World Cup Memories: Opportunity Knocks! Part 1

Everyone we’ve spoken to who was alive at the time has a story to tell of that fateful day in 1966. We’ll never tire of pestering our resident mid-fielder, star of Roy’s Diary and World Cup Final 1966 squad member Roy Weskin for tales from the stadium itself (he was there at the moment England won, don’t you know!).

Kindly contributed by Brian Davies and Dave Noble (pictured above, left to right, at the Cadbury Factory in Keynsham on July 30th 1996 exactly 30 years to the day that England Won the World Cup), we hear another winning tale of footballing (and musical) prowess…

Ask any sports enthusiast over the age of 55 what they most remember about the year 1966, and no doubt the majority will reply “the year England won the World Cup.”

As two sporting Bristolians who were working at J.S .Fry and Sons (later Cadbury) in Keynsham, both of us have vivid memories of where we were, who we were with and above all our unique experience of the whole occasion.

Here is our story of the day England won the World Cup in July 1966…

At the time Brian, then aged 25, working as a Full Time Youth Leader in the Fry’s Somerdale Youth Club and Dave, aged 22, who worked in the offices as a Personnel Assistant but was volunteering for the club for a couple of weeks, both lead a group of lads to the annual Youth Cub Summer camp to Bowleaze Cove in Weymouth.

As many no doubt remember, the Somerdale Youth Club was a club fully supported by J.S.Fry and Sons. It carried a reputation of being one of the best Youth Clubs within the South West. It promoted and supported sporting facilities for many young people from the factory and offices in all after work and weekend activities.


We both remember the task of taking 30 or so teenage lads to camp, for that fortnight was an experience in itself! As always the tradition every year on camp was to arrange all types of sporting activities for them during the day, with the evenings normally consisting of trips into Weymouth to take in the entertainment.

As leaders, we always took qualified staff to assist us at camp with cooking and to help generally with the activities arranged. Jim Dale was our professional cook who was ably assisted by Youth Club Assistant John Pike. We were also joined that year, 1966, by Paul Hamilton, a Winant Volunteer from America, who was working in the club for 3 months for youth work experience.

As you can imagine, ‘World Cup Fever’ was very much alive around the country, and, as England had reached the semi- final in the first week we were on camp, the atmosphere was electric amongst us all.

We arranged for the lads to see the semi final against Portugal in a pub on the Portland Road in Weymouth on the Tuesday evening (26 July) and, as we know, England were winners by 2 goals to 1. This meant they were due to play in the final on the forthcoming Saturday (30 July) at Wembley against West Germany… kick off at 3pm.

For a moment can we leave ’the World Cup Fever’ because…

….on Wednesday, the day following England’s semi final win, we’d arranged to take the lads to a show at the Weymouth Pavilion where at that time the famous T.V. star Hughie Green and his assistant Monica Rose were staging their popular show Opportunity Knocks ‘(also appearing on that show was entertainer Tony Holland ‘Mr Muscleman’). The show went down well with the lads, and during the evening Hughie invited any members of the audience who had any musical or entertainment ability to come and attend auditions at the Pavilion on the next Sunday Morning… (which happened to be the Sunday Morning following the World Cup final…)

On our way home from the theatre, Paul, our student from America, said that he had experience of teaching groups singing and suggested that we ask the lads if they would be interested in forming a singing group and possibly entering the Opportunity Knocks auditions. We asked the lads the next morning and, after some friendly persuasion and arm twisting, some 20 lads agreed to have a go and said “anything for a laugh”! It was all systems go. Paul had the lads practicing for the next 3 days before the auditions on the Sunday….

Now, back to our World Cup story…


In between that Wednesday evening and the Sunday auditions, the Saturday saw what was possibly the most important game in English football history – the World Cup final between England and West Germany at Wembley. Now we had a problem, all 30 or so lads on camp wanted to see the final on T.V. but where could they watch it?

We had no facility on camp for a T.V. and after making many enquiries in the Weymouth area it seemed mostly all the pubs were either booked right up or were not open. What were we to do?

30 lads were desperate to watch this important game, and, if they couldn’t, they would be so disappointed. It was 10pm on the Friday evening and Brian would not give up. Completely out of the blue he said “Dave, let’s try the Conservative Club in Weymouth and see if it opens on a Saturday”. Luckily it did, so at 10.45pm, we tapped on the door and introduced ourselves to the Secretary. Even though it was late, he listened very sympathetically to our plight and said “I can’t give you an answer myself tonight. I have to speak to other committee members… come back at 11.00 in the morning”…

Check back to read part 2 of Brian and Dave’s World Cup adventure tomorrow!


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