I worked in St Albans at the time and when the build-up began I initially thought I might just go along to matches I fancied and pay at the gate. Mid-week games kicked off at 7.30pm so it was easy for me to drive to Stanmore and take the tube train four stations down to Wembley. Then the FA offered multiple match tickets. I cannot recall if these were at a discount but not having the confidence that England would get to the final I opted for a 6 match ticket. This was for Group “A” matches described as “Eighth Final” games and the quarter final; all at Wembley where England would be playing. I have the ticket stubs for all these priced at 7/6 with access via G turnstile and entrance 68. Of course these were “standing” tickets.
The Opening Game
Compared to today the World Cup was not a huge media topic but those real football fans and amateur players were all talking about England’s prospects. The first match was on Monday (yes Monday!) 11 July. Kick off was 7.30 pm but prior to this there was an official opening which ended with the Queen declaring the “Championship” open. I owned a small Kodak camera which I used with colour slide film which I took along to the game. (Despite others saying that cameras were not allowed I do not recall any such restrictions). I have a couple of slides of the opening ceremony. It was not until recently that I realised the significance of such colour photos because all those that watched games on the TV had to be content with black and white.
Prior to the game I had purchased the World Cup programme which cost 2/6. This covered all games in all groups. Pages 46 to 55 provided the outline details in such a way that they could be completed as a record of the unfolding results. Such was my interest that I entered all the details for the matches as they occurred including who played, who scored, etc.
The match against Uruguay is well documented; England tried hard to break down a stubborn defence but 0 – 0 was not such a disappointing result. What was disappointing was the official attendance of 75,000. During the match I took another slide photo.
I attended all the group matches. These came along quickly. Perhaps not surprisingly they were not as well attended as England's. At least some goals were scored! Then England played Mexico on 16 July. Attendance was up to 85,000; was that because it was on a Saturday? Anyway a good result; 2-0 with a Bobby Charlton scorcher! (It was amusing to fans that the England players were listed in the programme by their full Christian names; so Bobby was listed as Robert, Jackie Charlton was listed as John, Nobby Stiles as Norbert, etc!
The next match was Uruguay versus Mexico; another 0-0 draw which following their 2-1 win over France ensured they would have 4 points. This meant that England needed to beat France on Wednesday 20 July to head the group and qualify for the quarter finals. Momentum was beginning to build and 92,500 turned up to see England win 2-0. I can remember the big talking points were about team selection involving wingers.
So England were through and only 3 days later on Saturday 23 July they had to face Argentine, runners up in Group B (or Group 2) to West Germany. This was at Wembley and I had a ticket! With England one step away from a semi-final what was surprising was that the attendance was quoted as 88,000. This was a memorable game not least from the antics of the Argentinian players but more importantly England won and was in the semi –final. I took two colour slide photos during this game.
Unfortunately I did not attend this match on Tuesday 26th July against Portugal. It is possible that I did not plan to go as the original intention was for it to be played at Goodison Park but the FA made a late switch to Wembley with the West Germany v Russia game being played at Everton on 25th July. I did watch it on TV and remember it as a really great match; after four games watching England “live” I had no trouble seeing it in “colour”! This was when Alf Ramsey “finalised” his team with effectively no wingers and Alan Ball selected along with Geoff Hurst who replaced Jimmy Greaves. Although this was controversial fans were beginning to believe a World cup win was possible!
When I ordered my six match ticket for the earlier games I didn’t take in the significance of an insert that accompanied the documents. It was a simple ballot paper that entitled me to apply for a World Cup Final Ticket. As I recall, it had a letter “B” on it and all I had to do was to submit it and hope for the best. Well I was one of the lucky ones but perversely winning the ballot enable me to purchase 2 tickets for the final! I duly did this and was able to take Charlie, my Father, along.
The tickets were priced at £1.5 but this was pre-decimal so it would have been £1 ten shillings. Our entry point was B turnstile and then entrance 24 and I have the ticket stub. I purchased the World Cup Final programme for 2/6.
We arrived in plenty of time and there was a good deal of pre-match music. We were at the Tunnel end and I took a photo as the teams emerged. You can hardly see any of the players through the waving flags but looking at the photo reminded me that there was no segregation of fans. I took a further two photos during the match.
Although Germany equalised late on, we and all the England fans and around us were convinced we would win in extra time. One particular memory was with time ticking away and England winning 3-2 some fans were literally burrowing their way towards the front of the crowd. They wanted to get on the pitch. Well a few did and Kenneth Wolstenholme’s words describing Hurst’s hat trick goal to seal victory are now enshrined in football history. A fantastic day and memory!
Memory added on August 1, 2016
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2nd November 2016 We arrive at an extremely congested Stanmore tube station car park at around 6.15pm. Luckily a homeward bound commuter arrives back at her car directly next to where we are idling and we get a precious space. We take the tube train ride four stations down to Wembley Park and have plenty of time before the 7.45pm kick-off. We walk down towards the 'new' stadium, stopping to buy a match programme for £5. The huge arch soaring high above is resplendent in white and blue tonight because Tottenham Hotspur are playing their home Champions League fixtures here this season at Wembley! The crowd tonight will be a 'Champions League record' 85,512 and I have purchased two tickets. So I am able to take Peter, my father along in just the same way that he took Charlie, his father / my grandfather, 50 years ago. There's a neat link to the memories of '66 written by my father as it's a sort of England v W.Germany game again, only Tottenham Hotspur as an English side against Bayer '04 Leverkusen as the German side. Peter and Charlie first went to White Hart Lane in 1959 and went to many of the games in the 'so nearly' European Cup adventure that Tottenham went on in the 1961-62 season when they eventually lost in the semi-final to Benfica. On the way from the car park to the platform at Stanmore we chat to a father who is taking his young son to see the Spurs go marching in, which reminded me that in fact it was 35 years ago this weekend that I first went to White Hart Lane to see Tottenham play West Bromwich Albion. Sadly Spurs are not at their best tonight and lose one-nil but that doesn't detract from our son and father trip too much, which was still a fantastic evening and memory!
– Steve Moss, November 7 2016 at 10:31