It is 50 years since England won the football World Cup and became champions of the world.
For those of us who were around in 1966 in was a time to remember and was a high spot in a decade that was like no other before or since. It was the swinging sixties and in the words of the then Prime Minister “we had never had it so good”.
There was a local connection to the success at Wembley in that Shirebrook lad Ray Wilson was a member of the England team that day and he certainly had a golden summer that year. Only a few weeks prior to winning the World Cup Ray was in the Everton team that beat Sheffield Wednesday and lifted the FA Cup, so it was a double success for him. That first result did not go down very will in some parts of Shirebrook as many people there supported the Wednesday.
Some would say it serves them right as they should be Stags fans. I don’t recall there being a special celebration in the village and this was probably due to the fact that Ray had left the area some years earlier to seek fame and fortune in the world of soccer. He wasn’t the first or last star to move on, virtually all our successful sportspeople/media celebrities/pop singers have felt the need to set up home elsewhere. The sad fact is none of them have returned to the Mansfield area once their career is over. I am afraid it says a lot about the poor quality of life most people in our part of the world experience. Former mayor Tony Egginton said his biggest regret is that he did not establish the cultural quarter in our town during his time in office. I can fully understand his disappointment. Mansfield needs regenerating, and sooner rather than later.