UP to October 1965, Terry Paine had played in 14 of England’s 23 internationals.
Sir Alf Ramsey now had a further 15 games in which to prepare for the final tournament: 12 full internationals; two Football League representative matches; and the annual fixture against Young England, all of which would effectively be public ‘trials’ in a ninemonth build-up to the tournament.
Fast forward to June 1966 and with Bobby Charlton now establishing himself as a deep-lying No.9, the squad of 27 that assembled at Lilleshall on 6 June included four wingers and arguably a fifth.
Two of the five – John Connelly and Peter Thompson – had played on both wings for England; Paine and the uncapped Ian Callaghan were in consideration only on the right; while Bobby Tambling’s three caps had all been at No.11, although he had long since forsaken Chelsea’s left-wing to become a goal-scoring phenomenon at inside-forward.
After a fortnight at Lilleshall, the party had to be reduced to 22. Tambling was omitted and so, to considerable amazement, was Thompson, who had thought he was ‘bound to be in the 22.’ Yet Callaghan was in.
The guessing as to who would play in the World Cup would continue when the team that lined up in Helsinki, for the first game of a four-match tour, with Callaghan making a successful debut on the right wing as England beat Finland 3-0.
Callaghan nevertheless wondered, after this performance, whether he ‘might have a chance.’ But he would stand down for the rest of the tour, as the Paine v Ball contest resumed.
On 29 June 1966 England won 6-1 in Norway. For the second time in his England career, Jimmy Greaves scored four. But Paine was not on the scoresheet this time, although he did combine with Connelly to set up Jimmy’s fourth.
Ball now came in for the games against Denmark and Poland. Having watched a ‘brilliant’ 1-0 win over Poland, Connelly thought ‘that’s it’: England would be starting wingless at Wembley in six days’ time.
It was not that simple. All 22 players had had a run-out in a highly successful tour: all four matches had been won, with just that one goal in Oslo conceded.
Upon returning to England, the players were allowed a day at home, before reporting to Hendon Hall – a switch from what Jack Charlton called the ‘gulag’ at Lilleshall to the ‘oak-beamed tranquility’ of a North London hotel.
Tranquil, maybe; but the management team was keen to avoid too much relaxation indoors – good news for those like Terry Paine who didn’t fancy cardschools.
The players could relax in outdoor activities. Like cricket.
Ramsey was determined to prevent cliques and to stop club-mates always hanging out together – Gerry Byrne recalls how ‘Alf told us [Liverpool players] off for being together’ – and extended this to rotating who roomed with whom.
This was potentially to the advantage of those like Paine and Cohen, who had no club-mates in the squad.
Even so, Alan Ball, himself so quick to settle in among his elders, soon noticed that Terry ‘was very much a loner. He kept himself to himself quite a lot. In the thick of things – the cardschools and that – he wasn’t really a member of what goes on within a squad of players, where cards are concerned and the banter and what-have-you.’ Terry participated fully, though, in an activity run by Ball and Eastham, the self-appointed Hendon Hall ‘bookies’ who chalked up the racing odds on a big black-board.
One way or another, the various memoirs vouch for the camaraderie that Ramsey thereby achieved.
Contrary to Connelly’s assumption after Chorzow, Ramsey did not go wingless into the opening game against Uruguay.
Ball kept his place on the right because, he reasoned, Ramsey felt that this was a typical Alan Ball game – that it was going to be tough game, that it was going to be a hard-working game, that it was going to be a typical opening game of most World Cup finals – that it’s 0-0 or 1-1.
“You’re terrified to lose in the first game of a round robin and so he played me, tucked-in a little bit, on the right side. He was a little bit cautious on that one,” said Ball.
But that doesn’t explain why he brought in Connelly for Peters on the left. Perhaps it meant that, for all of his experimenting, the manager still felt the need for at least one winger?
Playing in this game, and then narrowly failing to score, did not help Connelly’s chances of participating in the later stages of the tournament.
For the next game Ramsey left out not only Connelly – for Peters – but also Ball: for Paine.
As Ball saw it, the change on the right was a logical corollary of the ‘caution’ that had achieved the draw against Uruguay: now ‘they had to win the next one, so then the best way to win games – and you can lose them – would be to open it out. So he left me out.’ But how was this formation any less ‘cautious’ than the one used against Uruguay if the wide-player was being forgone on the left? The only logical explanation could be that Paine was a better attacking option than Connelly On 16 July 1966, England beat Mexico 2-0 at Wembley.
Reporting for the Sunday Express, Alan Hoby applauded the two changes, whereby England were ‘lifted to new levels by two newcomers, the gifted Martin Peters and the intelligent Terry Paine.’ Apart from a description of how ‘Paine jinked in and beautifully beat a lunging Mexican before passing,’ Hoby makes no further reference, however, to the contribution of the ‘intelligent’ wide man on the right. But his report is appended by the manager’s post-match statement, which includes a bulletin on the injuries incurred.
Thus, ‘Terry Paine was concussed from a blow in the face in the first minute, which set his nose bleeding. He was hurt again 20 minutes from the end.’ This is the only reference I have ever seen to the injury in the game’s last quarter.
And there’s no prospect of Paine recalling what happened and how, as his first-minute bang means that he has no memories at all of a game in which a goal by Roger Hunt and a classic by Bobby Charlton won it for England.
Terry’s recall of that visit to Wembley is of waking up on the dressing-room table. He ‘was groggy for a few days after that,’ he explained, ‘and Alf was one of those managers who ruled you out if there was a suspicion of an injury.’ If anybody thought he had sufficiently recovered soon enough to play against France, four days later, it was not the Times correspondent, who reported, in a matter-of-fact way, that Callaghan was in for Paine, ‘who suffered from concussion… against Mexico.’ I say ‘matter-of-fact’, although this elementary fact has largely been airbrushed out of World Cup history.
Trainer Shepherdson thought not to mention it in his World Cup diary and I have not come across any player’s memoirs that refer to Paine’s early injury against Mexico and consequent unavailability for the game with France.
Ray Wilson imagines that, ‘if it hadn’t been for that, he would have probably stayed in, wouldn’t he?’ We might surely have expected such a disabling injury to have been properly acknowledged in the published recollections of the tournament.
It has otherwise been left to Ramsey’s biographers and to other non-playing chroniclers of the 1966 World Cup to record that Paine took that early blow and so became, as Roger Hutchinson puts it, ‘little more than a passenger on the right wing.’ Suffice it to say, for now, that when England duly beat France to go though to a quarter-final match with Argentina, there seems to have been no question of whether Callaghan had done enough or whether Paine was fit to return.
According to Ball, Ramsey told him he was back in, with a job to do: He said ‘you will play against Argentina.
They’ve got a very attacking left fullback called Marzolini who, if not stopped, will cause us problems; and you’re the best person in this squad to stop him.’ Ramsey would have had to change the team, anyhow, as Greaves had been injured against France, but the key change, here, was in the formation.
The manager had reverted to the wingless system that he had adopted in Poland, now justified with an assignment to block the runs of a dangerous opponent.
Yet we have previously seen that Ramsey was prepared to use a winger in that role – as when Paine was pitched against Jim Baxter at Hampden – while Armfield has argued that Callaghan and Paine were both ‘purposive’ players who could fill a hole in the way Ramsey liked. And Ball has even suggested that Callaghan could have looked after Marzolini.
Cohen valued, however, ‘the whirring energy of Ball,’ in front of him.
But, then, having opted for horses-forcourses to beat Argentina, Ramsey resorted, for the rest of the tournament, to the alternative philosophy of neverchange- a-winning-team.
He continued to emphasise that he had a ‘team’ of 22 and he was determined that all of them would be together at the final whistle against West Germany, to celebrate the victory he had so confidently predicted long since.
Armfield was deputed to get his lot down from their seats in the stand a few minutes before the end, so that they could all participate in the onpitch celebrations.
All was going to plan until they had trouble with the lifts and most of them missed the late equaliser by Wolfgang Weber.
Now they had a new problem: the match would last another half-hour, but there was nowhere for most of them to sit. Hence the bizarre photo of Terry and a few others crouching or sitting on the carpeted pathway leading to the Royal Box.
With there being no seats in extratime for some of the reserves, they had to make do with the carpet.
In the chaos of the moment, Callaghan forgot that he had Stiles’s false teeth in his pocket, so Nobby would have to flash his gummy gap for the cameras. As the photographers took their shots of the 11 men with their trophy, various reserves were identifiable in the background, showing varying degrees of interest.
Terry picked an especially prominent spot.
And he later did so again on the balcony at the Royal Garden Hotel for the evening’s celebrations.
The expression on his face is surely that of a man who, far from being envious of those who had played in this match of a life-time, was proud to have been part of it all.
Playing in the World Cup finals was the third highlight of his international career to go with those two games in the autumn of 1963.
He was not to know that he would never play for England again.
An outcast from Ramsey’s Wingless Wonderland – or is that a simplification too far?
● Constant Paine is published by Hagiology Publishers, Westbury-on- Trym, Bristol. It has been written by David Bull, who has also written, co-written or edited numerous other books on Saints such as In That Number, Match of the Millennium, Dell Diamond (the biography of Ted Bates) and Full Time At The Dell.