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The Independent Online
Uruguay were England's opponents at Wembley on 6 May 1964 when Alf Ramsey, faced with an injury to Jimmy Armfield, his captain and right- back, turned to George Cohen to fill the breach. It was the first of 37 caps for the Fulham player and the start of his World Cup partnership with the Huddersfield (and later Everton) left-back Ray Wilson.

A knee injury forced Cohen into retirement before he was 30 but, happily, his England career had paved the way for the life he enjoys today, as a property developer based in Tunbridge Wells.

"My second game was in Portugal," he said. "It was on that trip that Jimmy Greaves introduced me to Sidney Brickman, who was in the property business at the time. He asked me if I would consider going into it myself when I finished playing."

They became close friends and Cohen joined Brickman's company as a land buyer in 1970. After Brickman's death, he set up on his own in 1976.

"With the recession it has not always been easy but, although profits are not huge, we make a reasonable living. It is an exciting business because there is always the chance to become quite wealthy quite quickly - or quite poor."

Cohen's survival instincts have been sharpened by personal trauma: in the late 1970s he won a four-year battle against cancer. "At one time there didn't seem to be much hope for me, but thanks to the Royal Marsden refusing to let me go I'm still here."

Now 55, Cohen has two sons, Andrew, 30, and Anthony, 27, and a two-year- old grandson, Lewis. He lives with his wife Daphne in Tunbridge Wells.

Jon Culley