England World cup winner Martin Peters dies aged 76
Former West Ham and Spurs midfielder had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease
Martin Peters celebrates after scoring England’s second goal during the 1966 World Cup final against West Germany at Wembley. Photograph: PA Wire
Former West Ham and Tottenham midfielder Martin Peters, who scored England’s second goal in the 1966 final against West Germany, has died aged 76 following a long battle against Alzheimer’s disease.
Renowned as being the complete midfielder, Peters was good in the air, able to cross with either foot and possessed great movement, being able to drift into goalscoring positions unnoticed by his markers which would later see him nicknamed ‘The Ghost’.
Peters came through the West Ham academy, having signed as an apprentice in 1959 and went on to help the east London club win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965.
A statement from Peters’s family read: “It is with profound sadness that we announce that Martin passed away peacefully in his sleep at 4.00am this morning [Saturday].
“A beloved husband, dad and grandad, and a kind, gentle and private man, we are devastated by his loss but so very proud of all that he achieved and comforted by the many happy memories we shared. We will be making no further comment and kindly ask that the privacy of our family is respected at this extremely difficult time.”
After more than 300 games and some 100 goals for the Irons, Peters left Upton Park for Tottenham in 1970, becoming Britain’s first £200,000 footballer in a deal which saw striker Jimmy Greaves head in the opposite direction.
While at White Hart Lane, Peters helped Bill Nicholson’s team lift the League Cup at Wembley in 1971 and again, as captain, in 1973, a season after playing his part in Spurs’ Uefa Cup victory over Wolves.
Peters, who earned 67 caps, scoring 20 international goals, also had spells at Norwich and Sheffield United before retiring in 1981.
In 2016, it was revealed Peters had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, one of several of the 1966 World Cup team to be battling dementia.
Another former England and Tottenham player, Gary Lineker, paid tribute to Peters on Twitter.
He posted: “Sorry to hear that Martin Peters has passed away. One of our World Cup winning heroes. A great player and a true gentleman.”
Former West Ham striker Tony Cottee told Sky Sports News: “First and foremost he was a fantastic player.
“Obviously he was one of the three West Ham players who played in the ’66 World Cup-winning team. We’ve lost Bobby Moore and now we’ve lost Martin Peters.
“I’m really sad, I knew him well, he worked for the club and I got to know him as a friend. As a West Ham man it’s really, really sad news.”
Spurs said they were “extremely saddened” to hear of Peters’s death, adding: “The thoughts of everyone at the club are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
A tweet from the official England account read: “We’re deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Martin Peters MBE, scorer of the Three Lions’ second goal in the 1966 World Cup final, at the age of 76. Our thoughts are with Martin’s family and friends at this difficult time.”