Sunday, December 30, 2012

30 December 1999 - Forgotten No More

On 30 December 1999, the British government finally decorated the "forgotten five" from England's World Cup-winning team, awarding them all MBEs.

Over the years following England's win over West Germany in the 1966 World Cup Final, most of the players from that match, along with manager Alf Ramsey, received official recognition from the British government, starting in 1967 with Ramsey's knighthood and captain Bobby Moore becoming an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Bobby Charlton received his OBE in 1969 (then became a Commander of the Order (CBE) in 1974 and received a knighthood in 1994), followed by OBEs for Gordon Banks in 1970 and Jack Charlton in 1974. In 1978, Martin Peters became a Member of the Order (MBE), as did Geoff Hurst in 1979 (Hurst was later knighted in 1998).

By 1999, however, five players from the 1966 final--Nobby Stiles, Alan Ball, Roger Hunt, Ray Wilson, and George Cohen--had not been honored, even though all of them but Ball had appeared in every match of the tournament (Ball missed the last two games in the group stage), and Hunt had scored three goals. But thanks to a push driven in part by the football media, those omissions were corrected at the end of 1999, with all five being made Members of the Order.

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