Which club side is the only one to have won the World Cup? It was a question from my dad that, as a youngster, had me scratching my head. Only countries could win the thing not clubs I’d answer. Nonsense West ‘Am did he insisted.

Hammers fans like him, he hailed from Essex and worked at Tilbury Docks, would always maintain that without Hurst, Moore and Peters England would never have won it in ’66.

Those Irons (West Ham were formed as Thameside Ironworks) were the absolute core of the only England team ever to grace the world football stage rather than stumble around on it.

And what a core it was. I was reminded of this last Friday at the Best of British charity lunch at the Grand run by the Rockinghorse charity and its formidable chief Ryan Heal. You don’t say no to Ryan when he comes around rattling his

collection tins for his excellent cause.

Sir Geoff Hurst was the guest speaker after standing in for legendary 66 goalkeeper Gordon Banks who had been taken ill. It was one hell of a substitution to be fair.

Geoff looks nowhere near his 74 years. Lean, tanned and agile I reckon he could still hit the roof of the net with something close to the power he did all those years ago at Wembley as some people were “on the pitch”.

He still remains the only footballer ever to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final.

But what really stood out as he humorously and modestly took us back a staggering 50 years ago was just how much he and the boys of 66 are as much mythology as reality.

Over the years, starved of any similar success, the 11 men and their stiff upper-lipped manager Alf Ramsay have been frozen in heroic joyous limbo by the rest of us, their feats and celebrations on constant loop. Nobby forever with the

cup lid on his head in a pixie jig of pleasure. Those players are a Mount Rushmore for our minds.

Back to that West Ham core. Martin Peters nicknamed The Ghost because of his ability to drift into the penalty box undetected to devastating effect, described by Ramsay as ten years ahead of his time. The never-to-be-bettered Bobby Moore, the best defender the planet has ever seen.

Geoff told us that for that famous fourth goal the captain had intercepted a ball in his own penalty box as the Germans pushed for a late equaliser and as Jack Charlton shouted in his best Anglo Saxon for him to hoof it into the stands

Moore brought the ball down with his chest, played a quick one/two and then pinged the perfect pass to Hurst to score that clinching goal.

And as for that goal? Up until Friday I’d assumed that super cool Hurst had picked that top corner spot with the clear eye of an assassin. Not a bit of it. What he actually thought was if he hit it hard enough it would soar into the crowd and waste precious seconds as the ref eyed his watch.

They thought it was all over. It was then as the ball rocketed into the net.

So West Ham really did win the World Cup as my dad still insists. Many people are sick of us always having to hark back to 1966 for our last triumph but I’m not so sure. The late 60s were a time of change for the better, of a freeing of the spirit and yet a humbler footballer-gets-bus-to-work age.

Compared with our anxious, fretful, uptight nation today, as seen in the current EU Referendum debate, and our overpaid overhyped soccer stars I’m not so sure I wouldn't rather keep those men in their lustrous red shirts and sideburns forever

dancing on that pitch as a reminder of golden days. 

The Argus: Les Dawson (620px)

Talking of another age the comedian at the lunch Aaron James kept the Great and the Good audience peppered with a string of ancient and decidedly un-PC jokes most of which had them laughing out loud if occasionally looking at each other to see if they really should.

I’m sure I’d heard one of them originally from the late great Les Dawson so you’ll know straight away it concerns a mother-in-law.

The police came around and told me they’d some bad news, said James. My mother in law had been found floating face down in the Channel with a lobster clinging to each limb. The police asked me what I wanted to do.

You have two I’ll have two and we’ll set her out again on the morning tide, I said.

As I say the oldens are often the bestens.