THE FOOTBALL field may have brought 50 years of hurt for England fans, but two brothers remember the country’s greatest sporting day like it was yesterday.
Vaughan and Brene Hully were among the crowd at Wembley Stadium on July 30, 1966, when Al Ramsey’s men saw off West Germany after extra time to win the World Cup for the first and only time.
Vaughan, who has lived in Alcester for over 20 years, and Brene recall their memories of the day in Matt Eastley’s new book ’66 on 66′ – published on the 50th anniversary of England’s triumph.
At the time of the ’66 World Cup, the brothers, then aged 19 and 15 respectively, were living in the north west. Vaughan was at Liverpool University, coincidentally studying German, and Brene had just completed his O-levels.
On the day of the World Cup Final, they were among eight friends who drove south in two cars with Vaughan driving their father’s red Mini, which was parked at Bushey station in Herts from where they caught the train to Wembley and enjoyed a few drinks before heading to the stadium.
Brene recalls: “Nothing had prepared me for the sights and sounds which greeted us as we made our way up Wembley Way.
“It was the biggest gathering of humanity I had ever been in. Little did we know that we were about to witness one of the most dramatic sporting events of all time. I remember the weather changing as frequently as the balance of the game – bright sunshine followed by violent showers.
“Although we were treated to extra time, the game seemed to pass really quickly. Not having the benefit of radio or TV commentary we were left to make up our own minds about the controversial incidents which punctuated the game.
“The tension that had built up was relieved when Geoff Hurst scored his hat-trick goal, and the celebrations soon followed. I remember we stayed in the stadium to see the players do their lap of honour with the cup, and their subsequent celebrations.”
Vaughan continued studying languages at Liverpool before spending a year at university in Germany and then training as an accountant.
The father-of-two said: “I still have a couple of mementos from 1966, a triangular silk-effect pennant bearing the words ‘International Sportswear Umbro World Cup 1966′ and an amber and black rosette with a red cardboard centre and the words ‘World Cup 1966 West Germany’.
The final was not the brothers’ only first hand experience of the tournament.
The Portuguese squad – which included the legendary striker Eusebio – trained at Park Road stadium, home of Cheadle Rovers, which was close to the Hully family home.
The brothers purchased a ten-match package of tickets which enabled them to see all six group 3 games, played at Goodison Park and Old Trafford, featuring the Portuguese, Brazil, Hungary and Bulgaria.
Vaughan said: “Brazil were top seeds in the group though they were quite a disappointment, finishing third after losing to Hungary and Portugal and we never really saw what Pelé was capable of.
“The Hungary v Brazil match at Goodison Park was an absolute cracker and contained one of the finest goals I’ve ever seen. At 1-1, with Brazil pushing hard, Hungary broke out of defence and, from just inside the Brazil half, put over a high cross into the middle. Farkas outsprinted the Brazil defence and, seemingly without breaking his stride, caught it on the volley, unleashing an absolute cannonball from just outside the box.”
The game finished 3-1 to Hungary and Vaughan recalls the Goodison crowd chanting the name of their striker, Florian Albert, after the game.
The group was won by Portugal who triumphed in all three of their games. While they won many friends for their style of play, they were also accused of hacking Pelé out of the tournament in the game at Goodison Park, which they won 3-1.
The Portuguese reached the semi-final where they were beaten by England, and the rest is history – a history England fans have looked back to for comfort during half a century of failed penalty shoot outs and embarrassing tournament exits.