How many of the England team from 1966 are still alive?

The 1966 World Cup in England was a historic moment for the host nation, as they lifted the Jules Rimet trophy on home soil after defeating West Germany 4-2 in the final at Wembley Stadium. England’s path to glory was not an easy one, having to come through a tough group including Uruguay and Mexico, before defeating Argentina and Portugal in the knockout stages. Under the management of Alf Ramsey, England’s team etched their names into the history books with that famous win. But 56 years on, how many of that legendary team are still alive today?

The 1966 World Cup Winning Team

England’s starting eleven in the final against West Germany was:

  • Gordon Banks – Goalkeeper
  • George Cohen – Right Back
  • Jack Charlton – Centre Back
  • Bobby Moore – Centre Back
  • Ray Wilson – Left Back
  • Nobby Stiles – Midfield
  • Alan Ball – Midfield
  • Bobby Charlton – Midfield
  • Martin Peters – Forward
  • Geoff Hurst – Forward
  • Roger Hunt – Forward

In addition, the squad that travelled to the 1966 World Cup included:

  • Peter Bonetti – Goalkeeper
  • Ron Springett – Goalkeeper
  • Jimmy Armfield – Defender
  • Gerry Byrne – Defender
  • Norman Hunter – Defender
  • Terry Paine – Midfield
  • Ron Flowers – Midfield
  • John Connelly – Forward
  • Ronnie Bull – Forward
  • Jimmy Greaves – Forward

That makes a total of 22 players who were part of the England squad that made history by lifting the World Cup in 1966.

The Survivors from the 1966 Team

Out of the 22 players that were in England’s 1966 World Cup squad, 6 are still alive today. They are:

  • Sir Geoff Hurst – Scored a hat-trick in the 1966 final, the only player to do so in a World Cup final to date. Now aged 80.
  • Sir Bobby Charlton – England’s top goalscorer of all time, and scored twice in the semi-final and final in 1966. Now aged 84.
  • George Cohen – The right back who contained Portugal’s Eusebio in the semi-finals. Now aged 83.
  • Roger Hunt – Part of a fearsome England attack, and started all six England games at the 1966 World Cup. Now aged 83.
  • Ray Wilson – The left back who nullified many of England’s opponents down his flank during the tournament. Now aged 83.
  • Nobby Stiles – The tenacious midfielder famous for dancing with the Jules Rimet trophy after England’s win. Now aged 78.

Sadly, legendary figures like Bobby Moore, Gordon Banks and Jack Charlton have passed away over the years. But almost 60 years on, over a quarter of England’s World Cup winners are still alive to tell the tale.

Where are the 1966 Winners Now?

The surviving members of England’s World Cup winning team may now be in their 80s, but several are still active in public life.

Geoff Hurst remains a recognisable figure to many England fans. He has worked in the steel industry, for a brewery, and in the insurance sector since retiring from football in the 1970s. Hurst received a knighthood in 1998 for his services to football.

Sir Bobby Charlton also received a knighthood after retiring as a player. He served as a director at Manchester United for many years, and has raised funds for landmine charities through his own foundation.

George Cohen runs a number of businesses involved in haulage, storage and property. He is an Ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society, having cared for his teammate Nobby Stiles who passed away with the disease.

Roger Hunt managed a haulage firm after retiring from playing. He still attends Anfield for Liverpool games, and was inducted into England’s Hall of Fame in 2014.

Ray Wilson has kept a lower profile than most of his teammates, running an undertaker’s business in Yorkshire after retiring. He sold his World Cup winner’s medal in 2002.

Nobby Stiles lived with Alzheimer’s for many years prior to his passing in 2020. His family have been active campaigners for more research into dementia-related illnesses.

The Ones We Have Lost

While 6 players survive from 1966, sadly the other 16 members of the England squad have passed away over the last five decades.

The manager Sir Alf Ramsey died in 1999 at the age of 79. Other notable figures no longer with us are:

  • Bobby Moore – England’s legendary captain, died aged 51 in 1993.
  • Alan Ball – The youngest member of the team, passed away in 2007 aged 61.
  • Gordon Banks – Voted FIFA’s goalkeeper of the 20th century, died in 2019 aged 81.
  • Martin Peters – Scorer of England’s second goal in the final, died in 2019 aged 76.
  • Jack Charlton – Brother of Bobby and 668-game Leeds legend, passed away in 2020 aged 85.

The achievement of Ramsey’s 1966 heroes will never be forgotten. They created history and memories that will forever be passed down the generations. But with the relentless passing of time, only a handful of those immortalised in grainy black-and-white images remain.

Reliving the 1966 Glory

For the surviving members, reliving the memories of 1966 is a regular occurrence. They are in demand from media around each major tournament, asked constantly to retell their stories from over half a century ago.

“It seems like it was yesterday” is a cliché the players often use when transported back to their finest hour. And in many ways, they feel like they have never been away.

Roger Hunt takes his place on the pitch in the opening ceremony at every England game, leading the current stars out alongside his old teammates. Bobby Charlton and Geoff Hurst are VIP guests of honour at Wembley and major cup finals. They never grow tired of being centre stage.

The band of brothers have stayed in touch down the decades since making history together. Their bond was strengthened through tragedy and illness, as they supported those who fell on harder times.

Of course, England has not come close to repeating the achievements of ’66 in over half a century. But the thread that unites the current crop with their immortal predecessors will never be broken.

Will the Class of 2022 Join the Legends?

As England prepare for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the 165 million dollar question is whether the current national team can join the select group of legends.

Gareth Southgate’s squad is blessed with youthful attacking talent such as Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham. And in Harry Kane, they have a striker with the goalscoring ability to go down in history.

England were agonisingly close at Euro 2020, making it all the way to the final at Wembley before losing on penalties to Italy. The next step is to reach the showpiece event in Qatar and end their 56 year wait for major tournament success.

Southgate is determined to enhance his credentials by leading England to glory this winter. The goals are there to achieve it, and the expectation levels will be high.

Matching the heroes of 1966 would put the current generation of England players into the footballing pantheon. The pressure is on to avoid another near miss, and give the nation a World Cup win to celebrate once again.

1966 – The Most Famous Year in English Football

1966 will forever be embedded in England’s culture as the year football came home. That famous Wembley final continues to resonate through the generations.

The heroes and drama of the tournament have become folklore. Gordon Banks’ wonder save from Pele, Geoff Hurst’s controversial goal in the final, Nobby Stiles’ missing tooth after a tough semi-final.

No England fan can ever hear Kenneth Wolstenholme’s iconic BBC commentary again without getting goosebumps:

“Some people are on the pitch… they think it’s all over. It is now!”

That will forever be the soundtrack to England’s solitary World Cup win. The peak of sporting achievement.

Every time the Premiership trophy is held aloft, the FA Cup lifted at Wembley, or England step out at a major tournament, the current generation are reminded of 1966.

The pressure to match those achievements is passed down like a family heirloom. Some might feel it a burden, but to those surviving members, it is the ultimate badge of honour.

Will 1966 Ever be Matched?

As time moves forward, many wonder if 1966 will ever be matched. Can any England team hold aloft a major international trophy again?

In the cold light of day, the modern game makes it incredibly tough to dominate tournaments like Ramsey’s side did.

The competition is broader, with smaller nations now able to produce top class players. And tournaments are condensed, with only 7 games now standing between England and World Cup glory.

But the mindset instilled by those legends lives on. Whether its lifting the World Cup in Qatar or further down the line, the hunger still burns bright.

Their legacy inspires England’s current stars to reach for the highest of heights. To play without fear, and write their own chapter in history.

Until the year comes when modern heroes can take their place alongside the legends of 1966, those few surviving members will always be held on the highest of pedestals.


The 1966 World Cup triumph for England lives on immortally in the memories of fans and the history books. But the numbers of those who directly shaped that famous win are dwindling by the year.

Of the 22 man squad that Alf Ramsey took to the 1966 tournament, just 6 are still around to tell the tales today. But what rich tales they have to share.

The legends like Bobby Moore and Gordon Banks may sadly no longer be with us. But the survivors strive to keep their legacy alive, acting as guardians for England’s greatest footballing achievement.

Until a new golden generation can replicate that Wembley glory, the boys of ’66 will always be held in the highest esteem. Their place in English folklore is assured, no matter how many decades pass.

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