Sir Geoff Hurst: What I've Learned

"Lots of people have been knighted, but nobody else has scored a hat-trick in a World Cup final"

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Only my kids call me Sir Geoff.

I did an interview online a year ago. Of course, you get comments. Somebody wrote, “Geoff Hurst, he’s a god.” The bottom one was, “Geoff Hurst? I thought he was dead.” People’s impressions vary.

Interests away from football? None. Nothing. Put “nothing”. I don’t have a hobby. I’m hopeless at DIY; I got out of that years ago after I dropped a couple of mirrors. Don’t mention gardening…

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Silver Linings Playbook is one of the best films I’ve seen. Jennifer Lawrence is fantastic: she’s very talented and down to Earth. There are a lot famous people with their heads up their backsides. I admire the more level-headed characters.

I was born in Ashton-under-Lyne in Manchester. We lived there until I was six or seven and then we moved down to Chelmsford. My dad was a bit of a joker and I am too. He wasn’t particularly tall. My mother and her sisters and their parents were quite big. I’m built more like them. My grandmother on my mum’s side was fearsome.

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I used to eat steak before a game. I’ve had cheese on toast, maybe cornflakes. Latterly, steak went out the window. Science was telling us about dietary issues, but it was nothing compared to today.

Live within your means. Nowadays people want things immediately. You used to save up.

At school, I was very good at any subject that had exact answers, like science and maths. When it came to art or writing essays, where you had to be a bit more creative, I was hopeless.

A long time ago, my late father-in-law said, “I have fallen out with God.” That’s an expression I use when I’m asked about religion; my daughter died in 2010 [after a 10-year battle with a brain tumour]. When you see your daughter suffer for a long time, you’re not sure whether there is anybody up there. I’ll leave it at that.

I’d have a few drinks after a game. A couple of pints, maybe more, providing there was a week’s break between matches. I wouldn’t drink after Wednesday. That was taboo.

Bobby Moore and I went to see Frank Sinatra in LA. The tickets were $100, which was an absolute fortune. After the concert, we were briefly introduced to him. Moore enjoyed all that stuff. There were some great singers around. Of the current ones, I like Michael Bublé.

I batted for Essex, mostly for the Second XI. My only first-class game was against Lancashire in 1962. I was nought and nought not out. It was an era when you could [play both] cricket and football. To be successful in any profession, you’ve got to focus. My decision was made for me when I got into the first team at West Ham.

When people say something about this, that or the other, I just say, “Who cares?” We were on a cruise ship and my wife was talking to an American. He was talking about the weather in the north-east of the US, which was horrendous. My wife said, “Who cares?” I said, “You’re nicking my lines.”

I come from a time of loyalty. Players move clubs quickly now, sometimes for the money, and then they kiss the badge. Badge-kissers irritate me.

Women are quite capable of doing any job as well as a man. There’s no argument at all from me about why we can’t have women referees.

Some of my World Cup teammates smoked. Jack Charlton did and Bobby Charlton had a few. I’ve heard about people having a fag at half-time, but I never saw that.

I refuse to queue for most things, though occasionally you just have to. There’s a supermarket near me that’s quite popular and they’re giving free coffees away. I don’t want to wait in line for 20 minutes to get a pain aux raisins.

After the World Cup, my parents looked at me as a celebrity as opposed to their son, which I found strange. That’s what I felt, but I may have been totally wrong.

I binge on Breaking Bad, but I haven’t seen the final series yet. I’m so addicted to it that when I went on holiday to Arizona, I watched the first four series all over again. I’m also quite keen on wildlife programmes.

Jimmy Greaves did a 15-minute comical piece at some awards and said, “Wayne Rooney’s now on £300,000 a week. We wouldn’t earn that in three or four lifetimes.” I think it’s best to clarify I’m not bitter about the money they earn. The Premier League is worth billions and the players are a vital part of it so they’re dragged along from a financial point of view. Good luck to them.

Some people can adjust to a different culture. Others find it difficult. There was one player [Ian Rush] who said, “I couldn’t settle in Italy. It was like living in a foreign country.” That’s excellent.

I don’t like being doorstepped. In business, when you want to see somebody then you have to make an appointment. If you just turn up, they’ll tell you to bugger off.

It’s my wife’s 70th birthday this year. It’s also our 50th wedding anniversary. That’s in October, so we haven’t made it yet; we may get divorced before then. You could analyse a relationship until you’re blue in the face. I’ve got no idea why it works but the great thing is that it has done. I’ve never thought about being with anybody else. Not for a second.

I’m in the gym most days. When you get to my age, you’re not trying to improve. Maintaining the level you’re already at, that’s the battle. 

A young boy asked me a question the other week. He said, “What was better? Scoring a hat-trick in the World Cup final or being knighted by the Queen?” He was only about seven, so maybe his parents had put him up to it. That was difficult to answer. Lots of other people have been knighted but nobody else has scored a hat-trick in a World Cup final, so on that basis we’ll just give the hat-trick the edge. From time to time I will sit back in a reflective manner and think, “Wow, just to be part of the whole thing and the team and what happened...” The memories are vivid, certainly of the game and a lot of the stuff surrounding it. I remember exactly what I did the next morning, which was cut the grass and wash my car.


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