Bobby Moore : Representations of England and the National Psyche in Death*


via Juniper Jungle on Flickr Bobby Moore Statue outside Wembley Stadium.

Even people who never miss an opportunity to declare that they are utterly uninterested in sport could hardly fail to identify Bobby Moore as a national hero; he was famous not merely for great prowess on the football field, most conspicuously for leading England to victory in the 1966 World Cup final. Beyond anything else he conveyed the clear sense of an integrity that was entirely his own, a combative kind of integrity that is as unusual in football as it would be unusual anywhere.

Ken Jones (1993) Obituary: Bobby Moore, Available at: 5th february 2015).

I thought this might be the best opening point to remember the 50th anniversary of the 1966 World Cup win, this article will then look back on one of the most iconic images in post-war Britain, and then finally, the impact Moore’s death had upon the national psyche.


Chas Critcher, in his insightful article England and the World Cup : World Cup Willies, English Football and the myth of 1966 wrote of Bobby Moore’s death as being eulogised in the Daily Mirror editorial which describes him as a ‘great footballer’, ‘a true gentleman’, ‘an ambassador’ and ‘represented a past which the nation desperately needs to recover’. :-

Here in condensed form we can find the myth of the ‘66 and the elements which comprise it. First there is quite clearly the element of nationalism : an ambassador for his country, symbol of the nation’s triumph, loss to Britain. ……We look to the past for guidance but then admit we cannot reproduce it; nationalism is rooted in past glories with which present is unfavourable compared……The ‘pride in pulling on an England shirt’ has an implication been lost, it being a familiar complaint in the popular press that today’s players, cosseted and overpaid, lack real passion when playing for England.’

(Chas Critcher. (1994). England and the World Cup : World Cup Willies, English Football and the myth of 1966. In: Tomlinson. A and Sugden, J. Host and Champions : Soccer Cultures, National Identities and the USA World Cup. Aldershot: Arena. p.77-92.)

I want to now take a look at the impact of Bobby Moore on the British culture,as an emblematic footballer and as a ‘national treasure’ (as the Daily Mirror described him in their editorial).

The myth-making surrounding Bobby Moore is not unique. In 1965 and the passing of Sir Winston Churchill or more recently the eulogising of Princess Diana after her death in 1997 caused a national outpouring of grief that would affect society, media and culture.

In an article by Cath Davies from 2010 (Davies, C. (2010). Technological Taxidermy : Recognisable faces in celebrity deaths. Mortality. 15 (2), p.141.) She describes the ‘embalming tradition’ within the context of celebrity deaths within the digital age, saying:-

Aries (1994) describes the embalming tradition as a ‘certain refusal to accept death’ (p.99) and an integral concept in society’s willingness to confront the dead body in a wake for example. The concept of embalming is a restoration of a lifelike visage in a similar tradition to that of the taxidermist.

In Bobby Moore’s case, with his death being in 1993 and a precursor to the Internet age, the embalming tradition could be said to come via statues. Bobby Moore has two statues on public display. One, outside Wembley stadium (see above), one near the West Ham United football ground, where he predominantly played as a professional player. These ‘lifelike’ images portray Moore as a player and retain his youthful zest. The Metro newspaper, when the statue near West Ham was attacked, the persons who have defaced the statue with paint are called ‘scum’  by a twitter account (Bellshaw, G. 2015).

The damaging of statues in Britain, especially those of high prestige, is frowned upon by the English media. An example of this can be clearly seen when the Daily Mail described the student protest of 2010 as a ‘baying rabble of masked and hooded troublemakers’ after urinating on the Sir Winston Churchill outside Parliament Square.

In some ways, the death of Bobby Moore and its cultural resonance has antecedents in the 1989, with the Hillsborough disaster, when 96 Liverpool fans died during an FA Cup Semi-final in Sheffield. James Thomas said of the incident and its impact that it:-

Saw a marked intensification of this de-privatisation of death, beginning with …..Hillsborough [of 1989]…….The aftermath saw a rediscovery of communal mourning…….Flowers and scarves were left at Anfield. (Thomas, J (2002). Diana’s Mourning : A People’s History. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. p.91

Although Hillsborough was a loss of communal rather than individual proportions, the passing of Bobby Moore had a similar impact with flowers, shirts and scarves left outside West Ham United’s ground, Upton Park. Jack Santino has called them ‘spontaneous shrines’ saying :-

I use the word ‘shrine’ because these are more than memorials. They are places of communion between the dead and the living….They are sites of pilgrimage, as Grider has noted (2001). They commemorate and memorialize, but they do far more than that. They invite participation even from strangers. They are ‘open’ to the public. (Santino, J. (2006). Performative Commemoratives : Spontaneous Shrines and the Public Memorialization of Death. In: Santino, J Spontaneous Shrines and the Public Memorialization of Death. Houndmills: Palgrave. p5-16.)

The image of Bobby Moore always seems to remain strong within the English psyche. In being captain of the England World Cup winning team he is ‘the voice’ of the team.As an iconic image in victory as he is in defeat. It could be argued that the most iconic image Bobby Moore as England Captain is him being held aloft by his England team-mates whilst holding the Jules Rimet trophy. But the second image with which Bobby Moore is most likely associated with, is the 1970 World Cup game against Brazil (England had lost 1-0), in which a shirtless Pele and Moore exchange jerseys seems to underline two things.

Firstly, the image seems to highlight a time when players were able to be friends rather than opponents, in which a ‘win at any cost’ was not important and was played for the “joie de vivre”.

Secondly, it signifies Moore (and by consequence, as England captain, England) as someone who can get on with anyone from any country. This would be later emphasised by Bobby Moore’s biographer Jeff Powell, who uses quotes from ex-international opponents such as Franz Beckenbauer and Pele after Bobby Moore passed away, in which the latter says of Moore:-

He was my friend as well as the greatest defender I ever played against. The world has lost one of its greatest football players and an honourable gentleman.

(Powell, J (2014). Bobby Moore: The Definitive Biography. 2nd ed. London: Robson Press. p340.)

The iconographic relevance this image still resonates within [British] football culture, as it is used as the dust jacket of David Goldblatt’s opus ‘The Ball is Round’.


In conclusion, 23 years on from Bobby Moore death, his legacy of English mind still seems to be strong to some degree. Whether it is the statue at Wembley that looks down upon the fans, with him dressed in his England kit, the book cover dust jacket of a book or even more recently the Kickstarter funding of a new film BO66Y THE MOVIE – The Bobby Moore documentary, Bobby Moore carries a cultural relevance far beyond his footballing prowess.

*The Bobby Moore Fund can be found here. The Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK was set up by Stephanie Moore MBE, Bobby’s widow, in his memory to fund pioneering, life-saving bowel cancer research.


Ken Jones (1993) Obituary: Bobby Moore, Available at: (Accessed: 5th february 2015).

James Thomas (2002) Diana’s Mourning : A People’s History, 1st edn., Cardiff: University of Wales.

Chas Critcher. (1994). England and the World Cup : World Cup Willies, English Football and the myth of 1966. In: Tomlinson. A and Sugden, J. Host and Champions : Soccer Cultures, National Identities and the USA World Cup. Aldershot: Arena. p.77-92.

Davies, C. (2010). Technological Taxidermy : Recognisable faces in celebrity deaths. Mortality. 15 (2), p.138-152.

Bellshaw, G. (2015). Statue of England’s 1966 World Cup heroes defaced on day of Premier League clash between West Ham and Chelsea Read more: Available: Last accessed 6th Feb 2016.

Harris, P. (2010). Defacing the Cenotaph, urinating on Churchill… how young thugs at student protest broke every taboo Read more:

Santino, J. (2006). Performative Commemoratives : Spontaneous Shrines and the Public Memorialization of Death. In: Santino, J. Spontaneous Shrines and the Public Memorialization of Death. Houndmills: Palgrave. p5-16.

Jeff Powell (2014) Bobby Moore: The Definitive Biography



Garrincha : The demise of the Brazilian golden boy


Pele is the best but Garrincha was better

Old Brazilian Saying


Ask most Brazilians to name a footballing legend and Garrincha (or Manuel Francisco dos Santos to use his full name) will be top of the list. Pele, Carlos Alberto, Jairzinho, Zico, Romario, Ronaldinho, Socrates and Neymar are all excellent contenders, but none can touch the giddy heights (and depths) of Garrincha.

When Artistotle described the tragic hero, he could have been talking about Garrincha:-

The structure of the best tragedy should not be simple but complex and one that represents incidents arousing fear and pity—for that is peculiar to this form of art.

Garrincha was born in Pau Grande. He played first for the local team and then moved to Botafogo  in 1953. His small stature meant he was nicknamed Garrincha, which in Portuguese means wren. Garrincha was a tricky winger who:-

Had several birth defects: his spine was deformed, his right leg bent outwards and his left leg was six centimetres shorter and curved inwards, none of which impeded his ability to play football at the highest level.

A carefree boy, who seemed to have an easy going attitude to football, Garrincha lacked any formal education but was a man who enjoyed life, whether that life was being spent in the company of a woman or with a glass of Cachaça. By 1955 Garrincha had made his debut for Brazil.


By 1958, Garrincha and Pele had been chosen for the squad for the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Brazil had left little to chance in trying to win the World Cup, choosing hotels close to the stadium with minimal temptations for players. Brazil had been entered into what would now, to use modern parlance be called ‘the group of death’ in which the opponents would be Austria (World Cup Quarter finalist in 1954), Russia (one of the favourites for the trophy) and England (a good outside bet). Fortunately, Brazil had luck and a brilliant team. Their luck was twofold. The England team they would face had been decimated by the Munich air disaster in which England and Manchester United would lose Roger Byrne, David Pegg, Duncan Edwards and Tommy Taylor. Russia’s best player, Eduard Streltsov had been arrested for sexual assault.

If Brazil were a good side, it was down to changing their tactics to a 4-2-4 game plan. Jonathan Wilson in the ground-breaking Inverting the Pyramid : The history of Football tactics wrote that losing to Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup, Brazil sought to bolster its defence, to the detriment of its attack, in time for the 1954 World Cup. Garrincha allegedly said:-


Brazil planned to win the World Cup by burying the individual in a general plan. So they went to Europe to play like Europeans….What counted in Brazilian football was the ability of our players to improvise.


The 1958 team is often overlooked, but was certainly one that would surpass the 1970 team that was The Beautiful Team. The team were strong on attack, and had experienced full-backs such as Nilton Santos (Garrincha’ team-mate from Botafogo) on one side, with right back Djalma Santos on the other. Up front they had Vava and Didi.


After defeating Austria 3-0 and drawing 0-0 with England, Brazil would face Russia. Prior to this game neither Pele nor Garrincha had played. Garrincha, a man who loved to play, after the England game asked the team Doctor Hilton Gosling:


Doctor Hilton, wouldn’t it be better to send he home?


Finally, against Russia both were chosen. The psychologist felt neither player was suitable to play, as Pele was felt to be immature, and Garrincha lacking in intelligence. Fortunately, Nilton Santos had led a deputation of players to the Brazilian manager, Vicente Feola to call for Garrincha’s inclusion in the USSR.


Luiz Mendes said of the game:-

The scientific systems of the Soviet Union died a death right there. They put the first man in space, but they couldn’t mark Garrincha.

The match was described by French journalist Gabriel Hanot as ‘the greatest three minutes in the history of football’.


Within forty seconds of the game Garrincha had hit the post, within two minutes Pele had hit the bar. On three minutes they had scored via Vava. Garrincha would constantly perplex the USSR defence, with Brazil running out 2-0 winner. They would win the final 5-2 against Sweden.


By the following World Cup in Chile in 1962, Garrincha was 28, but at the height of his powers. For many people, teams win world cups, but in 1962 Garrincha would virtually win the World Cup on his own (something perhaps done by Diego Maradona in 1986). Garrincha would bamboozle the English in the Quarter-Finals, scoring twice in a 3-1 victory.

In the semi-final, Garrincha would again score two goals against Chile in a 4-2 victory. Garrincha would also be sent off against Chile saying afterwards:-

I had been provoked beyond endurance for most of the game. Near the end, I felt I had to have my own back. Somehow my knee finished in a Chilean player’s stomach.

Fortunately, FIFA looked favourably upon Garrincha, overturning any possible suspension in the final in which Brazil would win 3-1 against Czechoslovakia.

With Garrincha’s physiology, his knee slowly deteriorated. Though he would make a third world cup and play in the 1966 World Cup with Pele, he would play only two games and one with Pele, in a 2-0 over Bulgaria:-

Both players would score a goal each. Both free-kicks. The game and the following two games Brazil would be remembered for the incessant fouling (and lack of protection from the European referee’s) meted out to the Brazilian’s from first Bulgaria, then from Hungary and finally Portugal. Garrincha would play his last International in a 3-1 defeat to Hungary. Garrincha had been capped a total of 50 times, scoring 12 goals and never lost a game whilst playing with Pele in the Brazil squad.

After 1966, his career on the pitch went into a quick decline. At Botafogo he had been on a pittance and spent what money he had on alcohol and friends from Pau Grande.

As his career decline, his drinking increased. Throughout the 1970’s, even with money gained from an international testimonial, Garrincha turned to drink and was often broke. On January 19th, 1983 Garrincha was taken to hospital. By the Following day, he was dead of cirrhosis of the liver.

Even in death, people still tried to take advantage of Garrincha, when his old team Botafogo wanted his body decked in the Club shirt. Many of the family protested until Nilton Santos suggested he be decked in the Brazil shirt.

Much has since been written about him, but Eduardo Galeano said it best, when he wrote of Garrincha:-

When he was out there, the pitch was a circus ring, the ball a tamed animal, the match a party invitation. Garrincha nurtured his pet, the ball, and together they created such mischief that people almost died laughing. He jumped over it, it gambolled around him, hid itself away, skipped off and made him run after it. And on the way, his opponents ran into each other.

The Football Collective Conference

The Football Collective is a recent website, taking a  intellectual outlook towards Football. Anyway the aim of the Football Collective is quite simply:-

We are a network bringing critical debate to our game.

To achieve this The Football Collective has two main aims:

Aim 1: Deliver high quality events that provide a platform for critical and collegiate support, the dissemination and discussion of research findings, the development of research ideas and the enhancement of collaboration across the collective. Watch this space for our first conference in Manchester, December 2016.

Aim 2: To show case best practice and help share academic peer reviewed research in an accessible and understandable format for all. This includes:

  • Share evidenced based commentary on football issues
  • Disseminate peer reviewed research on football
  • Open debate around key issues in related to football

As part of the collective they are having a Conference entitled “Future Football: a design for life”: Conference by The Football Collective at FC United” on 30.11.16 with the proviso of being:-

The conference does not set out to be a mainstream academic conference. But it is about discussing academic research that (i) is being proposed as a potential option for the collective group to understand an existing context or tackle an existing issue (ii) is being planned you intend to  undertake, for feedback on proposed methodological questions, (iii) has been undertaken, to share findings and gain insight and feedback on data analysis, representation, potential journal outputs or (iv) has been published, to share findings and discuss future research needs. Importantly, the conference aims to help generate a collective critical mass to support the academic study of football.

The event will include Keynote Panel Discussion – Chair: Dr Peter Millward

Owen Gibson,  chief sports correspondent at the Guardian

Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Home Secretary

Andrew Jennings, Investigative journalist.

Anyway, if your interested in a more academic (and certainly very interesting) event, I would seriously look into it. Plus, its not based in London, but Manchester.

Anyway, if interested in the football collective or the conference, I would check this out and contact Dr Dan Parnell or Dr Paul Widdop who are exceeding helpful people.

See you in Manchester [exams permitting].


Sir Stanley Rous : South America and Commerce



‘The struggle was between a decent man [Sir Stanley Rous] who has served football loyally and been rewarded by just being there, and a slippery one [Joao Havelange] who has no illusions about the true nature of the world and coveted glory for himself.’

Keith Botsford, Sunday Times, 16 July 1974 via Pitch Invasion. After Rous had lost the FIFA Presidential election in 1974 to Havelange.

Rous would also fail to see how Eurocentric FIFA was in the selection of predominantly European teams and officials, thereby offending the South Americans. His inability to see the changing tide in society and his own parochial worldview meant that Rous was an anachronism in a modern world, which is something Havelange could not be accused of.

Africa would not be the only continent upset by the 1966 World Cup. Again, this would be due to the Eurocentric approach FIFA (and Rous as President must share some blame). With 25 of the 32 officials hailing  from Europe, the feeling was it was Europe’s to lose.

Antonio Rattin, the Argentinian Captain of 1966 who was sent off against England in the quarter-final had been exceedingly critical of the referee in that game, sayingIt was clear that the referee played [the match] with an England shirt on.’  

At a meeting at the Royal Gardens Hotel in Kensington, Sir Stanley Rous and five other European FIFA delegates decided upon a German referee, Rudolf Kreitlein, to officiate England v Argentina at Wembley, and an English referee, Jim Finney, for West Germany v Uruguay at Hillsborough [Finney would send off 2 Uruguayan players]. Smelling more conspiracy theories than the daily express on a slow news day, the South Americans cried foul. ‘This is most unusual,’ said La Razon [an Argentine newspaper], ‘it should have been done by lottery.’The Quarter-finals between Uruguay and Argentina has caused consternation from the South American countries, when:-

The defeats would cause rancour in South America, especially after Pele had been literally kicked out of the tournament by both Bulgarian and Portuguese players. This mistreatment made FIFA seems that it was against both South America and fair play, leaving one Argentine representative to say:-

Why were Argentina being singled out?….Why were they being made scapegoats? Other teams had been just as bad, if not worse. What about the Bulgarians against Brazil – they had kicked Pelé out of the match. Albrecht’s foul was nothing intentional, just an accident, the two players collided while going for the ball.

Joao Havelange was a Brazilian, swimming for Brazil in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and also as a water polo player at the Helsinki Olympics. He then became a very successful businessman, with major interests in insurance and transport, and he was in charge of Brazilian Soccer when it won three World Cups from 1958-1970.

Rous had felt confident in being re-elected in 1974; unfortunately for him, Asia and Africa  wanted the World Cup expanded, with Sugden and Tomlinson saying of the election:-

The Third World countries were restless. They wanted Eurocentric soccer to give them some respect. They hadn’t the resources to fight their own battle,so the challenge was led by the cosmopolitan Havelange from the Second World. As  he traded in the rhetoric of anti-imperialism, few noticed at the time that Havelange was backed by tough capitalists in Europe and America.

The Africans – with 37 out of 122 votes – held the chance of power in 1974. They wanted a bigger World Cup, more facilities, more coaching and leadership that would slam the door in apartheid’s face.

The South American contingent had also become dissatisfied with Europe, especially as all but three of the nine World Cup Finals prior to 1974 had been held in Europe. Argentina in particular was pushing to host the 1978 World Cup finals. In 1969 Rous had been warned by his General secretary, Helmut Kaiser that:-

The South American federation wished to change completely the administration at the end of a presidential term of office:’There will be no continuity in administrative business…Possibly this is the South American way of thinking. He added: ‘As usual South America is pretending that FIFA is giving preference to European referees and that South American referees are neglected.’

Unfortunately, Rous was not a modern man and the changing tide the future of the World Cup was given to Mexico to host the 1970 in Tokyo in 1964, Glanville wrote :-

The displeasing machinations in Tokyo—one delegate admitted that his fare had been paid by an aspirant World Cup host—the whisperings in hotel corners and corridors, prompted Sir Stanley Rous to cry ‘Enough!’ Mexico, as it was, prevailed by fifty-six votes to thirty-two [to Argentina], with seven abstentions, but he, and others, wanted no more of such gerrymandering.

Rous was certainly not as politic in his treatment of Africa, Asia or the Americas. For all Havelange many faults (the bribery and corruption that Tomlinson, Sugden and Andrew Jennings have written about underline this categorically), he did see the commercial advantages of football and in expanding the number of teams competing in the World Cup  from 16 to 24 (the format was extended in the 1982 World Cup).

He also saw the need to extend the representation of Asia, Africa and Americas. He gave the first World Cup to North America, helping to grow the market. Havelange saw the importance of sponsorship from multi-national companies to improve the finances of FIFA and its member states. Havelange did see that football as a commercial entity was growing. Havelange was a man of the age. A man who looked at market share rather than the spirit of the game. Rous, amenable and everything else was a man of the past. A man willing to support apartheid South Africa, but not extend Africa a place in the finals until 1970. A man who made enemies from his future electorate by making the referees predominantly European in 1966 (annoying the South Americans).

Rous was a man of the past. Sadly and perhaps correctly, Rous will be remembered in the way Tomlinson & Sugden described him, as a Colonel Blimp character. A character described as ‘pompous, irascible, jingoistic and stereotypically British.’ In many ways that is a simplification of a man who, coming from an amateur background in football, and having been brought up with empire, was constitutionally unable to take FIFA forward. Whether Havelange did better  after 1974 is open to question, but he certainly did change FIFA commercially.


Birkbeck talk a pretty good success

Having recently been asked [well, I asked actually] to talk at Birkbeck Sportbusiness Centre, I attended the said event, introducing a Prezi presentation discussing 1966 AND ALL THAT: A CULTURAL & SOCIAL REFLECTION ON ENGLAND’S WORLD CUP VICTORY for 30 minutes, a discussion of 60 minutes proceeded looking at the reasons for our celebration, race, gender and Brexit amongst other things.

The talk was well received, even though I was nervous. The Prezi presentation can be found here for those interested.

Tomorrow, will be the symposium at Senate House Library entitled  More Than Just A Game: the Legacy of the 1966 Football World Cup with a few tickets left.

One Star Wonders. The decline of the England team.



That fatal game.

David Downing describing the 1966 World Cup final in The Best of Enemies: England v Germany

It seems ironic that English Football’s finest achievement has seem to be more a curse, if one goes by David Downing’ quote above. Since 1966, England have reached two Semi-finals in the World Cup (1990) and European Championship (1996). Losing both to Germany on penalties. No wonder when Skinner and Baddiel sang about England, it was to reflect on that day in July 1966 singing:-


So many jokes, so many sneers

But all those oh-so-nears

Wear you down

Through the years

But I still see that tackle by Moore

And when Lineker scored

Bobby belting the ball

And Nobby Dancing


West Germany and later Germany, what have they done in that period? Well, in a period in which 25 major trophies have been played (World Cup and European Championship), they have appeared in 12 finals and won 6 of them. So, where did it all go wrong for England?

In the 1960’s England, with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones leading a resurgent English Music scene, films such as Billy Liar, Darling, Alfie and Far from The Madding Crowd providing England (or Great Britain) with a changing look at society that seemed sweeping the nations (allegedly open promiscuity, class line’s crumbling and a more open society). Carnaby Street was becoming the hub of contemporary fashion, with shops by such fashion luminaries as Mary Quant and Sally Tuffin having shops there, while the waif like models such as Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy would be the face of the era. England sat proudly as the best team in the World by defeating Argentina, Portugal and Germany on the way.

From winning the World Cup, to 8 years later being unable to even qualify for the competition (ironically, in West Germany), falling to Poland. In this post I would like to take a look at the English decline as a footballing nation, but also the impact of the changing nature of England after 1966.

Denis Law, Scottish International said of England’s victory some years later:-

Although England’s victory in the World Cup final was obviously a great achievement which at the time gave the game a badly needed boost, I think that in the long run it was a bad thing for British football. It was the beginning of the end of football as we knew it.
As England basked in its victory of 1966, much was made of the victory. Politically, the Victory left the Prime Minister to say on the evening of the banquet:-

Have you ever noticed how we only win the World Cup under a Labour government?

To underline the changing attitude football towards football, with Bobby Moore receiving an OBE in the Queen’s Honours list in 1967, seemed to indicate a reappraisal of football, a sport seen as more working class based, than cricket (by 1966 4 test cricketers had been Knighted to One footballer). Harold Wilson looked at a society where the working class had an equal opportunity of sharing in society wealth (both financial and social), saying:-

Everybody should have an equal chance – but they shouldn’t have a flying start.

In handing out an OBE to footballers (predominantly a working class sport, played by working class people), Wilson was trying to create an inclusive society. Previously, if sports men were recognised in the honours list it was usually the bastions of the upper class sports that were recognised such as cricket and horse racing (Stanley Matthews being the earliest footballer recognised for services to football in 1965, when he was knighted under the Labour Government). A change in outlook towards football had seemed to be taking part socially and politically, in that it was being accepted by the establishment. Or so it seemed.

Ironically, it seems only lip service seemed to be played to football and especially the National football team. Two examples of this will underline this. Firstly, although football has risen it awareness, Wembley would still be used for the horse of the year show. In 1969 and 1970, two major cup finals would be played only days after the horse of the year had taken place at Wembley. Arsenal would play Swindon in the League Cup final in 1969, a team two Divisions below them and lose. Arsenal hardman Peter Storey said of the pitch was a ‘treacherous surface of mud and sand.’ The following year, just prior to the 1970 World Cup, Chelsea and Leeds would play the FA Cup final at Wembley, prior to the 1970 World Cup. Having ended in a 2-2 draw, the FA decided to play the replay at Old Trafford in Manchester. It seemed that players were still seen as mere serfs to the league and their bosses, as the cut up pitches could cause injury. But the Horse of the Year event was prestigious and often attended by members of the Royal family.

Also, Sir Alf Ramsey found it difficult for clubs to release players for international friendlies to improve and adapt his squad. As Arsenal would not have to qualify for a World Cup in 1970, Sir Alf found it difficult to obtain players. Two clear examples of this are clear. Arsenal players, Peter Storey and Bob McNab were told by their manager, Bertie Mee they could not play in a 1971 game against Greece mid week as they had a game Saturday. Both ignored there club manager and played for England. Also, preparation for major international games meant that no precedent was given to the international team. England centre half Roy McFarland said of the Poland game in October 1973 [in which England would fail to qualify for the 1974 World Cup] :-

Alf had talked about the need for the time for preparation and people laughed at him, they thought it wasn’t necessary. As much as we invented football, it’s the rest of the world that does things that are more professional. The German’s and the Italian’s left clear weekends before big games, but it took us another 15 to 20 years [to do the same].

In conclusion, it seems that 1966 would be a pinnacle for English national team. Obviously, we had the advantage of playing at home then, but England seemed almost arrogant in their attitude to how the game was played, when England manager, Sir Alf Ramsey said in the 1970 World Cup ‘we have nothing to learn from the Brazilians’ underlined this point. Another problem was that League Football rather than national team took precedent with FA. As mentioned previously, Sir Alf struggled to get his players before games. Europe had seen the need for national teams to have time to train together and their League size were predominantly 18 teams whilst England was 22 and had an extra cup in the League Cup, creating more games (and more injuries). These seem two major factors in the demise of the England team. A team that never seems to be able to quite catch up with the other teams.