Across the world, Sir Geoff Hurst MBE certainly needs no introduction, as he is a sporting legend, who is still the only player to ever score a Hat Trick in a World Cup final.
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Sir Geoff made his name with club side West Ham United, with whom he played 499 league and cup appearances, scoring 248 goals. He was the player of the year 3 times and with West Ham won the F.A.Cup in 1964 the European Cup Winner Cup in 1965. However, it was with the national side that launched Sir Geoff into becoming a world Football Icon, not only as being part of the England team that won the World Cup in 1966, but also scoring a hat trick in that final. This in turn gave Kenneth Wolstenholme a career long after commentating with those immortal words "They think its all over --- it is now". In the autumn of 1998 the BBC announced that the England fourth goal (Sir Geoff's third) with Kenneth uttering those immortal words, has been the most shown/popular sporting piece of footage ever seen on the T.V.
After leaving West Ham, Sir Geoff then played for Stoke City with 100 appearances & 30 goals, and then West Bromwich Albion for 1 year with two goals. Then as player/ manager for Telford and then he had a spell playing in America, and Kuwait. He became the assistant coach to the England National Team under Ron Greenwood from 1977 to 1982, and then became the manager of Chelsea for 2 years. After leaving his career in football. Sir Geoff embarked on his second career as an administrator of warranties and this started with Motorplan. This company was bought by London General Holdings and Sir Geoff became a director of this company, which in turn was bought out by the Aon group, now the worlds 2nd largest insurance company. His role within this company as Managing Director of the domestic appliance division.
Sir Geoff very much wished to concentrate and succeed in his second career and therefore by choice stayed out of football and the public eye for a number of years. In the early 90's, however he was asked by a number of people to lend his name for endorsements, and from using his name and face with a national double glazing company he started to work on the after dinner circuit, around the country including the gentlemen's sports evenings. The turning point for this was in 1996, not only the 30-year anniversary of winning the World Cup, but also the hosting of the Euro 96 championships in England. His public image in 1996 was very much brought to the forefront of media attention, with the orange ball saga. Which not only made front page of national newspapers for two days running, but kept in media news for over a week. This resulted in comments being made in the Houses of commons, by Tony Banks MP and fuelled a war between national newspapers each bidding for Sir Geoff exclusively.
This was also a very busy year for Sir Geoff, not only with television appearances, but also joining his former teammates Martin Peters, Gordon Banks, Roger Hunt, George Cohen and Jackie Charlton on a national theatre tour, which went to forty towns and cities across the U.K. In addition, at this time Sir Geoff produced a talking book with Martin Peters called 'Memories of 66'. He also featured in a number of videos about England's team in 66. With the immediate glare of 1966, Sir Geoff was hoping for a quiet life in 1997, however, having created a successful management team around him in 1996 they had other plans and Sir Geoff was invited to be an FA/Government spokesman in regard to the 2006 bid hopefully bring the World Cup championships back to England on the 40th anniversary of England winning the previous World Cup. Sir Geoff was also asked and agreed to become involved with The Football Hall of Fame.
A state of the art football attraction that was based in County Hall London it opened in the spring 1999. He was then asked to be the chairman of the selection committee, choosing the players to be enrolled into the Hall of Fame. There were also a number of commercial deals that were set up with corporate companies, being the fact that 1998 was the World Cup year. These included working intensively with McDonald's, which included training sessions with children, a guided tour of Wembley, visits to McDonald's restaurants and the launching of McDonald's Hat Trick competition, and Coca-Cola also used Sir Geoff when the World cup came to this country on a promotional tour.
A number of speaking engagements across the World for various different companies, including Proctor and Gamble, Toyota, The World Sponsorship Council, Lloyds bank (the list of Blue chip companies is endless.) Some of the speeches were just an entertaining after dinner speech others an educational/ motivational address, to which standing ovations proved that Sir Geoff Hurst is far more than a footballer that got lucky on one hot July afternoon. The pinnacle of 1998 was the Knighthood of Sir Geoff Hurst MBE, which was announced just before the World Cup competition, which again made front-page news and of course was featured on every television and radio station throughout the UK. The knighthood itself once again saw international TV and media coverage.
Sir Geoff spent his world cup 98 travelling backward and forwards to France, entertaining corporate clients and even guest spots on Chinese Television. He featured in two football pop videos, but sadly could not equal the success of two number one's in 1996 with Simply Red and Three Lions but managed to achieve one number one hit, again with 'Three Lions'. Although featured more predominantly as a Steve McQueen look-a-like in The Great Escape Football Song video. Five Television adverts, which showed Gary Linneker, had some competition to deal with. Sony used Sir Geoff Hurst MBE for a campaign promoting TV’s which meant life size cut out of him featured in not only Sony stores but electrical retailers across the UK (about 1200 across the country). Along side this with his fellow 66 team members, in advertising campaigns in Burton's, Sainsbury’s, and Marks & Spencer's, and Capital One credit cards
Sir Geoff has been invited to be the honoured guest at a number of international games at Wembley, a role that is usually filled by royalty. He was chosen to accompany the Queen at the 1998 Chelsea Flower show. Sir Geoff has been adopted by the Legal profession as the expert witness, concerning football injuries and high court cases relating to tackles on the field. Toyota has also asked Sir Geoff to endorse their Lexus range of vehicles.
1999 and 2000 found Sir Geoff travelling around the world as an ambassador for the FA 2006 campaign, With the opening of the FA Premier League Hall of Fame, Sir Geoff alongside the Director of Football Gary Trysdale embarked on an extensive and exhausting media campaign, with the night before the opening Sir Geoff having to endure being interviewed by 24 different film crews. Geoff has been used extensively with the selling off of Wembley and the highlight of the year was being invited by Kevin Keegan to join the then currant England squad at the start of the Euro 2000 competition, this along with the selling off of all his personnel memorabilia the shirt now holds the record of the highest value English football shirt sold at £95,000.
The New Millennium showed Sir Geoff is being featured very heavily and he can stand up as one of the Sporting icons of the old century and to emphasise this in a recent poll held by the Observer and Channel Four TV, it indicated that the nation's fifth favourite footage of film of all time was that of Geoff Hurst scoring his 3rd goal in the 1966 World Cup, which was behind footage of the assassination of President Kennedy, Man Landing on the moon, the death of Lady Diana, and the release of Nelson Mandela. In October Geoff was honoured to receive an Honourable Doctorate from the University of Anglia polytechnic, in Chelmsford Essex. Geoff also recorded a TV advert with McDonald’s. 2001 was spent mainly on corporate activities and the later part of the year promoting his book “1966 and All That” which became a number 1 best seller and by the end of the year reached 100,000 copies. For 2002 10,000 words were added and the amount of paperbacks sales surprised everybody. Being a World Cup year the focus was again drawn towards the 1966 team and a national advertising campaign for a low cloistral margarine kept the whole team busy. Geoff combined his heavy work load with McDonald’s as director of football along with commercial bookings and breathed a sigh of relief when Ronaldo the Brazilian player was substituted in the World Cup final after scoring 2 goals.
In 2003 Geoff was asked to be an ambassador for the Royal Marbella Group, his diary filled with appearances, dinners and motivational work. He was honoured to lead out the teams (Manchester Utd and Arsenal) for the charity shield the first game of the new 2003-2004 season. In 2004 Geoff worked mainly abroad with Euro 2004, and then working at conferences for various international companies, the unusual highlight was unveiling a statue in Azerbaijan to celebrate the life of the Russian linesman from the World cup final in 1966.
In 2005 McDonald’s kept Geoff busy across the UK while more and more international companies used Geoff across the World for conferences. A re launch of the '1966 and All That' 40th anniversary edition was realised. Front-page news across Europe as Sir Geoff Hurst MBE made comments about onfield antics of David Beckham. Geoff started the “meet the public” events in Shopping centres across the UK. World wide search engine Google provided Geoff with a media service showing somewhere in the World at least 1 paper was talking about him every day of the year from Deli to New York and to make Front page news in December in the New York times showed in he has moved from just an ex sportsman to an “English ambassador” for non sports fans as well as the footie fans. With 2006 being world cup year Geoff made 16 front pages in UK national newspapers. 'The Sun' newspaper has featured him four times on their font page. With national 4 national TV ads yet another book, (30,000 copies sold) a DVD, a football song that went in the charts at number 13, an extensive World appearance tour which will took him to Australia, Qatar, all over Europe he was featured on every TV channel across Europe and CNN interviewed him twice giving him exposure to millions of people across the world. MacDonald’s reported they had exposure that would have cost them £12 million pounds in advertising. Geoff's book was one of the of sports books of the year as voted by various newspapers and readers.
In 2007 Geoff spent the first 3 months away but used the opportunity of cruising back to the UK for a couple of speeches there’s nothing amazing about this but when the client asked for 2 different entertaining speeches it made it slightly harder but Geoff managed to get standing ovations on both occasions. The untimely death of Alan Ball quick projected Geoff back into the spot light in the media across the world. With the new Wembley opened he is the obvious choice for clients and already has worked for many companies including Wembley themselves. On cup final day, Geoff along with Sir Henry Cooper and Sir Bob Geldof were introduced to the capacity crowd and 14 million watching on TV for a quick interview, he also was invited to present the Sports award at the 'Greatest Britons 2007' shown on ITV in May. On both occasions guess who received the biggest acknowledgement from the audiences? Another event in May, Geoff was on the same conference as David Beckham,
2008 was another busy year for Geoff with getting on the front page of many newspapers during Euro 2008, although it was quieter than a year when England were at the championship, dinners and autograph shows kept Geoff from getting bored! Geoff was honoured to be Guest of honour for the community shield and VIP guest for the FA cup final. In November the England Manager Fabio Capello invited Geoff to join the England Team for the Game against Germany. In 2009 Sir Geoff was honoured as guest of honour for various Events at Wembley. MacDonald’s kept Geoff busy in the summer with their road shows around the UK. Some slightly different requests found themselves in the diary including the “Weakest Link”, acting as a MC/compare, a restaurant critic, The autograph market was delighted when Geoff appeared at various autograph conventions. In 2010 the charity 'Sparkes' announced that Sir Geoff Hurst MBE would be their president for 2010.