Winning World Cup memories to inspire Euro glory for England from the 1966 Sheffield press team
There is nothing like getting ahead of yourself with England and international football but there is also nothing like looking back at past glories especially when they help bring the present into sharp focus.
My late father, former Sheffield Telegraph and Star, and former Daily Mirror sports journalist Peter Cooper had the good fortune to cover the World Cup in 1966 when the Championship was hosted in England, including three Group B matches and a quarter final at Sheffield Wednesday FC’s Hillsborough Stadium.
As manager Gareth Southgate's England squad set their sights on a European Championship Final at England's Wembley Stadium we are hoping to relive the glory of manager Alf Ramsey's 1966 World Cup Final winning side on home turf.
My father passed down a cherished tournament programme and amazingly well-preserved match ticket stubs which I have treasured in the hope the national side might repeat something like the remarkable 4-2 Final victory over West Germany.
Thousands of fans and the world's international press descended upon Sheffield in the summer of 1966 to watch West Germany, Switzerland, Argentina and Spain and my father and press colleagues welcomed them with open arms and were only too happy to introduce them to Wards' ale and fish and chips.
There was even a friendly match between the Swiss and English press contingent when my father took up his favoured position between the sticks, where he frequently played for a Sheffield press team with the likes of the late Sun sports journalist John Sadler.
My father regaled me with tales of England players Jack and Bobby Charlton and Gordon Banks from 1966 and I now hope our generation will soon be able to pass on stories about the endeavours of Sheffield’s England players Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire from 2021.
Following the 1966 World Cup was among my father's fondest memories in a career that spanned decades of covering Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, Rotherham and Leeds.
I am sure he and some of the 1966 press corps, who are sadly no longer with us, will be looking down from the press box in the sky with their pens poised and their fingers crossed for some divine intervention as football looks to be finally coming home.