Book Review: 1966 and All That: My Autobiography (Geoff Hurst)



Many years on.

Dear Sir Geoff,

Firstly, I am very sorry for the long delay in writing. And secondly, please excuse my taking the liberty of writing to you when we have never met.

What has prompted me to write is your autobiography, since it made me think hard about football’s place in our lives. When I say ‘our’, I’m pretending to mean the lives of many people, as your World Cup winning hat-trick is becoming even more important and famous as the years go by, but I really mean mine and yours. I was 13 in July 1966 and was on a family holiday in Cornwall. We rushed to Perranporth in time for the Final and watched it with a group of strangers in the hotel’s lounge. By the end of the afternoon, we were all friends. It was a great occasion and I don’t think I would have ever forgotten it even if the goals had not been shown so many times since.

I don’t intend to bore you and I guess you have had tons of drunken old sots press your hand at functions, telling you all about what they were doing while you happened to be the centre of it all. So, no more of me – until the end.

What touched me deeply whilst reading your book was the negative affect it seemed to have on your family. There is more than a hint that your fame possibly led to your parents separating and then divorcing. As a boy, you idolised your dad. Why did he shun your child (and his granddaughter’s) wedding? What went wrong? It is touching to read of your puzzlement at it all because fame doesn’t seem to help us one bit with the age-old problem of human relationships, does it? For goodness’ sake, it wasn’t your fault that you were the key player in England’s finest TWO hours.

There must have been so much pain there which you hide with a skill typically English. Yet that pales in comparison with the tragic suicide of your younger brother, Robert. I see him in the holiday photograph, next to his big brother. How different the paths were for you two from then on.

It’s not fair and you take it, or appear to take it, in your stride, just the way you took Bobby Moore’s final pass and ran on for that goalbursting last kick of the match. I suppose the rewards of three lovely daughters, one of whom came back almost from the dead have helped to compensate in a way for what went wrong for your mum, dad and brother. That is part of the power of a real world which happens away from the television screen.

And even if some people thought it was all over, it has become clear that it was actually just beginning for us all. You say that on balance the good outweighs the bad and I think you are right. I was, like you, touched by the Englishman’s gesture in that Portuguese restaurant when he ignored you throughout the meal as he sat opposite you and your wife, then secretly paid for your wine as a thank you for the joy your hat-trick had given him. For all your pain, and with all your joy, he did it on our behalf.

Kindest regards,

Graeme Garvey

Book details

1966 and All That : My Autobiography

Geoff Hurst

ISBN  9780747241874

Headline Book Publishing

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FBR Copyright 20214 All rights reserved.

Posted October 7, 2010 by Editor in category "Reviews


  1. By EMT on

    Do you people have a facebook fan page? I would really like to become a fan!


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