|Geoff Hurst holding the World Cup|
I always remember my Dad saying; ‘Never Meet Your Heroes, You’ll Only Be Disappointed.’ Well this was so for me in 1970 or 1971 when I was a kid of nine or ten. I lived in Poplar, East London. Almost everyone around the district was a West Ham fan.
Of course, West Ham had three main England players of the 1966 World Cup winning squad. Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters. To be fair, I think Martin Peters had just transferred to Spurs, so he was a former West Ham man.
Word came about that Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick for England in the World Cup final, was coming to a local public house to knock over a pile of pennies. This was for a charity, though I do not know what one it was. It was a mid-week night and we kids all went to the pub and waited outside for the grand hat trick scoring England man to arrive.
When he did pull up outside the pub we all eagerly gathered around to look at our real life English hero. He never said a word to any of us. He just parked up and went inside while we all looked on disappointed. I suppose we expected him to say a few things before going into the pub.
Then after a short time we were allowed in, one at a time, to get an autograph off of this football star who seemed bored with all us snotty nose little hero worshipers. He went through the chore and we got a quick and silent autograph then ushered off of the premises. As I went out the door, I felt exceptionally let down. As kids we all expected him to say a few words. It was as though we were irritations – little unwanted pests. I remember walking back with my friends and we all agreed that Geoff Hurst was a bit of a let-down. Even today, when I see him on TV doing a rare interview, I look away.
I’m glad England won that day and I think Geoff Hurst and his team played well. However, the disappointment of meeting him as a flea or a minor inconvenience sticks with me to this day. If I saw him walking along the street, I would cross the road to avoid the man. I do not regard him as a gallant English hero anymore. Not since that day.