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1966 World Cup Exhibition Opens

24 June 2016


Guests including World Cup winners Bobby Charlton and Roger Hunt, Jimmy Armfield and Chairman of The FA Greg Dyke attended the opening of the 1966 World Cup Exhibition at the National Football Museum.

The 1966  Jules Rimet trophy. Picture © Jason Lock

The 1966 Jules Rimet trophy.
Picture © Jason Lock

The exhibition tells the story of England's successful hosting of the 1966 tournament from the perspective of fans, players and people behind the scenes. It is the first time in 50 years that so many iconic items from the tournament have come together under one roof.

Exhibition curator Andy Pearce, who gave a personal tour to Sir Bobby and Lady Norma Charlton, Roger Hunt and family, as well as Alan Ball's family, described the time with the World Cup winners as: "A great honour. Roger and Sir Bobby were fascinated to see the stories of all the supporters, and to relive the matches from the tournament.

"Seeing the objects on display and watching rare film from the era was clearly an emotional moment for the players and their families. The achievements of 1966 are something of which they are still justifiably proud."

Chairman of The FA, Greg Dyke, speaking to host Geoff Shreeves at the opening, said "One of the first things I asked at The FA was how we would mark 1966. Many people think it's a weight around our necks, that we won in 1966 but not since; I'm quite the opposite.

"You have to mark it; these things matter. This was a great achievement."

The famous Jules Rimet World Cup Trophy, as lifted by Bobby Moore, the England Captain, on July 30 1966, and the ball from the Final are at the centre of the exhibition.

But it also features a host of other hugely important exhibits – including Brazilian football legend Pele’s training kit and boots, and Roger Hunt’s shirt from the final.

German boot manufacturers Adidas have loaned out a number of iconic boots from the tournament, on display for the first time. Geoff Hurst’s boot, worn in the final and subsequently bronze-coated in recognition of his historic hat-trick, will feature in the exhibition, alongside boots worn by Bobby Moore and West Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer and Uwe Seeler in the World Cup Final.

For a short time Geoff Hurst’s shirt will also be on display before going to public auction.

There are also some seriously quirky exhibits too, including a sample jar; Jack Charlton was the first footballer to give a urine sample at a World Cup final.

The exhibition contains a 'live' room set up of a living room immediately after the 1966 final. Picture © Jason Lock

The exhibition contains a 'live' room set up of a living room immediately after the 1966 final.
Picture © Jason Lock

A feature of the exhibition is the stories of the ‘ordinary’ people who were involved, from ballboy John Dougherty and fan Linda Bearne, who became the media darling of the 1966 World Cup Final crowd, to photographer Tom Lutton, whose ‘illegal’ pictures from the stands have never been seen in public before.

1966 World Cup Exhibition is funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and launched in partnership with The FA and the Sporting Memories Foundation – an award winning charity that works nationally with older people to bring about health and well-being benefits through celebrating memories of sport.

Exhibition curator Andy Pearce said: “The 1966 World Cup Exhibition is designed to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1966 World Cup tournament by enabling visitors to learn about the wider heritage of the event, to examine its continued legacy as a key moment in England’s recent heritage and to explore its meaning and significance in terms of football history and wider society.

“As well as some incredible objects, a key focus has been to collect and document memories, photographs and memorabilia from the players and officials who took part in the tournament, the people who lived in the seven English cities (Birmingham, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Sheffield, Sunderland) that hosted the matches, and the fans who travelled to attend the matches. We have really uncovered some fascinating stories”

The exhibition will be divided into distinct zones and promises to uniquely transport visitors back to 1966, putting them at the heart of the action. The centrepiece will see them transported back to Wembley for the Final via ground-breaking virtual reality, making visitors feel like they are actually at the game.

It will also recreate the atmosphere that people experienced the World Cup Final in at home, with the music, decor and design of the era featured in a recreation of a 1960s home.

There will be items from each of the 11 players who turned out in England’s famous red kit on that famous day, with touchscreens featuring the stories of the World Cup final players and squad.

A unique take on the ‘World Cup Wall Chart’ will set out every single result of the tournament and will also tell the story of the politics and boycotts that shaped the make-up of the 1966 World Cup Finals.

The legacy of the tournament will be explored, from the celebrations, the press reaction, and souvenirs (including original Pathe News film of the big day) to a look at how subsequent England sides have struggled to eclipse the boys of ’66.

Younger visitors will enjoy an interactive, exciting exhibition and have the chance to help Pickles The Dog rescue the World Cup with a special Trophy Trail.

The 1966 World Cup Exhibition features many exhibits loaned to the National Football Museum by renowned 1966 World Cup Final collector David Duncan. David has become known as Mr ’66 because of his extensive memorabilia collection.

Dr. Kevin Moore of the National Football Museum added: “We are extremely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players this fantastic collection of 1966 World Cup exhibits has been brought together. In fact we have so much memorabilia that we are launching a second exhibition with The FA in July.

“It’s a real insight into why England winning the World Cup in 1966 was about far more than simply football; it reveals just how important an event this was to the nation in terms of culture, sport, economy and legacy. And, quite significantly, this is a fantastic opportunity for the ’66 generation to tell their story.

Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said: “The World Cup win in ‘66 was a generation-defining moment in the country’s recent history and created special memories for those who watched at the time. This exhibition captures this spirit whilst also revealing some new and untold stories about life in Britain 50 years ago. It’s been drawn together with good community involvement and will bring many more visitors to Manchester. We are delighted to be supporting it with money raised by National Lottery players.”

Pictured: Left, Chairman of the German FA Dr Rainer Koch and Chairman of English FA Greg Dyke. Picture © Jason Lock

Pictured: Left, Chairman of the German FA Dr Rainer Koch and Chairman of English FA Greg Dyke.
Picture © Jason Lock

Greg Dyke Chairman of The FA commented: “For those of us who were around in 1966, the exhibition is going bring back some wonderful memories,” says FA chairman Greg Dyke. “It’s also a reminder of how important the success of the national football team is to the nation. That’s why, while commemorating England’s finest football moment, we must also ensure we have the infrastructure in place to secure current and future England success.

“For the football industry itself, the exhibition will offer a timely reminder of how much has changed in 50 years. Not just in the apparel and equipment of the game – but in the entire cultural, social and commercial framework in which the game now operates.”

Tony Jameson-Allen, Co-founder of The Sporting Memories Foundation said: “ The exhibition provides a unique opportunity for people to relive and recall a magical year. The journey visitors will be taken on is likely to evoke many wonderful memories. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, all visitors to the National Football Museum will have the chance to record their memories as a legacy for future generations to enjoy.

“Sporting Memories groups are being established by the project partners to support older people across Greater Manchester. All the participants of these groups will have the opportunity to benefit from visiting this fantastic, inspiring venue. There are three significant challenges facing society today; dementia, depression and loneliness. The 1966 World Cup Exhibition can play a significant role in helping to tackle these.”


The National Football Museum’s 1966 World Cup Exhibition is being created in partnership with The Football Association (FA).  The exhibition will be jointly staged at the museum’s Manchester home (opening June 25 until January 2017) and Wembley Stadium (opening July 11) and will celebrate the glory of 1966 and the legacy of England’s win fifty years after the event.

It has been made possible thanks to a £302,500 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant. A major part of the project will be dedicated to collecting and sharing memories of the tournament, thanks to the Sporting Memories Network. See http://memoriesof66.sportingmemories.org/. #Memoriesof66

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