The 1966 World Cup Final
is arguably the most revered sporting achievement in English history, certainly English football's most frequently eulogised match, but have you actually ever seen it? If not this enhanced DVD release is nothing short of essential. Featuring the original black and white BBC coverage of the match, with Kenneth Wolstenholme at the commentator's mike, this is an opportunity for even those familiar with the big moments--five goals and "they think it's all over"--to watch the action in its entirety. It's an experience rather similar to people's descriptions of meeting TV stars--everyone's shorter, taller, fatter, thinner, balder than you expect--but even simply viewed as a game of football this is something of a classic, with disputed goals, clattering tackles, last-minute equalisers and dodgy officials, putting the achievement of Moore and co into its proper context.
On the DVD: The 1966 World Cup Final comes to DVD with a sparkling slew of extras. The choicest feature is the alternative match commentary provided, live, by five of the England team themselves--Jack Charlton, Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst, George Cohen and Gordon Banks. It's a frequently hilarious, sometimes touching additional perspective, delivered in an entertainingly chaotic style by five men who may share a common bond, but clearly see the task in hand somewhat differently.
Aside from text-only profiles of the England 11 (no subs in those days), and a gallery of stills from the match and build-up, there are three additional mini-programmes. Exclusive interviews with Tina Moore (wife of late England captain Bobby Moore), and with the late commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme, tear down some of the media-generated nonsense that has grown to obscure the match and its key participants, with their personal reflections on the event and its resonance. John Motson narrates an entertaining documentary on "The Summer of 66", featuring archive and contemporary interviews with players and fans. --Alex Hankin
" Englands Greatest Ever Sporting Achievement: You have beaten them once now go out and do it again! With these words Alf Ramsey sent out his weary players for a gruelling half hour of extra time. They had already played 90 minutes of superbly entertaining football against a West German team determined to play their part in a thrilling final. For 12 long minutes it had seemed that Martin Peters goal had won the cup for England. Then , in the last minute of normal time, Wolfgang Weber had desparately stretched for a bobbling ball and stabbed it past the despairing Gordon Banks. The capacity crowd fell silent. The England players looked shattered. The subsequent 30 minutes proved even more dramatic. Millions witnessed the most contriversial moment in World Cup history, the first ever hat-trick in the Final and an outburst of relief and celebration when the final whistle signalled Englands greatest ever sporting triumph. "