Hurst's 1966 SWC shirt falls short of goal

Geoff Hurst (Getty Images)
Geoff Hurst (Getty Images)

London - Probably the most iconic England football shirt in history, worn by Geoff Hurst when he scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 Soccer World Cup final victory over West Germany in 1966, failed to net a buyer at auction on Tuesday.

The long-sleeved red cotton shirt - bearing the number 10 - was valued at between £300 000 and £500 000, but despite some bids in the room, it fell short of the reserve price at Sotheby's in London.

"The shirt is a hugely important and valuable piece of footballing history and it generated a great deal of interest ahead of the sale," said a Sotheby's spokeswoman.

"Though widely admired in the months preceding today's auction, and despite having seen bidding in the salesroom, the shirt failed to reach its reserve price so unfortunately did not find a buyer today."

Hurst would probably have never featured in the side but for an injury to first-choice striker Jimmy Greaves prior to the quarter-finals.

He seized his chance impeccably, scoring a hat-trick - including the final goal to the immortal line by the commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme "the crowd are on the pitch, they think it's all over... it is now!" - in what is England's only ever major tournament victory.

The shirt is believed to have been first auctioned at Christie's in 2000, when it was sold for £91 750 to a private collector.

It was then bought in 2008 by property investor Andrew Leslau for an undisclosed sum on behalf of international investors.

Leslau insured the shirt for £1m, calling it "the most important shirt in English football history".

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