Honour for members of 1966 World Cup squad

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The Independent Online

Members of England's 1966 World Cup-winning squad were presented with winners' medals at a reception in Downing Street yesterday.

When England lifted the World Cup it was customary that only the 11 players on the pitch at the final whistle were awarded medals.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown handed out medals to the squad players and families of the backroom staff.

World Cup winner George Cohen picked up a medal on behalf of the family of the team's manager, Sir Alf Ramsey. Brown said: "It is a tremendous honour to be the person who is presenting you with your medals. We are so proud of all your careers and what you have done."

Among the players collecting a medal was former England captain Jimmy Armfield. He said: "When I heard we were going to get the medals I thought, 'That is wonderful.' And to get it from the Prime Minister is very special."

The Prime Minister told the players that justice had finally been done 43 years after the final. He said: "You made history, you showed that England could win the World Cup and showed that England could host the World Cup tournament."

Cohen, who was asked to receive the manager's medal on behalf of Lady Ramsey, said his former manager would have been very proud.

He then paid tribute to Ramsey. He said: "He expected people to behave in a proper manner and he would not allow anything to detract from what he was trying to do, which was win the World Cup."

Former Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea striker Jimmy Greaves also welcomed the move. He said: "Sir Alf would have been proud because he would also have got a medal. Had he lived, we might have got them a bit sooner."

The players and their families later left Downing Street and boarded an England team coach to take them to Wembley where they were due to be presented on the pitch before last night's England game.

The England players to be awarded medals are: Peter Bonetti, Ron Springett, Jimmy Armfield, Gerry Byrne, Ron Flowers, Norman Hunter, Terry Paine, Ian Callaghan, John Connelly, George Eastham and Jimmy Greaves.

David Cocker accepted a medal on behalf of his father, team physio Les Cocker.

Margaret Shepherdson received a medal on behalf of her husband, team trainer Harold Shepherdson. She was accompanied by her daughter, Linda Spraggon.

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