Roger Hunt, a member of England’s 1966 World Cup winning squad and Liverpool’s second-highest goalscorer ever, has died at the age of 83.
Hunt was central figure in Sir Alf Ramsey’s England squad that delivered the nation’s first and only World Cup win in ’66, playing in attack alongside Sir Geoff Hurst. He played in all six games for England in the tournament and scored three goals.
Hunt was overlooked for a knighthood, prompting Liverpool fans to affectionately coin the nickname ‘Sir Roger’. Hunt received an MBE in 2000.
Hunt, who was born in Glazebury in Lancashire in 1938, scored 285 goals in 492 matches for Liverpool, with his debut coming in September 1959. On the international scene, Hunt played 34 times for England and netted 18 goals.
He was key man under the guidance of legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly, scoring 41 goals in 41 games in the side that won the second tier in 1961-62. His partnership in attack with Ian St John, who passed away in March, is fondly remembered in Liverpool’s glittering history.
Hunt also enjoyed the distinction of scoring the first goal ever shown on the BBC’s Match of the Day highlights programme, a looping volley into the top corner during a 3-2 win over Arsenal on August 22, 1964.
He lived near Warrington with his wife Rowan, having previously been married to Patricia O’Brien, with whom he had two children.
In 1965 Hunt opened the scoring when Liverpool beat Leeds 2-1 after extra-time at Wembley to win the FA Cup for the first time. Three years later, Hunt became Liverpool’s leading scorer in January 1968 with a goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Hunt and Liverpool would also become the champions of England twice, winning the First Division in 1964 and 1966.
Despite his relentless scoring record, one of the Shankly quotes that is engraved into Anfield folklore came when the Reds boss was quizzed about the forward missing chances.
‘Yes Roger Hunt misses a few, but he gets in the right place to miss them,’ Shankly said.
Hunt recalled his fondness of Shankly in an interview with the Liverpool Echo in 2020.
The death of Roger Hunt at the age of 83 leaves just three surviving members from the England team that won the World Cup in 1966.
Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Geoff Hurst and George Cohen are now the only living players from the team that famously and thrillingly defeated West Germany 4-2 after extra time at Wembley.
It remains England’s only major tournament triumph, though Gareth Southgate’s current crop were agonisingly close to beating Italy in the Euro 2020 final this summer.
Hunt started the ’66 final in attack but his industrious performance was always likely to be overshadowed by the hat-trick scored by his strike partner Hurst.
However, Hunt netted three times during the tournament – once in the 2-0 win over Mexico during the group stage and twice in the victory over France by the same scoreline that followed it.
He is a club legend at Liverpool, where he scored 261 goals in 416 matches and remains their all-time leading scorer in league competition.
Fans affectionately referred to Hunt as ‘Sir Roger’ even though he was never formally knighted. He received the MBE in 2000.
Here’s what happened to the rest of the England team that started the 1966 World Cup final.