Tasty souvenir of our 1966 heroes to go under hammer

IPSWICH: A treasured Sir Alf Ramsey testimonial dinner menu signed by the entire 1966 England World Cup winning team will go under the hammer this week.

The menu is a particularly poignant memento of England’s one and so far only World Cup Final triumph, masterminded by former Ipswich Town manager Sir Alf, because it was from a dinner staged in his honour shortly after he was sacked as national manager on May 1, 1974.

England’s 1966 World Cup players thought so highly of Sir Alf that on July 30, 1974 –the eighth anniversary of English football’s and Sir Alf’s greatest achievement – the whole of that illustrious 1966 team reunited at the Cafe Royal, in London, to salute him.

Prime Minister Harold Wilson and 1966 England captain Bobby Moore paid warm tributes to Sir Alf’s brilliance.

England’s team doctor, Dr Neil Phillips, was also there and astutely got the England players to sign his menu.

Now Dr Phillips, retired and living near Malvern, Worcestershire, is selling the menu he has treasured for the past 36 years. It is expected to sell for between �400 and �600 at Bonhams, in Chester, on Wednesday.

Dr Phillips recalled the momentous day that he was at his surgery in Redcar, north Yorkshire, when he received the call from Alf Ramsey (then plain Mr Ramsey, he did not become Sir Alf until 1967) which would change his life forever.

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As Dr Phillips lifted the receiver to his ear, a voice on the other end announced: “Ramsey. You won’t know me.”

Dr Phillips said: “At first I thought that it was one of our patients, but my receptionist told me the call was from London. It was Alf Ramsey who had just been appointed manager of the England football team. I thought: why on earth is he ringing me?’”

Sir Alf had heard about Dr Phillips’ work at Middlesbrough Football Club and invited him to become medical officer for the England Under-23 team.

That brief call eventually led to Dr Phillips becoming England’s doctor for three World Cup finals – in 1966, 1970 and 1974.

But when he first took over the England team had no medical kit and not even a plaster.

“I went round and virtually emptied the local chemist’s shop,” said Dr Phillips. “He must have thought it was Christmas.”

Dr Phillips’ memories of his days working with England and Sir Alf are contained in his newly-published autobiography, Doctor To The World Champions.

When Sir Alf Ramsey started as England manager on May 1, 1963, he was on �4,500 a year or �90 a week. That was roughly what he had received as Ipswich Town manager. His England salary later rose to �7,000 and then to �9,500.

His bonus for masterminding England’s only World Cup final triumph was �5,000. When he was sacked after 11 years as England manager he was given an �8,000 pay off and a pension of �1,200 a year.

Throughout his England reign he continued to live quietly and modestly in his beloved Ipswich. He was 79 when he died in Ipswich on April 28, 1999.

n Do you remember 1966 – the year Sir Alf Ramsey led England to World Cup glory? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or you can send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@evening star.co.uk