George Cohen remembered - what became of England's 1966 World Cup heroes?

ENGLAND World Cup winner George Cohen died earlier today – leaving just two surviving members of the the 1966 team that lifted the Jules Rimet Cup at Wembley Stadium back in 1966.

The class of 1966 still remain the only England men’s side to lift a trophy at a major tournament.

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George Cohen dies: World Cup-winning vice-captain and England's best right-back,...

Here, we run the rule over how England’s men followed up on that World Cup win, with Sir Geoff Hurst and Sir Bobby Charlton now the only surviving members of the side from the final.

WE COULD BE HEROES: England's George Cohen, Gordon Banks and Ian Callaghan walk out before the match. Former England and Fulham defender George Cohen has died aged 83. Picture: PA Photos/PA WireWE COULD BE HEROES: England's George Cohen, Gordon Banks and Ian Callaghan walk out before the match. Former England and Fulham defender George Cohen has died aged 83. Picture: PA Photos/PA Wire
WE COULD BE HEROES: England's George Cohen, Gordon Banks and Ian Callaghan walk out before the match. Former England and Fulham defender George Cohen has died aged 83. Picture: PA Photos/PA Wire
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Gordon Banks: Goalkeeper Banks won 73 England caps and made 628 club appearances in a 15-year career, winning the League Cup with both Leicester and Stoke. Banks is also remembered for his stunning save from Pele’s header in England’s 1970 World Cup clash with Brazil.

After helping Stoke to the 1972 League Cup, Banks lost the sight in one eye in a car crash in October later that same year, which ultimately ended his professional career. He had a brief managerial stint with Telford. In 2016, Banks revealed he was battling kidney cancer for the second time. Banks, who had been Stoke president since 2000, died aged 81 in February 2019.

George Cohen: Fulham defender Cohen was forced to retire through injury aged 29, having amassed 459 appearances for the Craven Cottage club. Cohen struggled with bowel cancer for 14 years in the 1980s.

He later opted to sell his World Cup winner’s medal, although Fulham purchased the item to display at Craven Cottage. Nephew Ben Cohen helped England win the Rugby World Cup in 2003. Awarded the MBE in 2000, Cohen’s death was announced by Fulham on Friday.

MAGICAL MOMENT: England's soccer team captain Bobby Moore, is carried shoulder high by his teammates holding World Cup at the Wembley Stadium in London, July 30, 1966. From left to right, goalkeeper Gordon Banks, Alan Ball, Roger Hunt, Geoff Hurst, Moore, Ray Wilson, George Cohen and Bobby Charlton. Picture: AP Photo/Bippa, FileMAGICAL MOMENT: England's soccer team captain Bobby Moore, is carried shoulder high by his teammates holding World Cup at the Wembley Stadium in London, July 30, 1966. From left to right, goalkeeper Gordon Banks, Alan Ball, Roger Hunt, Geoff Hurst, Moore, Ray Wilson, George Cohen and Bobby Charlton. Picture: AP Photo/Bippa, File
MAGICAL MOMENT: England's soccer team captain Bobby Moore, is carried shoulder high by his teammates holding World Cup at the Wembley Stadium in London, July 30, 1966. From left to right, goalkeeper Gordon Banks, Alan Ball, Roger Hunt, Geoff Hurst, Moore, Ray Wilson, George Cohen and Bobby Charlton. Picture: AP Photo/Bippa, File
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Jack Charlton: The elder of the Charlton brothers, Jack made 629 appearances for Leeds and collected 35 England caps, before turning attention to a successful managerial career. After stints with Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle, Charlton stepped up to lead the Republic of Ireland and guided them to the quarter-finals of the World Cup 1990 in Italy.

Charlton received an OBE in 1974 and was awarded honorary Irish citizenship in 1996, being made a freeman of the city of Dublin in 1994. He died at the age of 85 in July 2020, having been diagnosed with lymphoma and also suffering from dementia.

Bobby Moore: Widely accepted as England’s greatest centre-half and one of the best of all time, World Cup-winning captain Moore died from bowel and liver cancer in February 1993, aged 51. Moore, who won 108 international caps, helped West Ham lift the FA Cup in 1964 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup the following season.

The defender also had spells at Fulham and in the North American Soccer League before retiring in 1978, with short managerial stints at Oxford City and Southend following. His widow Stephanie founded the Bobby Moore Fund in 1993 to raise money for research into bowel cancer and raise public awareness of the disease.

MOMENT OF TRUTH: The two teams line up before the World Cup Final in 1966. Picture: PA/PA WireMOMENT OF TRUTH: The two teams line up before the World Cup Final in 1966. Picture: PA/PA Wire
MOMENT OF TRUTH: The two teams line up before the World Cup Final in 1966. Picture: PA/PA Wire
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Ray Wilson: England’s left-back Wilson kept the lowest profile of the 1966 winners. Wilson built a successful undertaker’s business in Huddersfield after his football career, eventually retiring in 1997.

Wilson lived in Huddersfield and made more than 250 appearances for the Terriers as well as playing for Everton – where he won the 1966 FA Cup – Oldham and, briefly, Bradford. He died aged 83 in May 2018 from Alzheimer’s disease.

Nobby Stiles: The midfield enforcer of Alf Ramsey’s team, Stiles helped nullify the threat of Eusebio in the semi-final against Portugal – and memorably danced on the pitch with the Jules Rimet Trophy after England’s extra-time triumph over West Germany.

Part of Manchester United’s 1968 European Cup-winning team, Stiles, capped 28 times by England, made 392 appearances for the Red Devils, leaving for Middlesbrough in 1971. A career in coaching followed, with two stints at Preston, before a short-lived tenure at West Brom.

SWEET MEMORIES: Jubilant England players parade the World Cup around Wembley after their 4-2 win: (l-r) Gordon Banks, Alan Ball, Martin Peters, Bobby Moore, George Cohen, Ray Wilson, Bobby Charlton, Jack Charlton. Picture: PA Photos/PA WireSWEET MEMORIES: Jubilant England players parade the World Cup around Wembley after their 4-2 win: (l-r) Gordon Banks, Alan Ball, Martin Peters, Bobby Moore, George Cohen, Ray Wilson, Bobby Charlton, Jack Charlton. Picture: PA Photos/PA Wire
SWEET MEMORIES: Jubilant England players parade the World Cup around Wembley after their 4-2 win: (l-r) Gordon Banks, Alan Ball, Martin Peters, Bobby Moore, George Cohen, Ray Wilson, Bobby Charlton, Jack Charlton. Picture: PA Photos/PA Wire
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Stiles also worked for a spell as a youth team coach at United, helping oversee the development of the renowned class of 92, which included the likes of David Beckham and the Neville brothers. In October 2020, Stiles died aged 78 following a long illness, having previously suffered a stroke, being diagnosed with prostate cancer and later Alzheimer’s.

Alan Ball: The youngest member of the side, Ball was just 21 when England were crowned world champions. The midfielder went on to join Everton, becoming part of the Merseyside club’s ‘Holy Trinity’ alongside Colin Harvey and Howard Kendall as they won the 1970 league title.

Ball later joined Arsenal, reaching the 1972 FA Cup final. He also had spells at Southampton, in the United States and back at former club Blackpool, as well as Bristol Rovers, before retiring. A 15-year managerial career followed, most notably over two stints with Portsmouth, rivals Southampton and also Manchester City.

Ball died in 2007 at the age of 61, having suffered a heart attack while trying to put out a bonfire in his garden.

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Sir Bobby Charlton: Jack’s younger brother Bobby made his career at Manchester United, where he would later sit on the board of directors. Bobby won 106 international caps between 1958 and 1970, and was England’s record goalscorer until overtaken by Wayne Rooney, who also eventually bettered Charlton’s club tally.

A survivor of the Munich air disaster in 1958, Charlton, who claimed the Ballon d’Or in 1966, helped to rebuild the club in the wake of the tragedy – and scored two goals as United beat Benfica to win the 1968 European Cup.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Former England and World Cup winning players (left to right) George Cohen, Gordon Banks, Martin Peters and Sir Geoff Hurst with the Jules Rimet trophy at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington in January 2016. Picture: Adam Davy/PA WireBLAST FROM THE PAST: Former England and World Cup winning players (left to right) George Cohen, Gordon Banks, Martin Peters and Sir Geoff Hurst with the Jules Rimet trophy at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington in January 2016. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire
BLAST FROM THE PAST: Former England and World Cup winning players (left to right) George Cohen, Gordon Banks, Martin Peters and Sir Geoff Hurst with the Jules Rimet trophy at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington in January 2016. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire

After retiring, he had short managerial stints with Preston and Wigan. In early November 2020, his wife, Lady Norma, confirmed Charlton, 83, had been diagnosed with dementia, the news coming just two days after the death of Stiles.

Martin Peters: Renowned as being the complete midfielder, Peters – who scored England’s second goal in the final – played alongside Moore and Geoff Hurst at West Ham. He joined Tottenham in 1970, going on to win the UEFA Cup and also the League Cup twice, before moving to Norwich, where he made more than 200 appearances, and later Sheffield United as a player-coach.

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Following retirement, Peters, capped 67 times for England, worked in the insurance business but retained links with his former clubs in an ambassadorial role. Peters died aged 76 in December 2019, having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease three years earlier.

Sir Geoff Hurst: The only man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final until France’s Kylian Mbappe this year, Hurst made more than 400 appearances for West Ham, joining Stoke in 1972 and later playing in the United States.

After retirement, Hurst, who also worked in the insurance trade like his close friend Peters, had managerial spells with Telford, Chelsea and in Kuwait. Knighted in 2004, the 79-year-old now lives near Cheltenham. Hurst, who won 49 England caps, continues to raise awareness for charity work into the fight against diseases which have afflicted several of his 1966 team-mates.

Roger Hunt: Striker Hunt made more than 400 appearances for Liverpool, winning the title twice as well as the FA Cup, and held the club scoring record until overhauled by Ian Rush.

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Having won 34 caps for England, later playing for Bolton and a short spell in South Africa, Hunt joined his family’s haulage business after retiring from football.

Hunt was awarded an MBE in 2000, inducted into England’s Hall of Fame six years later and lived away from the football spotlight in Lancashire. On September 28, 2021, Liverpool announced Hunt had died aged 83 following a long illness.

Sir Alf Ramsey (manager): Former Southampton and Tottenham full-back Ramsey had cut his managerial teeth with Ipswich, guiding the Suffolk club from the Third Division South to First Division champions in 1962.

Ramsey took England to the quarter-finals of the 1970 World Cup, where they were beaten 3-2 by West Germany having been 2-0 ahead. After England failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup, Ramsey left his job with the Football Association and later had spells working at Birmingham as well as Greek club Panathinaikos.

Ramsey spent his retirement back in Ipswich. He died in April 1999, aged 79, having suffered a stroke as well as battling Alzheimer’s disease and prostate cancer.