England’s 1966 World Cup-winning right-back George Cohen has died aged 83, his former club Fulham has announced.
Cohen played every minute of the home-winning campaign and made a total of 37 caps for the national team.
Fulham wrote on the club’s official Twitter account: “Everyone at Fulham Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of our greatest players – and dear esteemed guests. he – George Cohen MBE.”
Cohen has spent his entire club career with Fulham, making 459 appearances for the home team.
Fulham described Cohen as “gifted with tremendous speed”, adding: “He has become one of the top attacking full-backs in the game, setting the tone for the way football is played today. .”
He began his time at Craven Cottage as a member of the coaching staff but quickly made his mark in the first team, making his debut against Liverpool in March 1957 at the age of 17.
His impressive performances earned him his England debut in May 1964 in a 2–1 win over Uruguay at Wembley. Cohen established himself as his country’s number one right-back and played every minute of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning campaign, including 120 minutes in the final 4-2 win over Germany. he is the vice captain.
Cohen was forced to retire at the age of 29 due to a knee injury and, after coaching the Fulham youth team and England U23 team, he continued to work in real estate and construction.
His contribution to Fulham was noted in 2016 when it was announced that a statue of him at Craven Cottage had been commissioned and it was inaugurated in October of that year. Cohen said at the time: “I find it amazing that they even think I deserve it, especially when it’s playing alongside Johnny Haynes, the biggest name in the history of the game. Fulham.
“Being with him was amazing. It’s great to think that not only the club but also the fans want to put a statue of me there.” Cohen is also an activist and fundraiser for research on the cancer that took the life of teammate and captain Bobby Moore in 1966, and about the dementia that has affected several team members in the during the last years of their lives.
Cohen said in 2017 that he would donate his brain to scientific research upon his death. But Cohen is best remembered for his work on the pitch, with legendary Manchester United and Northern Ireland winger George Best calling him “the best full-back I’ve ever faced. ever played”.
In 2000, Cohen received an MBE for his services to football along with four of his 1966 teammates: Roger Hunt, Alan Ball, Ray Wilson and Nobby Stiles. “We are deeply saddened to learn of George Cohen’s death today,” FA chair Debbie Hewitt said, adding that England will pay tribute to him at Wembley Stadium on March 26 when they face Ukraine in a European Championship qualifier.
“Very sad to hear my friend and England teammate George Cohen has died,” said Sir Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in England’s World Cup final victory. “Everyone, without exception, said George was a wonderful man. He’ll be sorely missed.”
- George Cohen, England world champion and Fulham legend, has died aged 83
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