Grandad who was at 1966 final will be in Wembley crowd with son and grandson

·3-min read
L-R: Arthur Devereaux (aged 74), Alex Devereaux (24) and Mark Devereaux (52) (Alex Devereaux)
L-R: Arthur Devereaux (aged 74), Alex Devereaux (24) and Mark Devereaux (52) (Alex Devereaux)

A grandfather who was at Wembley to see England win the World Cup in 1966 will be in the crowd for Sunday’s Euro 2020 final alongside his son and grandson.

Three generations of the Devereaux family - Arthur, 74, from Watford, as well as Mark, 52, and Alex, 24, both from Dunstable - will be at the game having followed the Three Lions together for years.

Wolves fan Arthur told the Standard that despite football having “changed radically” since he was last at Wembley to see England in a major final, he is looking forward to it more than ever.

“1966 was maybe slightly different, we hadn’t got quite the same problems but it was still nice to go to the final, that’s for sure,” he said.

“My brother managed to get tickets for both of us - he used to play ice hockey for Wembley Lions at the arena and managed to source them through one of his contacts there.

Three generations together (Alex Devereaux)
Three generations together (Alex Devereaux)

“Football has changed radically, let’s be honest, the money involved is astronomical and maybe that effects how people look at it but we still had a fantastic team in 1966, as we have now.”

He recounted the amazing atmosphere in the old Wembley Stadium on that fateful day and he was finally able to put to bed the debate over whether Geoff Hurst’s extra-time strike really did cross the line.

Arthur, who attended every England match at the 1966 World Cup, said: “We were sitting right in line with the goal Geoff Hurst scored the controversial goal in and I can tell you it was definitely over the line.”

Having looked forward to the delayed pan-European tournament for years, Arthur said he was left “absolutely gutted” when he was pinged by the NHS Covid app before Wednesday’s semi-final.

However, despite having to self-isolate and miss going to the match, he didn’t miss out on all of the celebrations thanks to a timely video call with Mark and Alex at full-time.

Alex, a Watford season ticket holder, said: “We Facetimed grandpa when we were winning and I was just in tears, it’s just surreal. You have those bucket list football moments, like I’d love to see Watford in Europe, but I never thought it would be England in a final at Wembley and the three of us being able to go together.”

The flag has travelled all over the country and beyond (Alex Devereaux)
The flag has travelled all over the country and beyond (Alex Devereaux)

For Mark, who supports Manchester United, the experience of being able to share the occasion with three generations of his family is “special” and they even have a flag to prove it.

He said: “We started to go to games and Alex for my birthday bought the flag. It has our birth years and the ‘Three Gens on Tour’ across the middle.

“That became what we are. It’s special doing something that involves the three of us. It has brought us closer and gives us something to look forward to and discuss whenever we are together.

“My dad’s stamina is amazing and he has followed the team in a number of countries.”

Grandad Arthur added he thinks that England reaching the final after so many years of failure is something the “country needed to happen” and has “helped bring people together”.

Grandad Arthur is hoping for more England success on Sunday (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Grandad Arthur is hoping for more England success on Sunday (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“1966 was maybe slightly different, we hadn’t got quite the same problems but it was still nice to go to the final, that’s for sure,” he said.

“The way football has changed culturally is amazing and thank goodness it has, they’re still trying to get racism out of the sport and the more that is pushed forward then the better off the country will be.

“The whole of the side in ‘66 was white and, fortunately, things have moved on and the country has moved on.”

“They are representative now, aren’t they? They are representative of people who want to join in with the game and young people will be able to look up to them as role models.”

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