Geoff Hurst Reflects on ‘Great Sadness’ as the Last Survivor of England’s 1966 World Cup Team

Geoff Hurst Reflects on ‘Great Sadness’ as the Last Survivor of England’s 1966 World Cup Team

Geoff Hurst, the legendary English footballer and the last surviving member of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team, recently shared his profound sadness and cherished memories of his teammates.

At 82, Hurst is now the sole living member of the historic squad that secured England’s only major international football trophy by defeating West Germany 4-2 at Wembley Stadium.

The Passing of Sir Bobby Charlton

The death of Sir Bobby Charlton in October 2023, at the age of 86, marked the end of an era for Hurst.

Charlton’s passing followed a battle with dementia, leaving Hurst to reflect on the deep bonds he shared with his former teammates.

“I spent so much time with those players, not just playing but also during many golf days afterwards for many, many years,” Hurst said. He expressed his sorrow, noting that he is now the last of his kind from that golden era of English football.

Memories of Friendship and Competition

Hurst fondly remembered the camaraderie and competition that characterized his relationships with his teammates.

He recounted playing golf with Sir Bobby Charlton and others, sharing how these interactions extended beyond the football pitch.

“It’s extremely sad. They’ve all gone. I’m still not the oldest yet. I’ve still got a bit to go,” Hurst said, reflecting on the passage of time and the loss of his friends.

Charlton’s Final Years

Hurst’s memories of Charlton are tinged with nostalgia and sadness.

He revealed that he hadn’t seen much of Charlton after their golf days ended, becoming aware of his declining health when seeing him at Manchester United games.

Diagnosed with dementia in 2020, Charlton largely withdrew from public life. Hurst described him as “unbelievable” and one of England’s greatest players, noting the void left by his absence.

The Legacy of the 1966 Team

The 1966 World Cup team has seen many of its members pass away in recent years. Ray Wilson, Gordon Banks, Martin Peters, Jack Charlton, and Nobby Stiles are among those who have died, leaving Hurst to reminisce about the times they shared.

“To go through what we did together… They were a great bunch of lads and a great bunch of players,” Hurst said.

He acknowledged the inevitability of aging, remarking, “It’s no fun getting old. There’s an element of lottery about it. About how long you’ve got and what you might get.”

Changes in Football and Hurst’s Views

Reflecting on the changes in football since his playing days, Hurst noted that the game has evolved significantly. “The only thing that is the same is the goalposts,” he said.

As an ambassador for AbilityNet, a charity supported by BT Group that helps older people with technology, Hurst continues to stay connected to the sport.

However, he expressed his discontent with certain aspects of modern football, such as VAR (Video Assistant Referee) and the prevalence of diving and feigning injuries. “I find that absolutely disgraceful,” he stated.

Hopes for England’s Future

Despite the sadness of looking back, Hurst remains hopeful for the future of English football. He expressed his desire to see Gareth Southgate’s current squad achieve success, particularly in the upcoming European Championship.

Hurst believes that the current team is one of the best England has had since 1966. “I am extremely hopeful we could win it.

That would be fantastic,” he said, longing to witness another major triumph in his lifetime.

Conclusion: A Legacy Remembered

Geoff Hurst’s reflections offer a poignant glimpse into the legacy of England’s 1966 World Cup team.

As the last surviving member, Hurst carries the memories of his teammates with a mix of pride and sorrow.

His hopes for the future of English football serve as a testament to the enduring spirit of the game and the lasting impact of the 1966 team’s historic victory.

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