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Remembering the World Cup 1966 – the Merseyside connection

18 June 2018 by Kay

 The cover of a visitor guide to Liverpool for football fans at the World Cup 1966

A visitor guide to Liverpool for football fans at the World Cup 1966

1966 was a good year for football on Merseyside….oh, and for England too!  When the World Cup was held in this country in July that year, Liverpool had just won the League and Everton the FA Cup.

In the museum’s collections we have a number of items which relate to World Cup matches played at Goodison Park, including match tickets, a visitor guide to the city for fans, an invite and menu from a special luncheon given by The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Liverpool on the occasion of the semi-final of the World Cup at the Town Hall, Liverpool City Transport tickets for overseas visitors and spectator notices.

Tickets from the five games held at Goodison Park were recently kindly donated by Jack Mulvey, an Everton fan. He tells us more – “It was with great anticipation that I queued at Goodison to purchase my tickets. Although I was a regular at the Gwladys St. end the demand for tickets was so great that I could only purchase one. All the other four were for the Park end; three group games and one Quarter Final. Every game cost the same price 7/6d (37.5pence in today’s money).

To add even more excitement, Brazil, the reigning world champions were to play all three group games at Goodison. I remember that it was also announced that England would play the semi-final at Goodison if they got through. Everybody felt cheated when they did get to the semi-final but mysteriously they ended playing at Wembley where they had played all their games.

The first game was held on a Tuesday night, Brazil v Bulgaria. At the time I lived in Huyton so I got the 9C bus to Old Swan and then the Football Special to the ground. I remember bumping into a friend from junior school, Kenny Pearson at the bus stop so we ended up going together. The Brazil team included Pele, rated the best player in the world, if not of all time. Brazil won the game 2-0, with Garrincha scoring from a free kick at the Park end. It was the first time I had ever seen anybody bend a ball around the wall into the top corner of the goal (this was in the days of the old heavy ball as well, not like today’s ones.)

The second game was held on a Friday night, Brazil v Hungary. It was a wonderful game. It finished 3-1 to Hungary which was a shock result, although the Hungarians did receive some criticism for their treatment of Pele. I remember a letter being published in the Echo thanking the crowd for the support they received.

The last group game was Brazil v Portugal. This was a game Brazil had to win to go through and they made several changes to the team, with Pele playing (though not fully fit). The Portuguese team included the wonderful Eusebio. Pele received some very rough treatment early on and went off injured. He came back on but was promptly kicked again and left the field for good. Portugal was too strong and ran out winners 3-1 with Eusebio scoring 2 goals.

Quarter Final Ticket to Goodison Park, World Cup 1966

Quarter Final Ticket to Goodison Park, World Cup 1966

The quarter-final was held on a Saturday afternoon, 3.00pm kick-off between Portugal and North Korea who had sensationally beaten Italy to get through. North Korea raced into a 3-0 lead within the first 20 minutes but once Portugal scored their first goal you felt they would go on to win 5-3 with Eusebio scoring 4 goals. I can still remember North Korea’s best player, Pak Do Ik. The semi-final was held on the following Monday night between Russia and West Germany. The German team included a young Franz Beckenbauer, Uwe Seeler the centre-forward, plus Haller, Schnellinger and Overath. Yashin made a mistake for the second German goal allowing Beckenbauer’s shot to go in by the post when he thought it was going wide. The Russians scored a late goal but West Germany ran out winners 2-1 to go through and play England in the final. And we all know how that ended!”

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