“Some people are on the pitch...” - Norwich woman remembers uncle’s famous words 50 years on

BBC's commentator for the '66 World Cup, Kenneth Wolstenholme.

BBC's commentator for the '66 World Cup, Kenneth Wolstenholme. - Credit: PA

'Some people are on the pitch. . . they think it's all over. . . it is now!'

Geoff Hurst cracking a shot past goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski to score the final goal of the World Cup

Geoff Hurst cracking a shot past goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski to score the final goal of the World Cup final against West Germany. - Credit: PA

Kenneth Wolstenhome's immortal words have become the most famous piece of football commentary in history.

However, for one person in Norfolk, they resonate even more – as they were uttered by a close family member.

Jo Hiller, the niece of the famous commentator, now lives in Norwich, and for her, watching the final at 10 years old was a slightly different experience.

The 60-year-old said: 'I watched the game in an ice cream parlour in Broadstairs in Kent and remember listening to the commentary and feeling as though he was just in the room talking to me,


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'He was always just Uncle Ken to me, he was my mother's brother and we used to holiday at his house.

'At that age I was never really over-awed by the fact that my uncle was on telly. I was amazed, though, at how he was able to stay so calm during the match while everybody else was getting so excited.'

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Miss Hiller shared her final experience with dozens of other people in the Kent holiday resort.

She said: 'There was such a wonderful atmosphere, with people dancing in the streets after the game.

'When it was on, there were dozens of us all crowded around a tiny television screen in the parlour, which the owners had brought in so they could watch the game themselves at work.'

Miss Hiller's connection with her uncle gave her insight into just how meticulously he prepared for his match commentary.

She said: 'I always found it interesting that in his house he had his own separate bathroom, with walls covered in names of footballers with phonetic spellings.

'I used to sit outside and listen to him chanting all the different pronunciations, and it clearly worked, as many people used to say he was the only commentator who ever said their names right.'

The legacy of those words is something that has never escaped Miss Hiller, who moved to the region in 1971, living first in Lowestoft, then Norwich.

The legendary commentator was paid £60 for the commentary, but these words went on to make him much more, after he took out the copyright to them.

They also won the acclaim of his peers, as well as the other man who helped create that magical moment, goalscorer Geoff Hurst.

Miss Hiller said: 'When Uncle Ken died in 2002, we held a memorial and although he sadly couldn't make it, Geoff sent the family a lovely letter, which we still have now.

'It said if it hadn't been for Kenneth Wolstenholme, his goal would not have gone down in history in quite the way it did.'

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