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George Cohen MBE

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Profile

Football player for Fulham and England in the 1966 World Cup Finals.
George is a great all rounder speaker, golfer and a lovely warm personality.
Date of birth: 22nd October 1939 (Kensington).
League appearances: 408 for Fulham (8 goals).
England internationals: 37 Full Caps; 8 Under-23 Caps.
Other honours: World Cup (1966).

When World Cup-winning full back George Cohen published his autobiography in the spring 2003, Hugh McIlvanney of the Sunday Times wrote: George Cohen's story comes trailing clouds of glory from a genuine golden era of English football. Sir Alf Ramsey and team-mates of the calibre of Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton had absolute faith in their right back. As his book unfolds, we are reminded of why they felt that way."

Cohen had a compelling story to tell - not just of World Cup glory and his time with his great friend and hero Johnny Haynes at Fulham, but also of the other side of success: three separate fights against cancer, the terrible accident that took the life of his mother soon after she had seen her "Georgie" help win the World Cup, the violent death of his brother Peter, father of rugby union star, Ben Cohen, in his nightclub and some hard days when he and his wife Daphne had to leave their beautiful house in Kent after a disaster in the property market.

The autobiography, written with James Lawton, chief sports writer of The Independent, whose recent collaboration with Cohen's World Cup colleague Nobby Stiles shot into the Best Sellers list and has been nominated in the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, was well received by the critics - one praising its "magnificent profile of Sir Alf Ramsey."

But unfortunately Cohen's run of adversity since his triumph at Wembley stretched into the publication of his life story. His publishers, Greenwater, went into liquidation shortly after the book appeared and only a few copies reached the shops. 2005 sees a complete re-write of the story, a national launch, a new publisher and George's story, which is far more than just a football yarn, given its deserved proper place in the history of a life of an extraordinary man.

George Cohen was a solid, dependable right back, and an integral part of the only English side ever to win the World Cup.  Playing all his club football for just one outfit, Cohen's career at international level began in 1960 when he won the first of eight Under-23 caps, while the young defender's senior international debut came on 6 th May 1964. Lining up in the number two shirt in a Wembley friendly against Uruguay, the newcomer so impressed the England manager that two years later, against the very same opposition, Cohen was again in the starting line-up as England set out on the road to World Cup glory.

In the intervening years, George Cohen's name had rarely been absent from Alf Ramsey's team-sheet and so it was unsurprising that the Fulham stalwart should play in all six World Cup matches, thereby becoming one of eight ever-presents selected by the England manager.

After the heady days of the World Cup, the Fulham full back became the first of the heroes of ‘66 to bow out of international football.  Making just seven more appearances for his country, he played his last match in November 1967, when England beat Northern Ireland 2-0 at Wembley.

Away from the bright lights of the international scene, the player's admirable loyalty to Fulham meant that domestic honours were at a premium, though promotion from the old second division at the end of the 1958-59 season was followed by the Craven Cottage club recording a tenth place finish in the top-flight which was, until this year, the club's highest-ever league position.  Then, in December 1963, Cohen again played his part as Fulham notched a record league victory, the Cottagers defeating Ipswich Town 10-1.


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