Celebrating England’s World Cup Win: Leeds Style

by Antony Ramm, Local and Family History, Central Library

As almost everyone surely knows by now, fifty years ago this week – on the 30th of July, 1966, to be exact – the England team beat West Germany 4-2 to win the football World Cup for the first time. And, while most are familiar with the famous image of Bobby Moore – the victorious team captain – being held aloft by his team-mates, here at the Secret Library we wondered how the event was marked by the people of Leeds.

To do so, we delved into our extensive newspaper archive and searched the Yorkshire Evening Post (YEP) for the days immediately after Saturday’s victory. This is what we found:

bank holiday

Interestingly, then, it seems that England’s victorious performance did not make as large an impression – in Leeds, at least – at the time as it seems to do in retrospect. Most Leeds people seem to have spent the weekend of the Final holidaying rather than watching football! Elsewhere in the YEP that day, however, we find an article ‘summing-up’ the tournament from the point-of-view of ordinary people, including some from the wider West Riding area:

that was the cup that was

And that was it, for Leeds, for celebrations over the Final weekend. But a search of our photograph archive – www.leodis.net – helped us to find mention of a commemorative event on the 3rd of August for the three England team members – players Jack Charlton and Norman Hunter; and trainer Les Cocker – connected to the city’s own successful football team – Leeds United:

3rd August 1966. Leeds United's participants in England's triumphant World Cup winning squad are welcomed at a reception at the Civic Hall by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Alderman Joshua S. Walsh. From the left is Norman Hunter, then the Lady Mayoress, Jack Charlton in the centre, the Lord Mayor and finally trainer Les Cocker. See the image on Leodis here
3rd August 1966. Leeds United’s participants in England’s triumphant World Cup winning squad are welcomed at a reception at the Civic Hall by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Alderman Joshua S. Walsh. From the left is Norman Hunter, then the Lady Mayoress, Jack Charlton in the centre, the Lord Mayor and finally trainer Les Cocker. See, or make a purchase of this image, on Leodis here

An article from the YEP on that same date revealed the surprising truth behind this joyous image: the World Cup Final was the very first football match Lord Mayor Walsh had ever seen!

my first match

In fact, it seems the Lord Mayor was rather busy that day – he also found time to entertain a group of visiting Danish Scouts:

scouts

And then, Lord Mayor Walsh also found time to grant a reception to a visiting group of Dortmund school children; several of whom were delighted to hear that they would be seeing England and Leeds United’s very own Jack Charlton when they visited Elland Road that coming weekend:

jackie german fans

 

Jack Charlton shared his own memories of the 1966 World Cup in his autobiography, which formed part of a recent set of new Leeds United-related stock arrivals in our Local and Family History library. We shall be displaying a selection from this collection in that department – which includes books, donations, ephemera, autograph books, photographs, fanzines and match programmes – to coincide with the start of the 2016/2017 season. Check this blog in the week commencing August 8th to find out more.

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