Lost 1966 World Cup commentary found

Lost BBC radio commentary of England winning the World Cup has been found – 50 years on from their triumph.

Frank McFarlane, who went to Worcester College for the Blind, had recorded the match on reel-to-reel tape by holding a microphone near to a pocket radio.

He mentioned this at a school reunion to a BBC Radio 5 live listener who was “99% certain” the audio was lost and got in touch with the corporation.

The BBC did not keep copies of the radio commentary at the time.

Saturday marks 50 years since England beat West Germany 4-2 in the final.

The listener, James Robinson, said he meets Mr McFarlane, from Oxton in Wirral, once a year at the reunion and about five years after he first mentioned the full recording, it was brought to the reunion.

Mr McFarlane said: “In those days you really weren’t supposed to record from the radio and keep things, so I’m waiting for the solicitor’s letter.”

How did the radio commentary compare to ‘They think it’s all over’?

Kenneth Wolstenholme’s famous words for England’s fourth goal on BBC TV were: “Some people are on the pitch. They think it’s all over. It is now.”

Alan Clarke, on the radio, said: “Twenty seconds, twenty seconds, and it’s Hurst and Ball charging wide on the right here and there’s people on the pitch at the moment.

“And [Hurst] shoots and a goal by Hurst, goal by Hurst, number four and the England players going down on the turf, hugging each other, on their hands and knees.

“And there it is, number four to England.”

Mr McFarlane, a “sports fanatic” who said he has also recorded cricket, explained: “[I] did it in the most amateurish old-fashioned way with an external microphone on the table a few inches away from a little pocket radio.

“I thought ‘well I’ll do this because this will be well worth keeping, I hope.’

“[I] could’ve made thousands on it, couldn’t I?”

Asked for his assessment, he said the radio commentators “kept up with the game very well”.

Mr McFarlane said: “[It was] Alan Clarke, Brian Moore, then you moved into others, Des Lynam, Alan Parry, etc. The summariser… hardly said a word unless brought into the commentary.”

An FA spokesman said: “We’re delighted that this has been unearthed and will add to what will already be a special weekend of anniversary celebrations.”

What about England’s controversial third goal?

Radio commentator Brian Moore, who was later ITV’s main voice of football, said: “Stiles with a long ball through to Moore and Moore will run for all he’s worth after this when he turns it in.

“Can Hurst get a shot in? It’s a chance for Geoff Hurst and he’s hit the bar. It must be a goal. I would have thought that went in. But he’s not given it.

“I thought that hit the bar and went in, Maurice Edelston.”

Summariser Maurice Edelston said: “I’m not certain, but yes it’s given, it’s given and England are in the lead.”

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