wishing Dan and his bride all the very best for their special day and the future.

Talking Point

Hats Off to the West Ham Accessibility Team

Blind Hammer gives some credit where credit is due.

It was with some dread that I approached the purchase of tickets for the first game at the OS, the second leg of the Europa cup game today.

This apprehension was fuelled by the experience, earlier this year, of the complicated registration online process for Season Tickets. This may have been straightforward for non-disabled supporters but was anything but for disabled supporters. It was particularly difficult for those who also had a linked Carer’s Ticket. I had tried to get my normally helpful West Ham Disabled Supporters Line to help at that time. Unfortunately they told me that they did not have anything to do with Olympic Stadium tickets and all they could do was give me another booking number, which predictably was never answered. I represented these and other problems by email to the Accessibility Team at West Ham.

This morning I was steeling myself for a difficult online process, wondering how to link my Carer’s ticket again, but thought maybe I should just try the number I used last year for the West Ham Disabled Supporters Line, more in forlorn hope than anything else.

To my surprise the phone starting ringing and I was told I was in a queue as normal. There was still part of me braced for disappointment, expecting that I would get through to somebody only to be told I had to book online or that I had to use another booking number.

Instead to my relief I was answered by a familiar staff member who smoothly and efficiently took my details and arranged for my ticket, as well as my carer’s ticket without any issues.

Now this may seem a small thing but the fact that West Ham is retaining their Disabled Supporter’s Helpline has made my day. You should also not underestimate the work behind the scenes needed to make this happen. It would have been far easier for West Ham to have devolved all the responsibility for this to the new Ticket Agency. They could have told their disabled supporters to sort out any problems with that agency direct. Instead, they have obviously, at a time when they are frantically preparing for a new season in a new stadium, decided to give themselves extra work and do things not the easy way, but the right way. Anybody who manages a pressured service will know that accepting extra work is not easy unless your staffs are committed.

The fact is that my Club has obviously reflected on the feedback that I and other disabled supporters gave them earlier in the year. They have responded by re-instating their own support services. This makes me proud.

We all moan from time to time but today let’s just say Hats Off to West Ham and the Accessibility Team.

David Griffith

The S J Chandos Column

Are Carlos Bacca's transfer options diminishing?

The potential signing of Carlos Bacca from AC Milan has certainly turned in to something of a long running saga. The fee has been agreed with AC Milan, but the personal terms package offered to the player by the Hammers allegedly remains on the table. It is clear that Bacca and his advisers have been stalling in responding to West Ham’s offer, in the hope that a Champions League qualified club will make a 11th hour counter bid/offer. This was amply demonstrated by Bacca’s comments that his ‘dream’ was to play in the Champions League competition. That statement represented a very clear ‘come and get me’ declaration to alternative suitors.

If that was the plan then the latest indicators are that it has not worked. The president of Atletico Madrid has publicly stated that the club are not interested in signing Bacca; while the anticipated bid from Arsenal does not (to date) appear to have materialised. At the same time AC Milan are apparently pressurising Bacca to move to East London, as they are dependent upon the fee to finance their own summer transfer dealings, which are currently on hold. So, that appears to leave Bacca with a sole option, West Ham and the Olympic Stadium! This is reflected in yesterday’s report in Italian publication, Gazzetta dello Sport, that Bacca has ‘timidly reopened negotiations with West Ham about a potential move.’

It may be that the Hammers end up signing Bacca almost by default. The question is whether it is a good thing to sign a player for £26m in those circumstances? The worst case scenario is that the player is reluctant to be at the club and this is reflected in his attitude and performances next season. The alternative view is that Bacca is a professional and once he joins that club he will give 100% to the cause and do everything that he can to make the move a success. Certainly, on signing, Bacca’s personal success and that of the club become indivisible, so hopefully the latter, positive scenario will prevail. There is also the possibility that like many new players before him (most recently Payet) Bacca will quickly learn what the club is all about and become enamoured with our project. And his distinct part in that project will be to supply the c.20 goals to help fire the club in to a top four PL finish in 2016/17 and qualification for the 2017/18 CL competition. Thus, realising his declared ‘dream’ at the OS, the season after next.

There have been other reports that West Ham are interested in Toulouse striker Wissam Ben-Yedder. This may be true, but it could be that this is viewed as lining up an alternative if the Bacca deal cannot be completed. The same may also be true with regard to the club’s reported inquiry about the availability of Deportivo La Coruna striker, Lucas Perez. This speculation, and the links to numerous targets, is likely a consequence of the club putting out multiple feelers or, as David Gold put it, having ‘many irons in the fire.’ Only time will tell whether these proposed deals have substance? Although I have to say that Ben-Yedder does look a very good option and is well worth a punt. He is 25 years of age, entering the final year of his current contract with Toulouse (so the fee will be reasonable) and last season he scored 17 league goals in a struggling team. That poses the tantalising question: what could he achieve in a better quality side?

One deal that does now appear to be moving to completion is an agreement to take Jonathan Calleri on a season long loan, presumably with a view to a permanent deal next summer. The good news is that Calleri has just been granted his Italian passport, which eliminates the need for a visa application. It was delays in granting this passport that scuppered previous overtures by Inter Milan to sign the striker. This is potentially a very good deal and one that could really work out well for the club. Although, if it happens, we have to hope that both he and Lanzini come through unscathed from their impending involvement in the Argentine Olympic football squad!

Social media is getting very excitable about alleged interest in Reece Oxford from the two Manchester club and (don’t laugh!) Tottenham Hotspurs. There may be an element of threat from Manchester, although Oxford would be very ill-advised to gamble on a move to City (which has been a grave yard for young English talent) or a United managed by Jose Mourinho (a manager who arguably does not have a track record of promoting youth). As for Spurs, they rejected Oxford as a school boy and coming from the other side of north London he reportedly has little affection for the Spuds. I know money often talks, but I think we can safely dismiss their chances! No, the Hammers must respond by getting in to serious negotiations to sign Oxford on a new long-term deal. He is far better off negotiating a new contract to stay at the club and continue his development here. At 17 years of age, time is firmly on his side and there is no footballing imperative to seek a hasty transfers at this early stage of his career. At the same time, there must be a recognition by the club’s management that Oxford needs more first team game time this coming season and that should be a priority.

Indeed, the club’s involvement in the Europa League competition is a golden opportunity for the club’s youth players. There will obviously be a number of cross-overs, especially if we reach the latter stages of cup competitions, but the club need to almost operate two sub-squads in which one core set of players pre-dominate in the PL campaign and another in the Europa League and domestic cups. Certainly, Slaven Bilic will need to skilfully manage the rotation and deployment of his squad next season and that will mean increasingly utilising the club’s young players. That is a certainty and those youngsters (if they are not loaned out) must be ready to step up to the plate and take their first team chances when they come. That in turn, is the route to forcing their way in to the core PL sub-squad and giving Bilic some very nice future selection headaches!

Finally, if the club are successful in recruiting replacement strikers, then it looks as if Sakho and Valencia will exit the club this summer. Both are being kept until the said deals are completed. I particularly regret losing Sakho, as he is a centre-forward that I rate highly. I always liked the way he led the line, linked up play and did the hard work, in running the channels, as well as converting his share of chances. Indeed, If pushed, I must admit that I probably preferred him leading the line, but things move on and if a parting of the ways is necessary, it is necessary. As long as ‘continuous improvement’ results in us securing better quality replacements. That is the ultimate ‘bottom line’ as far as I am concerned.

However, in the case of these two specific players it might be tempting to try to prioritise outgoing transfer deals with overseas clubs, to guarantee that they do not come back to haunt us next season! Lazio want Valencia and Sevilla and Hamburg are allegedly interested in Sakho, so (as long as the fees are acceptable and, obviously, the players agree) that might be the way to go. After all, why strengthen rival PL sides, if it can be avoided?

SJ. Chandos.

Match Report

Match Report: West Ham 2 FC Slovacko 2

I’m in Spain at the moment, staying with friends in Andalucia for a week. Admittedly most of the time has been spent in their wonderful hillside pool, overlooking the lake at Iznajar. However, they seem to have every satellite channel known to man, so I asked them if they could find the West Ham match for me. Premier Sports wouldn’t load but they found it somewhere else.

If I am honest I missed the second goal from Ashley Fletcher as I fell asleep!. Friendlies never excite me, although there were a few interesting performances that I spotted while I was actually awake.

  • Standout performance in the first half was from Sofiane Feghouli. He showed brilliant trickery and skills down the right and his crosses were superb. I really like the look of him.
  • Martin Samuelsen provided the pass for Mark Noble to score and he also looked impressive throughout. He still looks like a gangly teenager, though, and needs to gain some upper body strength.
  • Domingo Quinna looks the real deal. Strong, skillful and persistent. A real prospect.
  • Sam Byram put in a good shift at right back.
  • Marcus Browne and Josh Cullen were solid in midfield and Declan Rice and Reece Burke looked really good in central defence in the first half.
  • The result flattered Slovacko who got two goals in the last ten minutes. Antonio didn’t get lose enough for the second goal and to be honest Raphael Spiegel was all over the place.

Right, back to the poolside.

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