8 - Early Nerves
In truth, we made a bit of a nervy start to the tournament. I think someone had us down at odds of 10/1 – and on our own soil too! After that first game, I’d imagine the odds would have got longer and the press were saying we had no chance.
I remember the build up quite vividly, it was pandemonium as the excitement built and we made our way from the Hendon Hall Hotel. Crowds had gathered as fans showed their support ahead of our opening fixture against Uruguay.
We couldn’t wait to get out on to that pitch. When the buzzer went, we were up off the bench and down the tunnel. All you could see was the light of the pitch and a strange throbbing noise emanating from the stands. As we got closer to the end of the tunnel the sound was unbelievable, so much so it drove everything else from your mind. The best way to describe it was a sea of sound, movement and colour.
That was our big moment, the opening game and a chance to start the tournament how we meant to go on. The game ended goalless. To say the atmosphere had deflated was an understatement – we couldn’t believe it.
It was a point at least – and against a side that put 10 men behind the ball. But Alf Ramsey wasn’t unhappy with the result. He said the important thing was that we hadn’t lost and that we were still in the competition. “The best from you is yet to come. I know it is,” he told us. He had tremendous faith in the people he chose and he knew nobody was going to let him down, let alone their country. And we didn’t.
Head back to the official website on Thursday as George continues his countdown…