England World Cup winner and West Ham legend Martin Peters dies aged 76

21 December 2019, 17:32 | Updated: 21 December 2019, 20:10

English footballer Martin Peters of Tottenham Hotspur F.C., 1971
English footballer Martin Peters of Tottenham Hotspur F.C., 1971. Picture: Getty
Sylvia De Luca

By Sylvia De Luca

Martin Peters, one of the England heroes that won the World Cup in 1966, has died at the age of 76.

West Ham said "the 1966 World Cup winner passed away peacefully" on Saturday after "a long and courageous battle with illness".

A statement from the footballer's family said: “It is with profound sadness that we announce that Martin passed away peacefully in his sleep at 4.00am this morning.

"A beloved husband, dad and grandad, and a kind, gentle and private man, we are devastated by his loss but so very proud of all that he achieved and comforted by the many happy memories we shared."

The West Ham footballer scored for England in their 1966 World Cup final win over West Germany.

He the fifth member of the England legendary team to pass away, following Alan Ball, Ray Wilson, Gordon Banks and Bobby Moore.

Martin Peters has passed away aged 76
Martin Peters has passed away aged 76. Picture: Getty

The footballer joined West Ham aged 15 and spent 11 years with the club until he became Britain's first £200,000 player in a move to Tottenham in 1970.

Tottenham Hotspur tweeted: "We are extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Martin Peters. The thoughts of everyone at the Club are with his family and friends at this difficult time."

Peters won the European Cup Winners' Cup with West Ham in 1965 as well as the Uefa Cup and two League Cups with Spurs.

Tottenham Hotspur and England's Martin Peters (left) and Alan Mullery (right) pose with their new Ford Cortinas
Tottenham Hotspur and England's Martin Peters (left) and Alan Mullery (right) pose with their new Ford Cortinas. Picture: PA

The footballer who earned 67 caps, scoring 20 international goals, also had spells at Norwich and Sheffield United before retiring in 1981.

In 2016, it was revealed Peters had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, one of several of the 1966 World Cup team to be battling dementia.

Harry Redknapp paid tribute to his friend, telling LBC: "He was the greatest fellow and an amazing footballer".

Former West Ham United striker Tony Cottee has paid tribute to him, saying he was a "fantastic footballer" and a "really, really nice person" who was "ahead of his time."

Gary Lineker has also paid tribute to him, tweeting: "Sorry to hear that Martin Peters has passed away. One of our World Cup winning heroes. A great player and a true gentleman."

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