sport news Roger Hunt obituary: Humble striker far more revered in Liverpool than for 1966 ...

sport news Roger Hunt obituary: Humble striker far more revered in Liverpool than for 1966 ...
sport news Roger Hunt obituary: Humble striker far more revered in Liverpool than for 1966 ...

All our obituaries are coming too late to let Roger Hunt know the professional esteem, the human respect, the unqualified admiration and the warmth of affection in which he was held.

We kept quiet about him. Just as he kept quiet about himself. Kept quiet far too long. In my case 55 years too long.

It wasn't deliberate but in almost all those misty-eyed retrospectives written or broadcast about England's solitary World Cup glory of '66, Hunt was overshadowed by the majesty of Bobby Moore, the genius of Bobby Charlton, the miracles of Gordon Banks, the over-drive of Alan Ball, the deterrent called Nobby Stiles, that unique hat-trick by Geoff Hurst, even the ghostliness of Martin Peters.

Roger Hunt started the 1966 World Cup final, when England beat West Germany 4-2 at Wembley, but became one of the forgotten heroes of the triumph

Roger Hunt started the 1966 World Cup final, when England beat West Germany 4-2 at Wembley, but became one of the forgotten heroes of the triumph 

Hunt (right) with Bobby Charlton during England's 1966 World Cup win over Mexico - both players scored in the 2-0 win

Hunt (right) with Bobby Charlton during England's 1966 World Cup win over Mexico - both players scored in the 2-0 win

There were no such problems of recognition at Liverpool, where Hunt is known as 'Sir Roger'. He scored 244 goals in 404 league appearances, helping the club from the second division to champions of the top-flight twice in the 1960s

There were no such problems of recognition at Liverpool, where Hunt is known as 'Sir Roger'. He scored 244 goals in 404 league appearances, helping the club from the second division to champions of the top-flight twice in the 1960s

Only occasionally was anything approaching justice done to the relentless foraging, striker's intelligence, Lancastrian courage and industrial revolutionary power with which Hunt opened up so many of England's avenues to success.

Too often he was casually, idly, wrongly damned by faint praise as the work-horse.

So somehow Roger Hunt became the almost-forgotten man of English football's finest hour.

Not by Hurst, who never fails to credit his partner up front for his contribution to the making those three unique World Cup Final goals.

Not by Liverpool supporters, by whom he remains so beloved that the official website still insists on calling him Sir Roger at every opportunity. Although, like Moore, he was never knighted.

Hunt with Bill Shankly at his Liverpool testimonial match - he remains the club's all-time goalscorer in the league, though Ian Rush surpassed his overall goalscoring record

Hunt with Bill Shankly at his Liverpool testimonial match - he remains the club's all-time goalscorer in the league, though Ian Rush surpassed his overall goalscoring record 

Norman Hunter of Leeds United times his reducer too late to prevent Hunt crossing in the 1965 FA Cup final at Wembley. Hunt scored Liverpool's opening goal early in extra time

Norman Hunter of Leeds United times his reducer too late to prevent Hunt crossing in the 1965 FA Cup final at Wembley. Hunt scored Liverpool's opening goal early in extra time

Hunt was never formally knighted but is known as 'Sir Roger' in the affections of the Kop

Hunt was never formally knighted but is known as 'Sir Roger' in the affections of the Kop 

No-one at Anfield ever forgets that his 244 goals in 404 league appearances had much to do with raising them from the muddy trough of the old second division, to two English championships and their first FA Cup for umpteen years.

That tally remained the Liverpool scoring record until Ian Rush came along. Even then Hunt stayed ahead of the Welsh wizard on Football League goals.

But how many football fans beyond Merseyside can honestly say they remember how many Hunt scored in that halcyon World Cup tournament?

As many, as it happens, as Hurst in the Final itself. One in the 2-0 win against Mexico. Both in the victory over France by the same margin.

Even then not much fuss was made about, or by, the scorer.

But

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