Premier League - 60 seconds with George Cohen

Wed, 12 Oct 09:16:00 2011

We spent 60 seconds in the company of the great World Cup-winning England right-back George Cohen and found he likes Shirley Bassey but hates diving.

George Cohen 1966 Premier League trophy - 0

What was your first car?

It was a Vauxhall Viva. It cost me £477 brand new in 1963. It was a great little car and was built very well. Strangely enough, I bought it off Jim Gregory, then the chairman of QPR.

It was not one of the best cars around Fulham, even in those days. Johnny Haynes had a Jaguar, and he always had a very nice car. Most of the guys had a car, and mine was not one of the best. We were not overly class-conscious though.

What in your opinion is the greatest song ever recorded?

'This is my life' by Shirley Bassey - she is a very lovely lady. It is absolutely fantastic, and she is one of my favourites. I met her at a dinner years ago, and she was very charming.

What is your favourite TV programme?

I really like 'Bargain Hunt'. My wife and I are always watching that kind of programme, including 'Flog it' and other related daytime offerings. I always watch Match of the Day, of course - that really is a must. Sometimes I have to catch it the next morning if I've been at Fulham.

What's the nicest place you've ever visited?

Forte dei Marmi in Italy. It's just south of Rome, and is absolutely magnificent. There are lovely villages around there, and I first went in 1958 when there was only one hotel and secluded beaches. It's not quite that way now.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a footballer?

It would always have to be an own-goal, the worst thing for a defender. I was once playing for a Football Association XI at Aldershot, and I ran the ball into our own net - it was very embarrassing! I was promptly told that I should not get in such positions, but these things happen.

If you could throw a dinner party for any three people in history, dead or alive, who would they be?

Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher... do I need a third one because I wouldn't get a word in edgeways with those two anyway? And my final selection would be Anthony Eden.

And what would be on the menu?

It would have to be a leg of lamb. I do all the cooking in our household unless I'm not feeling so good, and I very much enjoy it. I would certainly take care of the leg of lamb for my guests.

Who was the best footballer you ever played with, and the best you ever played against?

Johnny Haynes was the best player I ever played with. He had the greatest touch and was an unbelievably good footballer. The best foot-to-ball player I've ever seen.

The best player I've ever played against would have to be Chris Jones of Tottenham. Now both players were the subjects of £100,000 transfer bids from Italian clubs back in the 1960s, but fortunately both Fulham and Tottenham would not let them leave. And rightly so. Back in those days, footballers would have to accept that.

If you could change one thing about football, what would it be?

Diving. It is an ugly feature of our game which has crept in more and more over the years, and it is very sad to see. Of course, it has been around for a very long time now, but I would like to see referees clamp down on the issue much more. Players get away with diving far too often.

What is your favourite sport apart from football? Is the fact that your nephew is another World Cup winner, Ben Cohen, going to lead you to rugby?

No. I am not a big fan of rugby. I don't understand the game and it stops far too often for reasons I can't get comprehend. There are simply far too many rules in rugby. Ben's success just goes to show that there has to be a Cohen in any England side for a World Cup to be won. My actual choice would be golf, even though I am a lousy player. We often get to play with the '66 guys, and that is very fun.

And finally, we've mentioned the fact that there are already two World Cup winners in the Cohen family - are there any more to come in the foreseeable future?

Well, my grandchildren are still pretty young, but we think we may have a few very fine runners in the family. It's all very exciting, but we're not putting too much pressure on them just yet.

George Cohen was speaking on behalf of Barclays Ticket Office. Every 90 minutes throughout the season Barclays is offering fans the chance to win free tickets to Barclays Premier League matches by going to a Barclays ATM and requesting a receipt, or by visiting

Dan Quarrell / Eurosport

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