Roger Hunt was not only one of England’s 1966 World Cup winners, but Liverpool’s record league marksman with an unrivalled 244 goals between 1958 and December 1969. His death leaves only Sir Geoff Hurst, Sir Bobby Charlton and George Cohen from the Wembley-winning line-up.
Hunt, born in Golborne, Cheshire, was signed by then-manager Phil Taylor from non-league Stockton Heath, but his career took off under Bill Shankly’s revival of the Reds, which lifted them out of the old Second Division in 1962. His goals were crucial to success in the league in 1964 and 1966, and the FA Cup in between.
Beyond Merseyside Hunt will always be honoured for leading England’s attack in the 1966 World Cup finals. He scored 18 goals in 34 appearances for England after making his debut in 1962 under Walter Winterbottom when still a Second Division player.
With three goals, Hunt was England’s top scorer in the World Cup group stage and played every minute of every match – from the opening goalless draw with Uruguay, to the end of extra-time in the 4-2 victory over West Germany in the final at Wembley.
Famously it was Hunt, running in on goal, who turned to celebrate after Geoff Hurst’s shot for the controversial third goal struck the underside of the crossbar, fell behind the line and ricocheted out. Hurst has always said it was Hunt’s reaction that convinced him about the validity of the goal.
Hunt, hailed as “Sir Roger” on the Kop, scored the first goal shown on the opening edition of BBC TV’s Match of the Day Saturday highlights programme in 1964, in a 3-2 win over Arsenal. Keir Radnedge