As the only man ever to score a hat-trick in a FIFA World Cup final, Sir Geoff Hurst automatically elevated himself into the football hall of fame. His famous treble for England in the 4-2 triumph over West Germany in 1966 helped his country to World Cup glory for the first, and so far, only time in history.   

Despite only making his international debut earlier that year, Hurst was immortalised for his integral role in all four of England’s goals that day – he inadvertently assisted Martin Peters for England second goal – but his glistening career went far beyond that historic afternoon at Wembley.  


Hurst played for West Ham United in Division One after rising through the ranks of their youth academy. The menacing centre-forward carried his team to FA Cup glory in 1964, scoring in the 3-2 final defeat over Preston North End. Continuing this newfound momentum, he led the Hammers to rare European success by winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup 1965 alongside England teammate and captain Bobby Moore.

After 14 years, 500 appearances and 242 goals for West Ham, Hurst made the move to Stoke City in 1972. Despite contracting pneumonia, the 30-year-old missed just four games in his first season at the club and proved pivotal in the Potter’s escape from relegation.

By this point a household name and adored veteran of the game, Hurst welcomed fellow Stoke player Alan Hudson into his home when the troubled but talented midfielder needed support. The pair worked phenomenally, both in the house and on the pitch, as Stoke stormed to two consecutive fifth place finishes – a career high for Hurst.

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After a brief stint with West Bromwich Albion to top off 17 years in Division One, Hurst turned his attention to management. He joined his former West Ham boss Ron Greenwood in coaching England at the 1980 European Championships and the 1982 World Cup, before taking over then-Division Two side Chelsea.

However, for all of Hurst’s incredible achievements in the game, his football career almost eluded him. The England star showed promise in other sporting avenues as a talented cricketer, juggling the start of his senior career at West Ham with wicketkeeper training and even playing a first-class match for Essex. Despite seriously considered leaving the Hammers to pursue a cricket career, Hurst decided it was football he would exclusively focus on.

Hurst was inducted in the English Football Hall of Fame in 2004, and is one of the few footballers to be knighted for his astonishing contribution to the game.

Hurst is probably, on reflection, thankful he didn’t choose a career in cricket. English football certainly is!