Skip to content

Bobby Charlton: England v Mexico 1966


My favourite goal by Mark Leech.

Having been to watch my first big match in 1964 and photographed over 4000 matches since 1974, there are quite a few goals to consider but I want to put club loyalty to one side and professional satisfaction of a favourite photo of a goal, to another.

My favourite goal was Bobby Charlton's belter for England against Mexico during the 1966 World Cup.

The Beatles had been the biggest thing in my childhood up until 1966, although my visit to see Jimmy Greaves at White Hart Lane awoke something in me, not a desire to follow Spurs though, I might add. The Fab Four definitely won the battle of the bedroom wall space but there was a thing called the World Cup that was about to take place here in England.

The 0-0 opening match with Uruguay was a massive anticlimax but by Saturday, England were to play against Mexico and all focus was on this must win game.

Very vague memories of Bobby Charlton running with the ball, then without warning he crashed a cannonball shot into the Mexican net and my Manchester born father, who normally insisted on a snooker style quiet in the room, leapt out of his chair, emitting noises I'd never heard him make before.

At that primary school age we struggled to kick a heavy leather cased football, I recall having a penalty shootout competition in the thick mud and nobody even reached the goal line, so none of the kids round our way could imagine how on earth you could hit a ball so hard. That was the moment football was to take over my life.

Up until July 1966 I had collected the first six Beatles albums, either as birthday presents or with saved pocket money. In August they released the album Revolver, something which passed me by completely as the new season fixtures were out and I wanted to try and get to see all eleven players who had won the World Cup for England.

From that moment onwards, my money would only be spent on football related things.

I've since gone back and bought all the other Beatles albums on CD, not a patch on the old mono 32 rpm vinyl.

Frame not included.