Friday, 15 May 2015

England's Elusive Missing Moments: The 1966 Saga

Peter Prentice recently embarked upon an odyssey to find out what happened to some TV footage pertaining to England's finest football hour. Why did it disappear and what did it contain? Here, Peter presents his findings...

They thought it was all over...

...and so did I when I purchased the DVD of the 1966 World Cup Final only to discover the most complete version in the BBC archive fell some distance short of England's finest two hours. Short by a full nineteen minutes, not including footage masked by action replays.

Those missing minutes were to become an abiding source of curiosity, if not obsession. Nineteen minutes represented a significant portion of the game, especially as the extra-time period appeared largely intact. They had to have contained some action of note. After all, even the most uneventful midfield stalemate has its talking points.

So what were the incidents destined to remain unseen and undocumented for close to half a century?

Until a few weeks ago I thought that a question likely to go unanswered. But now, thanks to the uploading of a substantially longer German broadcast, itself incomplete, the secrets of those missing minutes can at last be revealed.

What they show is that while much of the missing material was inconsequential, there were one or two moments well worth preserving. Chief among them is a Bobby Charlton near-miss inexplicably left out of the BBC edit, and a Bobby Moore cameo that has even the German commentator salivating. They also appear to cast doubt on one of the many legends arising from the game.

Below is an embryonic listing of all the footage exclusive to the German broadcast, which would stand as the definitive record were it without cuts of unknown duration at 01:12:45, 01:24:08 and 01:32:43, and not shorn of a 22-second section at 28:39. It is also lacking some of the post-match scenes of its BBC counterpart.

First Half

00:16 – 06.00
Wembley in readiness – A sweep of the stands - Players and officials wait in the tunnel.

07:23 – 08:10
The teams line up for the national anthems.

10:38 – 11.04
The German players warm up – Seeler with pennant.

17:20 - 17:25
Cutaway to some pensive looking England supporters.

20:21 - 21:50
Tilkowski receives treatment after his aerial clash with Hurst.

22:37 - 23:07
Hurst shoots high wide and handsome from a Ball corner.

24:15 – 24:17
Extended cutaway to England supporters.

25:09 – 25:17
Extended German celebrations and additional footage of goalscorer Haller.

30:44 – 31.01
Hurst receives a congratulatory hug from Bobby Charlton - Cutaway to jubilant home supporters – The scorer jogs back.

49:20 - 52:20
Ray Wilson is forced to head behind after some patient German build-up - Haller's corner is punched clear by Banks – Schnellinger puts the ball out of play – Jack Charlton gets his head in the way of a Siggi Held strike - An England attack peters out.

54:51 - 56:08
A Haller corner is easily gathered by Banks - Cohen intercepts a Beckenbauer pass - A Hunt effort is blocked by Weber - Emmerich wins another German corner.

58:49 - 01:06:17
The teams make their way off and the Band of H.M. Royal Marines takes over – A dissolve to the Royal Box where the Queen refuses to let the half-time downpour dampen her spirits.

Second Half

01:07:27- 01:08:01
Cut-away to crowd – Throw-ins in quick succession from Stiles and Cohen.

01:10:58 - 01:14:28
Moore takes a return pass and flights a long floated ball into the box - Held is flagged offside - A Stiles cross is headed clear by Schulz - Jack Charlton wins a goal kick off Held yet still protests - The combative Stiles incurs the wrath of referee Dienst - Jack Charlton heads behind – A Schnellinger cross is headed to safety.

01:15:36 - 01:17:25
A poor goal-kick from Tilkowski - A misplaced pass from Haller - Some neat German interplay - A swift England counter ends with Peters shooting tamely wide.

01:21:30 - 01:25:20
Tilkowski punches clear – A moment to treasure - Schnellinger shoots over - Peters is again off-target - Moore miscues a clearance - Weber shuts the door on Hunt – Ball runs it out of play.

01:32:07 - 01:33:24
Tilkowski goes down following a collision with Beckenbauer – A Wilson cross is headed away - Bobby Charlton shoots narrowly wide.

01:34:31 - 01:36:20
Hurst just fails to connect with a Hunt through ball after good work by Ball - A Bobby Charlton piledriver is charged down by Schulz - Held hits the side-netting.

01:36:51 – 01:36:53
Additional footage of Ball getting to his feet.

01:38:33 – 01:38:46
Extended celebrations as England go in front.

01:50:43 - 01:50:58
The German supporters celebrate their last minute reprieve - Schnellinger delays the restart.

01:51:23 - 01:54:26
The inquests begin and the players take a breather - Ramsey rallies his troops - Stiles consults with Greaves - The German physios get to work on aching muscles.

(Note #1: If Ramsey really did tell his players to get up and not show the Germans they were tired, there is precious little evidence of it. His captain remains seated as he delivers his defining teamtalk and another England player can be seen sitting down close to the commencement of extra-time.)

01:54:40 – 01:55:10
The inquests continue as the teams prepare for another half-hour.

01:55:19 – 01:55:43
Extended footage of Gordon Banks and a lengthy wait for the game to resume.

Extra Time - First Period

02:06:37 - 02:06:57
Hurst makes his way back to the half-way line - England fans celebrate - The Wembley scoreboard operators are caught on the hop.

(Note #2: The BBC version includes an extra seconds worth of player celebrations.)

02:11:10 - 02:11:26
Hurst and Hunt share a few words before the restart.

Extra Time - Second Period

02:27:11 - 02:28:06
More England celebrations - Hurst and Peters trudge wearily back – Immortality beckons.

02:30:16 – 02:31:38
The German team collect their medals - Weber loses his footing – A well-deserved lap of honour – The England team await their turn.

02:32:07 – 02:32:10
The captain begins the victory parade.

02:32:18 – 02:32:50
England’s heroes take their bow.

-- Peter Prentice


  1. So is it possible to make an edit of both, being the world's first near-complete version?

  2. I see no reason why not, especially with 2016 looming. A complete version may also exist elsewhere, outside of the two competing countries.

  3. I created a full version a few years ago, using a tape I managed to get hold of with a much longer BBC commentary than the official DVD. The German version is only actually missing a matter of seconds from the whole game, presumably due to technical issues (rather than the BBC's hatchet job of 1976 in editing down the original footage then wiping it).

  4. Is your full version of broadcast quality, Anonymous?