England football legend Jimmy Greaves is selling his 1966 World Cup winner's medal, five years after he received it following a campaign to honour the entire squad. The 74-year-old originally missed out on a medal because he was injured during the tournament's group stage, and back then only the 11 winning players on the pitch at the end of the final received the award.
A campaign led to football's governing body Fifa changing its heart in 2007, paving the way for England's reserves to be honoured. The World Cup squad players and the families of team manager Sir Alf Ramsey and other backroom staff were finally presented with medals by then-prime minister Gordon Brown at a reception at Downing Street in 2009.
But now Greaves - the forgotten hero of 1966 after he was replaced by Sir Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in the final's 4-2 victory over West Germany - has put his medal up for auction at Sotheby's next week. The 18-carat medal, a 5cm gold disc which comes in a wooden case and with a signed letter of authenticity from Greaves, could raise up to £50,000 for the former footballer.
Greaves collecting his medal for the 1966 World Cup
On receiving his medal five years ago, Greaves, a former Tottenham and Chelsea striker, said "Sir Alf would have been proud because he would also have got a medal. Had he lived, we might have got them a bit sooner.'' Also up for sale is finalist Ray Wilson's medal. Wilson, who played left back in Sir Alf's team, won his medal after appearing in all six of England's matches during the campaign. At 32, Wilson was the oldest member of the England team that won the final, his 51st cap.
Wilson sold his medal in 2002 for £80,000, but it is expected to fetch up to £120,000 when it goes under the hammer for a second time. The medals are being sold through Graham Budd Auctions as part of a sale of sporting memorabilia at Sotheby's in London on Monday and Tuesday.
Auctioneer Graham Budd said he thought Greaves' medal would generate a lot of interest, and that it was "extremely likely" that it would remain in the hands of an English collector. He said: "Although he didn't play in the final, unfortunately through no fault of his own, he did play in all three group games, so he did play his part in the path to victory.
"Had he not been injured he could well have played all the way through to the final. I think the medal was well deserved. He is a great name in English football and still a big hero, especially in London football as well."
Most of the members of England's 1966 World Cup-winning team have already sold their medals. As well as Wilson's, medals belonging to goalkeeper Gordon Banks, Nobby Stiles, George Cohen, Martin Peters, Alan Ball, Sir Geoff Hurst and captain Sir Bobby Moore have all been sold over the last two decades.
Only Sir Bobby Charlton, his brother Jack and Roger Hunt still have their medals. Other items under the hammer include Sir Stanley Matthews's 1953 FA Cup winner's medal, which could fetch £60,000, and the 1926 Cheltenham Cold Cup, which could sell for £25,000.