England’s victory over West Germany in the final of the World Cup on July 30, 1966, ensured every one of those players remains a household name to this day.
And though their achievement that summer might have been priceless, many in that side had actually started out with their clubs as schoolboys or apprentices – while some had joined on free transfers for no fee at all.
So with much emphasis on buying success and teams spending their way to the top, here’s a look at the transfer fees commanded by the 11 players who wrote their names into the history books that famous day and just what they cost in today’s money.
Chesterfield to Leicester, 1959: £7,000 (£100,000 today)
Leicester to Stoke, 1972: £50,000 (£900,000 today)
TOTAL: £57,000 (£1 million today)
A key player in England’s World Cup triumph of 1966, Gordon Banks joined Chesterfield in the March of 1953 and made his first appearance for the club in November 1958.
He was eventually sold for £7,000 to Leicester City in July of 1959 and made four cup final appearances for the club.
During his time at Leicester he established himself as England’s number one goalkeeper, and played every game in that victorious World Cup campaign; but despite this success, he was sold on to Stoke City in April 1967 for £50,000.
After joining Fulham as a schoolboy George Cohen didn’t cost a penny; spending his entire career at Craven Cottage where he was a committed and strong full back who loved supporting wingers thanks to his overlapping runs.
He joined Fulham professionally in 1956 and remained a dependable performer for 13 years, during which time he was part of the England side that lifted the Jules Rimet trophy in 1966.
Cohen remained a loyal servant until March 1969, not winning any more major trophies with the club, before retiring from playing at the age of 29 due to injury.
Huddersfield to Everton, 1964: £40,000 (£700,000 today)
Everton to Oldham, 1969: Free
Oldham to Bradford, 1970: Free
TOTAL: £40,000 (£700,000 today)
Ray Wilson made his debut for Second Division Huddersfield Town under Bill Shankly against Manchester United in 1955 and would go on to spend twelve years at the club; making 266 appearances before signing for Everton in 1964 for £40,000, a record for a full-back at the time.
Wilson was 29 and later admitted he feared he had waited too long to make the move to top-tier football so late in his career but was still part of the Everton team which won the 1966 FA Cup final and then lifted the World Cup just weeks later for England.
Injury began to blight his career in Merseyside, however and he eventually left for Oldham Athletic in 1969, having played 116 games for the Toffees. Wilson then went on to become a player-coach at Bradford.
Leeds United 1950-1973
Another “one-club-man” of that 1966 World Cup winning side, the tough tackling Jack Charlton spent his whole career at Elland Road, meaning he generated no transfer fees in his entire playing career.
The elder brother of Manchester United forward Bobby Charlton, who was also a teammate in England’s World Cup final victory, Jack played for Leeds United from 1950 to 1973, helping the club to the First Division title in 1969, and the FA Cup in 1972.
After retiring as a player he worked as a manager and led Middlesbrough to the Second Division title in 1973–74, before taking charge of Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle United and eventually the Republic of Ireland.
West Ham to Fulham, 1974: £25,000 (£450,000 today)
TOTAL: £25,000 (£450,000 today)
Bobby Moore captained England that day in 1966 and is still regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time.
In 1956, Moore joined West Ham United after advancing through their youth set-up and played his first game on 8 September 1958 – going on to surpass West Ham’s appearances record in 1973 when he played for the club for the 509th time just three days after he won his 100th cap for England.
Moore played his last game for West Ham in an FA Cup tie against Hereford United and in January 1974 before joining London rivals Fulham, who were in the Second Division, for £25,000.
Manchester United to Middlesbrough, 1971: £20,000 (£360,000 today)
Middlesbrough to Preston, 1973: Free
TOTAL: £20,000 (£360,000 today)
Stiles won 28 caps and scored 1 goal for England over a five year spell which also saw him claim a World Cup winners’ medal; playing every minute of that victorious 1966 campaign, gaining a reputation as a fearsome tackler and great ball player.
Stiles played the majority of his club career for Manchester United, spending eleven years at Old Trafford, where he became renowned for his ball winning qualities.
With the Red Devils, he won two League titles and one European Cup but then moved to Middlesbrough in 1971 for the fee of £20,000. Stiles ended his club career after moving to Preston on a free-transfer and taking up a coaching role before becoming the club’s manager.
Manchester United to Preston, 1973: Free
Charlton joined Manchester United as a schoolboy for absolutely nothing and ended up becoming a football icon around the world after making his first team debut in 1956, and over the next two seasons became a regular, during which time he survived the Munich air disaster of 1958.
The 1966 World Cup came at a time when Charlton was at the peak of his game having just won the league for United in 1965 and went on to win the title again in 1967, as well as helping his side win the European Cup at Wembley against Benfica in 1968.
Until 2015 he held the distinction of being England’s all-time top goal scorer with 49 goals and is still regarded as an England great and after leaving United on a free-transfer Charlton became the player/manager of Preston North End in 1973.
Blackpool to Everton, 1966: £112,000 (£1.9 million today)
Everton to Arsenal, 1971: £220,000 (£3.9 million today)
Arsenal to Southampton, 1976 £60,000 (£1 million today)
TOTAL: £392,000 (£6.8 million today)
By far the most expensive player in England’s line-up 50 years ago was midfielder Alan Ball who was the youngest member of that World Cup winning side and following the win at Wembley Ball, who had joined Blackpool as a schoolboy, signed for Everton for £112,000.
He stayed at Goodison Park for five years before being snapped-up by Arsenal in 1971 for a record fee of £220,000 where he made 217 appearances for the Gunners, scoring 52 goals.
Ball signed for Southampton for £60,000 in what was his final big move in the game ahead of a move to North America, returning to the UK to play for Southampton on a free-transfer before enjoying 15 years as a manager, including spells with Portsmouth, Southampton and Manchester City.
West Ham to Tottenham, 1970: £200,000 (£3.5 million today)
Tottenham to Norwich City, 1975: £50,000 (£900,000 today)
Norwich to Sheffield United, 1980: Free
TOTAL: £250,000 (£4.4 million today)
One of three West Ham players to play for England that day Martin Peters came through the productive ranks at Upton Park after signing as an apprentice in 1959 and went on to score 81 goals in 302 appearances for United.
Peters didn’t play in the opening game of the 1966 World Cup campaign, but went on to confirm his status as an England legend after scoring the opening goal in the 1966 final against West Germany, which England eventually won 4-2.
In March 1970, West Ham received a record-breaking £200,000 bid for Peters from Tottenham Hotspur and Peters moved to White Hart Lane, with former England team mate Jimmy Greaves going in the other direction before moving to Norwich City in March 1975 for £50,000, eventually ending his career at Sheffield United following a free-transfer in 1980.
West Ham to Stoke, 1972: £80,000 (£1.5 million today)
Stoke to West Bromwich Albion, 1976: £20,000 (£350,000 today)
TOTAL: £100,000 (£1.85 million today)
Probably one of the best known names from that 1966 game, having scored a hat-trick in the final against West Germany, Geoff Hurst’s combined transfer fees were relatively low by comparison.
Beginning his career with West Ham United, where he scored 242 goals in 500 first team appearances, Hurst won the FA Cup in 1964 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965.
Some six years after England’s World Cup success he was sold to Stoke City in 1972 for £80,000 and after three seasons, finished his career with West Bromwich Albion in 1976 following a free-transfer. .
Liverpool to Bolton, 1969: £32,000 (£550,000 today)
TOTAL: £32,000 (£550,000 today)
Joining Liverpool on a free-transfer from the lower reaches of English football Hunt went on to score 285 goals in 492 appearances for the Reds – a tally later eclipsed by Ian Rush.
Under Bill Shankley Hunt blossomed and went on to win two league titles and an FA Cup and in the 1961-62 season even achieved the incredible feat of scoring 41 goals in 41 games.
Hunt made his England debut in 1962 and in 1966 was selected to play alongside Jimmy Greaves in that year’s World Cup; but injury to the Spurs striker meant that Hunt would play alongside Geoff Hurst – he played all six games in that cup run and scored three goals. In 1969 Hunt finally left his beloved Liverpool when he signed for Bolton Wanderers for £32,000.
TOTAL COMBINED TRANSFERS OF 1966 TEAM
£916,000 (£16m today)
Combining the career transfer fees of England’s starting eleven for the World Cup final versus West Germany on July 30th 1966, the total cost of that side comes to £916,000, which in today’s money equates to around £16million.
However, seeing as many of the big money moves came after England’s triumph the cost of the side going into that game actually totals an astonishing £47,000 or £820,000 in today’s money, with only goalkeeper Gordon Banks and record-breaking defender Ray Wilson commanding any kind of fee before that historic day.
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