Sir Geoff Hurst was born on this day in 1941. Despite having a career spanning eighteen years, Hurst will forever be known as the first (and so far only) player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup Final. His treble was of course for England against West Germany in the 1966 World Cup Final at Wembley.
Hurst spent the majority of his career at West Ham United, making his debut in February 1960 at the age of 18. Four years later, West Ham reached the FA Cup Final and beat Preston North End 3-2 at Wembley. Hurst scored West Ham’s second goal of the game before Ronnie Boyce scored the winner in the last minute and The Hammers won the FA Cup for the first time in their history.
Two years after the FA Cup triumph, Hurst was back at Wembley with England in the World Cup. Injury in a group game forced Jimmy Greaves out of the rest of the tournament and Hurst took his place in the team. He would score the winner in the Quarter Final in an ill-tempered match against Argentina before his famous hat-trick in the Final against West Germany. Life would never be the same again.
In 1972, Hurst left West Ham to join Stoke City after being at Upton Park from the age of 15. He would score 39 goals in 130 appearances in the Potteries. He would have played more games but suffered from pneumonia in 1973. The club sent him over to South Africa to recover. In his time in South Africa, Hurst played six games for Cape Town City and scored five times.
After three years at Stoke, Hurst moved down to the Second Division to play for West Bromwich Albion before leaving to play in America for Seattle Sounders. He also appeared three times for Irish side Cork Celtic.
Hurst made 49 appearances for England and scored 24 goals. He also managed Telford United, Chelsea, and in Kuwait. He was awarded an MBE in 1979 and was later knighted in 1998.