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:


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.

Read More: Football and History

  • by Antony Ramm, Information and Research, Central Library.

This is an entry in our Read More series. These are ‘long-form’ articles, where staff offer a curated and detailed look at areas of our book collections, usually based around a specific theme or subject. These posts aim to guide the interested reader through to those books that offer a more in-depth look at a topic, or which are classics in their field.

Now that the domestic football season has begun we thought it an appropriate time to draw your attention to the Information and Research collection of the Rothmans Football Yearbooks (now the Sky Sports Football Yearbook).

Rothmans Football Yearbooks display

Rothmans Football Yearbooks display

This famous series started in the 1970-71 season – though our collection only runs from 1971-72. These books cover every possible detail imaginable about the previous year’s football, domestic, continental and international – scores, line-ups and a whole host of other fascinating facts, figures and statistics. Most football fans of a certain age will recall the many youthful hours spent trawling through these volumes; their value today lay as much in the Proustian rush of nostalgia evoked by their pages as in their usefulness for historical research. A Saturday afternoon spent flicking through this collection, while taking in the score updates from grounds around Britain, would be many people’s idea of a Saturday well spent. Though, depending on your choice of team, a journey through these volumes can be more pain than pleasure: it has certainly been a good long while since Leeds United have been as successful as in the 1973-1974 season!

Leeds United results in the title winning 1973-74 season

Leeds United results in the title winning 1973-74 season

The Rothman volumes are available to view by asking staff in the Information and Research library. Other interesting books covering football history that are held by the department – all available to loan – include The People’s Game: A Social History of British Football (James Walvin); Association Football and English Society: 1863-1915 (Tony Mason); the 1972 centenary history of the FA Cup (Tony Pawson); and the official histories of both the Football Association and the Football League (both authored by Byron Butler). The 1990 edition of The Football Grounds of Europe (Simon Inglis) is especially fascinating, offering photographs and detail about many major European stadia immediately prior to the post-Italia ’90 gentrification of the game. Speaking of Italia ’90, All Played Out: The Full Story of Italia ’90 is one of the best football books ever written, an invaluable record of the sport at a crucial turning point in its history – by an author with something important to say about England and the English.

Finally, for much more on Leeds United – including player/team records, biographies and match-day programmes – pay a visit to our Local and Family History library. You can be sure we will be blogging on this subject again as we approach the centenary of the team’s founding in 1919