Here's what it was like to be in the crowd at the 1966 World Cup final


As the 50th anniversary of England's World Cup triumph nears, we speak to someone who was lucky enough to be there.

Peter Woodman was 16 and had just broken up from school for the summer holidays when he learned he would be going to the 1966 World Cup final.

And not only did Peter have a ticket, but his father, brother and aunt did too.

"We couldn't believe it," he said. "It was just absolutely fantastic. The whole country was desperate to go.

England fans watch the World Cup final

"My brother Richard, who would have been 19, he'd bought a season ticket that offered the chance to go to all six England games so he was going anyway.

"My uncle was a bookie and he could get tickets for the most amazing things. Somehow he managed to wangle three more tickets.

"My brother was standing behind one goal, I was at the other end standing. My uncle couldn't go because he was working so my aunt went with my father and they sat together up in the stand.

"I think we got there about two hours before kick-off and it was tremendously exciting. I'd watched all the other games on the telly. The Germans mingled quite freely with the England fans down our end and it was all quite jovial.

"Loads of people were wearing jackets and ties. I think I was quite smartly dressed. My father always used to insist we dressed up when we went to football.

England fans at the 1966 World Cup final

"We didn't even know who was going to be playing. I was a big Spurs fan and we all hoped Jimmy Greaves was going to play. I was a bit disappointed but you just got behind them."

Despite being 50 years ago, Woodman can recall the match in great detail.

He said: "It wasn't that great a game. Obviously it was fantastically exciting because of the occasion but both sides cancelled each other out."

After early goals from Helmut Haller and Geoff Hurst, it was not until the 78th minute that the deadlock was broken.

"England got a corner that wasn't properly cleared," said Woodman, a retired journalist.

Martin Peters celebrates scoring for England

"I think one of the England guys got a shot in and the ball shot up into the air. This was down the other end and I could see the ball looping towards the German goal and Martin Peters was the first on to it and he smashed it in.

"We thought that was it, winning goal. He wheeled away in triumph and the place completely erupted. There was a tremendous atmosphere.

"England had a great chance after that, they broke away three against one and that should really have wrapped it up but they wasted the opportunity.

"Then of course, the inevitable. A minute to go, Jack Charlton is penalised for a foul just outside the penalty area and I think everybody down my end thought, 'oh no, here we go, they're going to bloody score here'.

"The ball was hammered in and it was blocked. It bounced up, there was a shout for handball, and I thought, 'oh God, just get it clear'. The ball ran along the six-yard area and Wolfgang Weber got it and put it in.

Wolfgang Weber celebrates scoring for West Germany
(S&G and Barratts/EMPICS)

"We were absolutely devastated. I thought, 'I can't go through all this again', because then it was extra-time.

"I was down the end with the Geoff Hurst shot but honestly you couldn't tell whether it was in or not. But Roger Hunt wheeled away, he was convinced it was in.

"Then they gave it, and I was really pleased but I thought, 'oh God, we're going to have to go through all this agony again'. The Germans kept coming forward but Alan Ball was tremendous in extra-time, he just kept running.

"The final minutes were amazing. Bobby Moore got the ball, chested it down in the penalty area and then started wandering out of the penalty area with the ball.

"We were screaming, 'Just get rid of it'. We knew it was very close to the end. But Moore was still playing football and he'd spotted Hurst. He put him away with a fantastic pass and of course Hurst went on and smashed it in.

Geoff Hurst celebrates scoring for England

"We all went absolutely crazy and, I don't know how we knew this, but we knew the goal stood and that the referee had blown for full-time.

"It was just fantastic. I hardly slept for about a week properly. I was just replaying it all in my sleep. When I woke up I used to have to keep pinching myself that we were the world champions.

"When I came out of the ground, my ears were ringing, and that's only happened a couple of times. It had been so loud.

"I went down Wembley Way and I got back to Ruislip station and I met my brother on the platform. We'd ended up coming back together.

"We were counting through the minutes for the rest of the evening until the highlights came on because we wanted to see it all again."