Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Friday, April 30, 1999 Published at 18:32 GMT 19:32 UK


Sir Alf Ramsey: World Cup victor

His moment of glory: holding the Jules Rimet trophy

When he took the job of England's manager in 1963, Alf Ramsey predicted that England would win the next World Cup.

The BBC's Kevin Gearey looks back at Sir Alf Ramsey's career
On a glorious July day three years later, his prediction came true and Ramsey claimed a permanent place in English football history.

Born in Dagenham, Essex, in 1920, the son of a smallholder, Alf Ramsey was a promising footballer at school, and later played for his army regiment during World War II.

[ image:
"The General" captained England three times
He was signed as an amateur by Southampton in 1943 and turned professional a year later.

In 1949 he moved to Tottenham Hotspur. His arrival at White Hart Lane marked the beginning of successful period for Spurs.

He played at right-back in more than 250 cup and league games, and until late in 1953 was an automatic choice for England, captaining the national side three times.

As a player, Ramsey's coolness, his capacity for critical analysis combined with decisive action, won him the nickname "The General".

[ image: Winning the championship as Ipswich manager]
Winning the championship as Ipswich manager
He brought these qualities to management when he joined Ipswich Town in 1955. Despite operating on a shoestring budget, within seven years he brought his team up from the old Third Division South to Football League champions.

This feat earned Ramsey a new job, as manager of England.

After meticulous planning and preparation, Ramsey took his "wingless wonders" to the World Cup Final at Wembley on 30 July 1966.

[ image: Geoff Hurst clinches the World Cup]
Geoff Hurst clinches the World Cup
His team beat West Germany 4-2 in extra time to lift the Jules Rimet trophy for the first - and only - time. The calm on his face was one of the unforgettable moments.

He himself confessed afterwards that he did not remember feeling any emotion at all. He said he was too busy watching and noting every movement to feel tense or excited.

He was knighted in 1970.

[ image: Ramsey blamed for 1970 World Cup defeat]
Ramsey blamed for 1970 World Cup defeat
Four years later, the World Cup final beckoned again as England led a quarter-final against West Germany 2-0 with 20 minutes remaining. But they lost and Sir Alf came in for sustained criticism for his cautious tactics.

Then, at Wembley in October 1973, England could only draw with 1-1 with Poland which meant that they had failed to qualify for the World Cup finals. Later that season, Sir Alf was sacked.

[ image: Poland's goal at Wembley in 1973 seals Ramsey's fate]
Poland's goal at Wembley in 1973 seals Ramsey's fate
A brief spell as a caretaker manager with Birmingham City followed and in 1979 he became technical adviser to the Greek club Panathinaikos. He was dismissed the following year after a series of bad results.

A quiet retirement followed. He remained a regular visitor to Wembley for major occasions and in 1991 he was reunited with some of his World Cup-winning team before the FA Cup Final.

But Sir Alf Ramsey will always be associated with one summer's day in 1966 when his England were on top of the world.

You can send your tributes and memories using the form below


Your E-mail Address:

Town, Country:

Your comment:

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Internet Links

England soccer stars

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online