Collectors have the chance to buy a piece of football history when the goal line from the 1966 World Cup final is auctioned by King Sturge this month.
The Wembley Stadium goal line has been the subject of discussions and debates for decades thanks to England hero Geoff Hurst’s controversial second goal.
As every football fan knows, Hurst's shot hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced on the line. The German players claimed the ball didn't actually cross the line but the Swiss ref, Gottfried Dienst, and the Russian linesman Tofik Bakhramov, said "Goal" so it stood.
The famous goal line was dug up when Wembley was re-turfed in 1969 and a TV producer called Bob Gardam took it home. He planted it in his back garden in Hertfordshire where it has remained ever since.
Now the new owner of the house has decided to donate part of the goal line to the National Football Museum in Preston where it will be displayed for the nation to enjoy.
The donation will be made at the annual Football Hall of Fame Awards, in association with The Football Foundation and FA Grass Roots, at the Millennium Mayfair Hotel on 18 September when the goal line will be reunited with the match ball, for the first time since 1966, in front of a celebrity audience.
The remaining section of the goal line is to be divided in to seven lots each one yard long (half a metre). These will be auctioned off by King Sturge at an online auction opening on 8 September and closing on 29 September 25% of the auction proceeds to benefit UNICEF UK in conjunction with Soccer Aid.
The IOG (Institute of Groundsmen) have verified that the Wembley turf was not replaced between 1966 and 1969 and the STRI (Sports Turf Research Institute) confirmed the authenticity of the goal line through scientific soil analysis.
The famous goal line fell into the hands of Bob Gardam after the pitch was used for the Horse of the Year Show in 1969. The badly damaged pitch was used for one last match – a fun game between World of Sport staff from London Weekend television and their rivals from ITN.
Mr Gardam was the director of LWT’s Big Match programme and part of their team that day. At the end of the game Wembley’s groundsman George Stanton asked Mr Gardam if he would like a piece of the soon to be replaced turf as a souvenir.
Mr Gardam said: “I was so knackered that I couldn’t be bothered. Then it suddenly occurred to me that the north end goal was where Geoff Hurst had fired in that terrific shot. ‘Hold on,’ I said. I went and got my car, drove it up through the tunnel and out onto the pitch, where some chaps kindly dug out the entire goal line, a foot either side.
“We rolled it up into three strips which we put into the car boot. Back home, I laid them into my lawn in the shape of a V for Victory sign.”
The piece of goal line donated to the National Football Museum will become part of a permanent exhibit with the match ball from the 1966 final. The exhibit will tour the country and may to play a part in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012.
Mike Hanson, Partner at King Sturge, said: “We are delighted to be handling the sale of a piece of the nation’s sporting history.
“This is a unique disposal and something which is difficult to value because it has never been sold before. We are particularly pleased that a section of the goal line will be placed on display in the National Football Museum for the public to enjoy and the sale of the remaining lots will benefit such a great cause as Soccer Aid which is raising funds for UNICEF.”
Funds raised by Soccer Aid 2008 will go towards the main areas of UNICEF’s work - health, education, nutrition, water, HIV and AIDS and protection for vulnerable children.
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