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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 December, 2003, 21:59 GMT
England football heroes honoured
Bobby Moore parades the Jules Rimet trophy in 1966
Captain Bobby Moore parades the Jules Rimet trophy at Wembley
England's 1966 World Cup winners have been named the Golden Team at the BBC Sports Personality awards.

Sir Alf Ramsey's squad won a poll of former team award winners in the 50th anniversary show.

Many of the heroes of the 4-2 victory over West Germany gathered to accept the award, including hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst.

Hurst, along with his fellow '66 winners, wrote his name in English folklore following the famous win.

Sir Bobby Charlton, who received the special award on behalf of the late Bobby Moore's team, from Sir Bobby Robson, paid tribute to Clive Woodward's England Rugby World Cup heroes.

"It was marvellous for the whole country and we're delighted they did it," he said.

The meeting brought together Ben Cohen, England's wing three-quarter and his Uncle George, right-back in Sir Alf Ramsey's victorious side 37 years ago.

"Ben was always a big boy. He just like catching the ball and if you have that sort of talent you just go with it," said George who was in Sydney's Telstra stadium to watch England beat Australia 20-17 in last month's final.

But whereas 83,500 were there to cheer on the rugby giants, 93,000, and millions more on television, watched England's 1966 heroes triumph at Wembley.

But in the final moments of normal time when Germany pegged back England, World Cup glory seemed a million miles away.

Ramsay famously said to his team: "All right. You let it slip. Now start again." They duly delivered.

Hurst gave the hosts a crucial lead before powering home a third, and England's fourth, deep in stoppage time.

It is a moment etched in the memory of all English football fans, as are the words of BBC commentator Ken Wolstenholme: "Some of the crowd are on the pitch, they think it's all over. It is now."

However, it was anything but a one-man show and all the team have since been honoured for their part in the country's most famous sporting victory.

Gordon Banks, Ray Wilson, George Cohen, Jack Charlton, Bobby Moore, Nobby Stiles, Alan Ball, Martin Peters, Roger Hunt, Bobby Charlton & Geoff Hurst
Ramsay, who died in 1999, was knighted in 1967, a decoration that was bestowed on Hurst and Bobby Charlton in the 1990s.

But for his death from cancer in 1993, iconic captain Bobby Moore would undoubtedly have joined that triumvirate as a knight.

Moore's defensive partner Jack Charlton, goalkeeper Gordon Banks and goalscorer Martin Peters were all honoured in the 1970s.

The final five members of the team received MBEs in the 2000 New Years Honours List.

The BBC's Golden Team award comes in the same week that England's most recent World Cup winners, Martin Johnson's rugby heroes, were feted in Trafalgar Square.

Similarities between the two World Cup-winning teams are uncanny.

They are linked in personnel by the Cohen family, footballing full-back George and his rugby playing nephew Ben bridging the years.

And on the pitch each team let slip advantage in the last minute of normal time before winning the game in the dramatic closing stages. But there they stop.

When Moore et al won football's greatest prize 37 years ago, national celebrations were far more muted.

The 1966 winners interrupted their evening with a brief appearance on the balcony of their west London hotel.

Johnson's team will also benefit in monetary terms in a league far removed from the 1966 team.

While each member of Clive Woodward's 2003 World Cup winners will receive a win bonus of 71,000, many of the 1966 team were forced to auction memorabilia.

Moore's shirt went for 44,000, Hurst's raised 80,000, while Banks sold his World Cup winners medal for 124,750.

But their victory, from a bygone sporting era, will rightly remain the benchmark for all English national teams, and is worth its weight in gold.


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