As sporting anniversaries go, it’s up there. England’s as yet only FIFA World Cup final victory – 1966, and all that.
July 30th. A date etched in history. Nobby Stiles’ toothy grin. The imperious Bobby Charlton, with brother Jack. Tears of joy, of relief. The immaculate Bobby Moore brushing off the mud prior to shaking hands with her late Majesty, as the Jules Rimet trophy was handed to England’s iconic young skipper.
In terms of ‘where it started, how’s it going’ it was a very big few weeks for Fred and Peter Done, too. Brothers who were planning their future ..
Take a look at this revealing little clip for a flavour of mid-sixties Salford, where helping hands and family values were key in founding what’s become one of the world’s great independent bookmaking concerns. Global interests. Huge, prestigious sponsorships. A love affair with the world of sport that endures to this day.
So Fred’s inspired bet really was the catalyst for all that’s followed. £200 on England to win the World Cup in 1966, at odds of 8/1. If life’s full of turning points and ‘sliding doors’ moments, this was surely one.
England’s manager Alf Ramsey had famously declared in advance of the tournament that England would win the World Cup, on home soil. To be fair they had the building blocks in place, apart from the undeniable home advantage factor.
The team’s ‘spine’ contained our three genuine, world-class talents; goalkeeper Gordon Banks, who would arguably become even more revered at the competition in Mexico four years later; captain Bobby Moore, unhurried, unflappable, inspiring; and Ashington’s Bobby Charlton, elegant, gifted, deadly with either foot.
Any number of quality, dependable squad players complemented these giants, and one or two got ‘hot’ which is something else you need to win the thing – see files marked Geoff Hurst and Alan Ball.
For brothers Fred, and Peter, it was the gamble of their lives and it paid off. There was a fair bit more to it than that, as Fred explains, but the pride we all still feel in that famous victory resonates even more keenly with those two ambitious Salford lads.