BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Special Events: 2000: Wembley  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

  Sunday, 1 October, 2000, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
Ken Wolstenholme
England win the 1966 World Cup
England's and Wolstenholme's most famous moment
BBC Sport Online's Mike Burnett chats to commentator Ken Wolstenholme about his lifelong love affair with Wembley.

'They think it's all over... it is now!'

Ken Wolstenholme could never have predicted that the words uttered in the dying minutes of the 1966 World Cup would become part of footballing folklore.

However the legendary commentator's tie to Wembley runs deeper than the greatest moment in England's sporting history.

"I had a feeling at one time that I should give Wembley as my home address," says the man who has spent a career commentating from its hallowed turf.

Wolstenholme had grown up hearing all about the great stadium from his father who had attended the famous 'White Horse' Cup Final between Bolton and West Ham in 1923.

But it was not until 1947 that he got his first taste of Wembley, watching England play Scotland, culminating in a 1-1 draw.


I had a feeling at one time that I should give Wembley as my home address
Ken Wolstenholme

"I stood behind one goal, no cover of course in those days, and I thought it was fascinating. It looked marvellous in those days."

A year later, Wolstenholme was to return there as a correspondent for BBC Manchester to watch the 1948 Olympic games.

The Games, which boasted a then record 59 countries, had its memorable moments including the amazing Dutch athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen.

Nicknamed the 'flying-housewife', the mother-of-two won four gold medals, but could have won more if she had been able to compete in the high jump and long jump.

However, Wolstenholme will never forget the sprinter who tore his hamstring only moments away from the finish line and a much coveted Olympic gold.

Alice Coachman
Coachman takes Olympic gold in 1948

Nor will he forget the epic battle in the Women's High Jump that saw Britain's Dorothy Tyler match American Alice Coachman jump for jump, height for height until a late fault left her with silver.

Alice Coachman's victory also went into the history books as the first time a black woman from any country had won a gold in the Olympics and she returned to the States as a hero.

"Dorothy Tyler is a great outstanding memory of watching the Games at Wembley in 1948," said Wolstenholme.

For those lucky enough to witness it, it was a glorious games and England held their own as hosts.

Indeed it still baffles Wolstenholme why Wembley was only privy to one Olympic Games.

"If we hadn't picked it up, it would have gone to Finland who were still occupied by the Russians," remembers the commentator.

"So Wembley saved the Olympic movement and ever since then they've just turned us down."


Wembley saved the Olympic movement and ever since then they've just turned us down
Ken Wolstenholme

Many often forget the range of sporting events Wembley has hosted over the years.

As well as all the football spectacles, Wolstenholme has seen events such as speedway, show-jumping, and boxing.

"I've seen show-jumping when the pitch was nearly ruined beyond repair."

"And I was there when our Henry Cooper knocked Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) down and should have won the fight."

But of course it is football that sticks most in Wolstenholme's mind.

One such occasion was when England lost for the first time to a foreign nation at home.

"I remember that foggy November afternoon when we were slaughtered by the Hungarians."

England lost that game 6-3 and did not improve when they played the away leg and crashed to a 7-1 defeat.

Wolstenholme was also there for numerous FA Cup finals, though he insists they were mostly disappointing affairs.

However, he did witness the Blackpool beat Bolton 4-3 in 1953's famous "Matthews Final", named after the great player Stanley Matthews.


I remember that foggy November afternoon when we were slaughtered by the Hungarians
Ken Wolstenholme

Blackpool's come-back from 3-1 down to win the trophy proved a tough challenge for Wolstenholme's commentating skills.

"It was one of the most difficult commentaries I've done in my life," says the broadcaster.

But it was in the 1966 World Cup final between England and Germany that he uttered the immortal words that would earn him a place in the commentators hall of fame.

Now they seem so poignant as England's Geoff Hurst let rip to make it 4-2 just before the final whistle.

But the commentator claims to have had no idea at the time of the importance of what he was saying and explains it as a simple observation.

"I saw some people on the pitch and the referee put the whistle to his mouth and I said 'I think it's all over..."

For Wembley as Wolstenholme knows it, it is now.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Ken Wolstenholme talks to BBC Sport Online
"Alf Ramsey knew we were going to win it"
Ken Wolstenholme talks to BBC Sport Online
"There was only one thing to say when Geoff Hurst hit it"
See also:

01 Oct 00 | Wembley
01 Oct 00 | Wembley
Internet links:


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

Links to more Wembley stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Wembley stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales