They think it's all over...
Those famous words have been quoted, and misquoted, for nearly fifty years. Uttered by one of the pioneers of broadcasting, Kenneth Wolstenholme, the most famous five words in sporting history have been used in songs, television programes, books and, of course, chanted on the terraces at football matches all over the country.
Wolstenholme joined the BBC in 1948 and claimed to have never watched a television programme before his first commentary, a Southern versus Northern counties football match. He was the first commentator on BBC's Match of the Day, commentated on 23 successive FA Cup finals and five World Cups before leaving the BBC after the 1970 World Cup.
Transcribed, the full quotation from the end of the World Cup Final in 1966, reads:
And here comes Hurst! He's got...
(Wolstenholme's attention is diverted by some of the crowd spilling onto the pitch)
Some people are on the pitch! They think it's all over!
(Geoff Hurst scores to put England two goals ahead)
It is now, it's four!
In the years before he died, Wolstenholme returned to TV commentary with Channel Four's Italian football coverage, but ill health forced him to retire. For Wolstenholme, despite having a long career commentating on an incredible number of matches, nothing could eclipse Sir Alf Ramsey's England team of 1966.
"It wasn't just a team," he used to say. "Alf Ramsey formed a football club in 1966. I have always felt privileged to be part of it."
Wolstenholme died on 25 March, 2002.