Sir Geoffrey Hurst MBE

Geoff Hurst

Areas of Interest

Sports, Business

Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of the University, 1999


Born in Lancashire in 1941, Sir Geoff Hurst is one of the most prolific goal scorers in the history of football, and remains the only player ever to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final. He made 499 League and FA Cup appearances for West Ham, his 248 goals helping the team to win the FA Cup in 1964 and the European Cup Winners' Cup the following year. But it is for his exploits with the national side that he is best remembered. In the 1966 World Cup Final he scored three goals in England's 4-2 defeat of Germany. He was voted Player of the Year three times and remained England's first choice striker for another 6 years. After retiring from football Geoff went into business, serving as a Director of London General Holdings and later as Managing Director of a division of Aon Group. He was knighted in 1998.

In 1999 Sir Geoffrey Hurst MBE was made Honorary Doctor of the University.


"The Senate of Anglia Polytechnic University has great pleasure in recommending the award of an Honorary Doctorate of the University to Sir Geoffrey Hurst MBE, footballer extraordinaire, sporting legend in his own lifetime.

This award is made in recognition of Sir Geoffrey's unique position in the history of football within the UK and abroad and, through his sporting achievements, his special position as a role model for young people in Chelmsford and the world.

Sir Geoff was at school here in Chelmsford. He was a pupil at Chelmsford's Kings Road and Rainsford Schools. He became famous during his 499 Football League and FA Cup appearances for West Ham, during which he scored 248 goals. He was Player of the Year 3 times and was part of the West Ham team, which won the FA Cup in 1964 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1965. However, it was with the English national side that he became an international star when in 1966 England won the World Cup thanks to his amazing and still unequalled goat hat trick in the final at Wembley.

Indeed, it was announced by the BBC last autumn that the most popular piece of television footage ever shown was that from the 1966 World Cup Final when England's fourth goal (which was Sir Geoff's third goal) was scored and the commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme declared "they think it's all over - it is now".

After leaving West Ham, Sir Geoff went to play for Stoke City where he scored 30 goals during 100 appearances. Later he played for West Bromwich Albion for a short time and then became player/manager for Telford, before spending time abroad managing the Kuwaiti team and playing football in the USA. From 1977-82 he was Assistant Coach to the England National Team under Ron Greenwood, before managing Chelsea FC for 2 years.

After leaving football, Sir Geoff embarked upon a second career in the business world, starting as administrator of warranties with a company called Motorplan. Subsequently this company was bought by London General Holdings, of which he became a Director. In its turn, this was bought by the Aon Group, now the second largest insurance company in the world and where Sir Geoff was appointed Managing Director of the Domestic Appliance Division. For some years he focused his energies on his business activities and, by choice, kept away from football and out of the public eye. However, he was invited to lend his name for endorsements of various products, including a nationally known double glazing company, which also used his face. This led him into after-dinner speaking engagements across the country and then, in 1996, the 30th anniversary of England winning the World Cup thanks to his unique hat trick, Sir Geoff began to get caught up in football once again.

This was the year that Britain hosted the Euro-96 Championships. The previous time that such a major football tournament had been held in Britain was 30 years before for the World Cup (dare I say the Hurst World Cup?).

It was 2 years later, in 1998, that Geoff Hurst became Sir Geoffrey Hurst.

Sir Geoff has become an international celebrity: over a thousand life-sized card facsimiles of him have been used in advertising electrical goods in the UK, he is a frequent business visitor to France, has been an invited guest on Chinese television and he featured in the football promotional pop video Football's Coming Home.

This year has been particularly busy for Sir Geoff because of his travelling the world as an ambassador in support of England being the host venue for the 2006 World Cup, his crucial involvement in the FA Premier League Hall of Fame and his corporate appearances as part of the FA Gold campaign. Thus, we are especially privileged to welcome him to Chelmsford today, footballer extraordinaire, tireless worker in promoting the sport, international celebrity and son of Chelmsford.

It is for these reasons, therefore, that I invite you, Mr Chairman, to confer on this exceptional man, Sir Geoffrey Hurst MBE, the award of Honorary Doctor of the University."