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England’s World Cup 22 1970…and the ‘Unlucky Six’ / England’s World Cup 22 1970…and the ‘Unlucky Six’

England’s World Cup 22 1970…and the ‘Unlucky Six’

By on 7 June 2018

It was in the February 1970 issue of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly that Pat Collins made his predictions as to what he thought Alf Ramsey’s final 22 would look like for the Mexico World Cup later that year. Soccer Attic has republished that article here. With the 2018 tournament in Russia approaching, it’s interesting to read how the build-up to a past finals was covered – in particular when England were going in as holders and one of the favourites.

As World Champions, and with what many considered a better squad than had lifted the Jules Rimet trophy four years earlier, expectations of the England team were realistically high.

As is generally the case in the modern era, Sir Alf was due to name a preliminary squad of 28 or so names that he would take to the initial training camp and warm up (in this case in Columbia). He would then announce the final 22 a week before the tournament began. Those who missed out were eventually known as the ‘Unlucky Six’. Collins gives his pick with perhaps a little more objectivity and less loyalty to the boys of ’66 than Sir Alf would eventually exhibit. We have listed the actual final 22 at the end of the article with a few stats and observations of our own. As usual you can read the original pages of the article by clicking and tapping to zoom in as necessary.

Begging Sir Alf’s Pardon – But Here’s My 22 For Mexico

By Pat Collins

Should it transpire that the England World Cup party are a full seven weeks away on the longest-ever overseas stint by our national side this summer, then it is certain they will be bringing the pot back after a successful defence on the Mexican heights.

The wish then for all who hope to cheer a further success is that we won’t be seeing them back until sometime on the morning of Tuesday, June 23. . . .

Because that date would mean a general return . . . with t’Cup!

Almost any other day or date—especially earlier, of course—would mean that things had not quite worked out right for “Ramsey’s Rovers.”

This time it will be the largest party we’ve ever sent on a foreign mission because of the Mexican finals and the couple of warm-up matches before we try to hold what we have. About 28 players in fact, 22 of whom will have been pencilled in as our World Cup performers as the rules call for.

Because of the long tour of duty this summer and the resulting absence from the home hearth with all the domestic arrangements needed to be made, particularly for the family men chosen, the notification of selection will be made in good time.

Let’s see how one would go about anticipating Sir Alf’s final 22 at this stage. . . .

I would first base my playing party on the same pattern as he did in 1966. That is, THREE goalkeepers; FOUR fullbacks; FIVE half-backs and TEN forwards. Here we go then. . . .

GOALKEEPERS: Gordon Banks (Stoke).
Peter Bonetti (Chelsea).
Peter Shilton (Leicester).
FULL-BACKS: Keith Newton (Everton).
Emlyn Hughes (Liverpool).
Terry Cooper (Leeds).
Tommy Wright (Everton).
HALF-BACKS: Bobby Moore (West Ham).
Alan Mullery (Spurs).
Brian Labone (Everton).
Paul Madeley (Leeds).
Norman Hunter (Leeds).
FORWARDS: Alan Ball (Everton).
Martin Peters (West Ham).
Colin Bell (Manchester City).
Geoff Hurst (West Ham).
Francis Lee (Manchester City).
Bobby Charlton (Manchester Utd.).
Allan Clarke (Leeds).
Peter Thompson (Liverpool).
Ralph Coates (Burnley).
Ian Moore (Nottingham F.).

Five Clubs provide 15 of the 22. Those now going most strongly for the honours, naturally, have the biggest representation, always excepting West Ham.Only  one player from outside the First Division … Leicester’s Peter Shilton. No Jackie Charlton.

That last is not the calculated shock omission. I feel that England have the ideal deputy for Big Jack in his clubmate, Paul Madeley. Madely and his versatility would be a great man to have around with his ability to fill in almost anywhere. He would be good enough for me as No.2 to Brian Labone. As cover for other positions, he would be priceless. Just as I see Emlyn Hughes filling in equally efficiently either at full-back or wing-half.

Forwards, as always, present the biggest problem. We could do with more creative players in the mould of Ball, Bell and Bobby Charlton. Then, what country couldn’t? But we, so well-off in the way of backs and half-backs, are still thin underneath that layer just mentioned.

If much of it sounds to be the mixture mostly as before that is not to say that any real outstanding contenders have not been given their chance.

I see Allan Clarke now in front of Jeff Astle. I would have Peter Thompson‘s weaving at hand . . . hope to see Ian Moore produce the thump he can at home and insist on the industry and consistency of Coates.

Peter Osgood just fails to make my 22 . . . he has all the makings to understudy, even equal, Bell and Ball. He is the type of forward we have waited for. He somehow manages to keep us waiting. But he WOULD be in my party of twenty-eight, or whatever size is decided.

He with Jackie Charlton, Jeff Astle, Paul Reaney and Colin Harvey would complete the whole show.

So there it is . . . I have kept eight of the last World Cup Final squad. Two of them never got a game—Peter Bonetti and Norman Hunter. It could well happen that way again, which is rather tough on both of them.

Bobby Charlton will certainly be among the 40 names submitted for the first World Cup nominations. Some are doubting his making the final 22 because of a lean tour last summer in Mexico. But I think we shall be needing him. His presence will mean some sort of home record … he will then be the first Englishman to be nominated for FOUR World Cup final series.

Bobby was in the party which saw England reach the quarter-finals in Sweden, 1958. The fact that he never kicked a ball out there was the biggest debating point for critics and fans who saw our chances frittered away by forward failings.

Looking back on that first 40 which Ramsey nominated as the basis for his forecast that we would win the Cup, still makes interesting reading. . .

Three are now finished with active League football … Tony Waiters, serving Liverpool as a coach; Ron Flowers, who is player-manager of Telford United, the Southern League club and luckless George Cohen, forced to quit through injury and now devoting his great spirit and terrific enthusiasm to the youngsters at Fulham.

Injury also took the gilt off the greatest full-back England has seen since the war—maybe even longer—in Ray Wilson. Ramsey voted George and Ray the best partnership England has ever boasted. Few would disagree after their World Cup showings.

Three of the 1966 nominations, Jimmy Greaves, Roger Hunt and Gordon West have since opted out of England engagements for pretty much the same reasons. . . Hunt and West because they did not want too long a break from their families, Greaves for partly that and also because he did not want to be called up unless more or less guaranteed a game. And remember that Greaves and Hunt set out in July, 1966 as regulars in the side which opened against Uruguay.

When the 40 were named there were only two players from outside the First Division—Flowers and Terry Paine—to disturb the assumption that the best players came from there and it was natural that Ramsey would rely almost entirely on the top layer for his teams.

The players have since been shuffled by the years . . . 26 are still in the First Division; 10 in the Second; 1 in the Fourth. Then we have Cohen, Flowers and Waiters as stated.

Exactly one half have never since made the full England side, never able to add to caps already won in the case of men, like Ron Springett, Jimmy Armfield, Gerry Byrne, Gordon Milne, Joe Baker, Barry Bridges, George Eastham, Gordon Harris, Fred Pickering, Derek Temple, Terry Venables and John Hollins.

Or to get their first caps as with Chris Lawler, Marvin Hinton, John Kaye, Peter Osgood and Tommy Smith.

And the one World Cup game each of John Connelly, Terry Paine and Ian Callaghan at Wembley has been their last for England.

The chances now are slight for any further or fresh rewards coming the way of the majority of those twenty players.

Osgood, as I’ve said, has a great chance of making the party at least. So too has Liverpool’s rugged Tommy Smith. And a really fine come-back to his best this season puts Chelsea’s John Hollins back in the picture.

But I wouldn’t go any further than those three . . .

From now on we shall be seeing, hearing and reading more each day about Mexico and the final rounds there in June. But I’d like to leave you with this little poser from last time .. . just who were the fellows who made up England’s 22 in 1966?

Try it out. I’ve been over nearly all the ground for you but you will still rate highly if you can name them all. If not, turn this page upside down.

[Not upside down for these purposes]
Banks, Bonetti, Springett, Cohen, Wilson, Armfield, Byrne, Moore, J. Charlton, Hunter, Stiles, Flowers, Ball, Hurst, Peters, Hunt, R. Charlton, Callaghan, Greaves, Paine, Connelly and Eastham


The Final Pick

Where Ramsey’s final 22 differed from Pat Collins we have shown the names in red.

Gordon Banks, Peter Bonetti, Alex Stepney, Keith Newton, Emlyn Hughes, Terry Cooper, Tommy Wright, Bobby Moore, Alan Mullery, Brian Labone, Nobby Stiles, Norman Hunter, Jack Charlton, Alan Ball, Martin Peters, Colin Bell, Geoff Hurst, Francis Lee, Bobby Charlton, Allan Clarke, Peter OsgoodJeff Astle

The Unlucky Six as they became known were:

Ralph Coates, Peter Thompson, Peter Shilton, Bob McNab, Brian Kidd, David Sadler.

The most surprising omission from Pat Collins’ list was Paul Madeley of Leeds Utd. He didn’t even make Ramsey’s final 40 man squad. However, when teammate Paul Reaney broke his leg in April, Madeley was asked to stand in with every chance he would make the final cut. However, having already made family commitments for the summer, and with little prospect of being first choice, Madeley declined the opportunity.

Ian Moore, well-fancied by Pat Collins, never played for England again following his only cap against Holland in January 1970.

Jeff Astle did make the final 22 unlike Collins’ prediction and few people will forget his miss against Brazil in the group match.

Peter Thompson would become one of the unlucky six but was reportedly present at the Bobby Moore arrest in Bogota before the final squad flew to Mexico.

Jeff Astle from Charles Buchan's Football Monthly

Jeff Astle made the squad – never got over that miss

Jack Charlton from Charles Buchan

Jack Charlton left out of Collins’ pick but made Ramsey’s squad

Paul Madeley from Charles Buchan's April 1968

Paul Madeley a surprising omission from Ramsey’s final 40

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