Martin Peters: 1966 World Cup winner and West Ham legend dies aged 76

World Cup winner and West Ham legend Martin Peters has died aged 76, his family have announced.

Peters, who joined West Ham aged 15, spent 11 years with the club until he became Britain's first £200,000 player in a move to Tottenham in 1970.

He scored for England in their 1966 World Cup final win over West Germany.

West Ham said "the 1966 World Cup winner passed away peacefully" on Saturday after "a long and courageous battle with illness".

"He is the fifth member of English football's greatest-ever team now sadly lost - along with Alan Ball, Ray Wilson, Gordon Banks and his fellow West Ham Academy hero and great friend, Bobby Moore," the club added.

His former England team-mate Sir Geoff Hurst said it was a "very sad day for football and for me personally".

"Martin Peters was one of the all-time greats and a close friend and colleague of mine for in excess of 50 years," Hurst continued.

"A fellow World Cup final goalscorer and my West Ham partner for years along with Bobby Moore. RIP old friend."

Sir Bobby Charlton, who also played alongside Peters in 1966 said: "We shared one of the greatest days of our lives at Wembley and the fact Martin is one of only two Englishman to have scored in a World Cup final gives him a special place in England's history of the game.

"He was a fantastic footballer. As a team-mate he was someone I could trust completely to do his job and I am proud to have shared that great day with him."

Peters won the European Cup Winners' Cup with West Ham in 1965 as well as the Uefa Cup and two League Cups with Spurs.

After five years at Norwich he moved to Sheffield United for a season before retiring in 1981.

Peters, who was awarded an MBE for services to football in 1978, still regularly attended West Ham games as a club ambassador.

'A lightning moment for a humble legend'

Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and Ray Wilson feature in a statue near West Ham's former stadium
Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and Ray Wilson feature in a statue near West Ham's former stadium

Peters was only handed his England debut by manager Alf Ramsey shortly before the 1966 World Cup and he impressed in a 2-0 win over Yugoslavia.

Two months later his goal looked set to win the final at Wembley, only for West Germany to level with seconds remaining before Hurst sealed a 4-2 win and completed his hat-trick in extra time.

Asked about his goal, Peters once said: "The emotion was like being struck by lightning, it was unbelievable."

Ramsey himself said Peters was "10 years ahead of his time".

West Ham said Peters, Hurst and Moore were able to "ensure immortality for Ramsey's team".

The club's joint owners David Sullivan and David Gold, said: "In many ways, though, Martin's greatest legacy is not the World Cup medal itself, but the example that he provides to every young player who walks through the door of our Academy.

"The word 'legend' is used all too freely nowadays. But Martin Peters is a true legend. A legend of West Ham United. A legend of world football. And his contribution to our club and our game will never, ever be forgotten."

Peters won 67 caps for England and made over 700 appearances for clubs throughout his career.

His former West Ham team-mate Trevor Brooking told BBC Sport: "The best description of Martin was that he was very humble. They enjoyed the World Cup but it was probably only when each decade went by and England could never repeat it that the enormity of what they achieved grew.

"Martin never revelled in it. He was very humble, good company and never went looking for any headlines."

'Icon, hero, gentleman' - reaction

Frank Bruno (centre) and Sir Geoff Hurst (right) have both paid tribute to Peters
Frank Bruno (centre) and Sir Geoff Hurst (right) have both paid tribute to Peters

Prime Minister Boris Johnson: Very sad news. No England fan will ever forget the heroics of Martin Peters and his fantastic team-mates. My sympathies go out to all of those who knew and loved him.

Former England striker Gary Lineker: Sorry to hear that Martin Peters has passed away. One of our World Cup winning heroes. A great player and a true gentleman.

Former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton: So sad to hear of the passing of Martin Peters, World Cup 1966 winner, such a gentleman and a player ahead of his time according to Sir Alf Ramsey. I played with him at England when my career started and was very fond of him, I will miss him. RIP.

Former England striker Alan Shearer: He was instrumental in England winning the World Cup in 1966. Football has lost a giant of the game, an absolute legend.

Former world heavyweight champion Frank Bruno: Really sad news about Martin Peters. He was one of my heroes as a kid watching West Ham. A brilliant footballer and a gentleman. RIP Martin Peters.

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce: He was a complete gentleman. I had the pleasure to play against him when I was young and he was at the end of his career and he gave me a lesson in how to be a footballer. They don't make them like him any more - he was a great, great player.

Former England striker Stan Collymore: Extremely sad to hear of the passing of West Ham, Spurs and England legend, Martin Peters. An English sporting icon and a lovely man who'll be sadly missed.

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