Sir Geoff Hurst has emphasised the importance of football’s grassroots volunteers – including the history teacher who helped him make World Cup history.
He recalls it was “more concrete than grassroots” when he grew up playing on the streets of Chelmsford, but said a man whose selflessness helped shape events in 1966 was more at home teaching about 1066.
“I grew up playing football in my school, Kings Road Primary in Chelmsford, and I’ve got a lovely picture of that team, and the man standing alongside the man in charge, Mr Shepherd,” he told the PA news agency.
“He was not a sports teacher, he was a history teacher. But the school needed somebody to oversee the travel to other schools, and he was there.
“He was just someone who was asked to help, and he was a typical example of people from different walks of life like that who are giving their lives in many respects to grassroots football. That name sticks in my mind.”
England’s 1966 World Cup final hat-trick hero is an ambassador for the Football Association and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards, which is now seeking nominations for 2021.
Hurst added: “The awards are fantastic, when you get the nominations it’s almost impossible to pick a winner because there are so many fantastic stories of what people do. There are people in the game who have been volunteering for 40 years in some cases.”
:: England legend Sir Geoff Hurst is launching nominations for the 2021 FA & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards. To nominate your grassroots hero, go to www.mcdonalds.co.uk/awards.