Next week will mark 50 years since a Geoff Hurst missile nearly burst through the roof of the net at Wembley and Bobby Moore held the Jules Rimet aloft.

July 30 marks half a century since England won the World Cup, and judging by June’s abysmal Euro 2016 campaign, it might well be another five decades before we come close to another.

Many will know the bizarre tale of how the trophy was found in a South Norwood bush by a dog named Pickles after being stolen just months before the tournament began, about the controversy around England’s third goal and of course, Kenneth Wolstenholme’s jubilant “it is now!”

But for journalist Matthew Eastley, who was born in 1966, it was the stories from the ordinary people who were in that packed stadium to witness England football’s greatest triumph that fascinated him.

Along with photographer Stuart Thomas, Mr Eastley set about finding and interviewing 200 of the 96,000 who crammed themselves into Wembley Stadium on July 30, 1966 for their book, 66 on ’66: I Was There.

One of those who made a key behind-the-scenes contribution to the World Cup triumph was a 16-year-old Londoner who landed a dream job and ended up fetching tea and biscuits for manager Sir Alf Ramsey.

Aspiring photographer Derek Cattani, who now lives in Birchlands Avenue in Wandsworth, was assigned to the coaching department as a photographer and film librarian, making sure the FA had copies of BBC film to help with the squad’s preparation.

His office was right next door to Sir Alf’s, and Derek would fetch him tea and biscuits at 11am every morning.

He also had the chance to play table tennis with Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst and even got stuck in during the training sessions at Lilleshall and Roehampton.

Mr Cattani recalled: “I was a very fit lad in those days and Harold Shepherdson or Les Cocker would sometimes ask me to whack a few balls into the box for Gordon Banks. I’d also try to put the ball past him. Banks would be sitting down and would have to leap up and try to stop the ball.”

Mr Cattani was also perfectly placed to observe England’s controversial third goal, having squeezed in next to a couple of Fleet Street snappers he had befriended.

He said: “As far as I’m concerned, the whole of the ball did not cross the line. All we photographers were looking around in amazement waiting for the referee to make a decision.”

He added: “There was such excitement there that I can honestly say I did not realise England had gone on to score a fourth goal until the final whistle went. Like quite a few people, I thought the final score was 3-2.”

David Collison, of Gloucester Road, Kew, was a stage manager in the BBC’s outside broadcasts group and was sat next to commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme during the wonderful “they think it’s all over…” moment.

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David Collison

Mr Collison said: “Iconic is an overused expression, but how else to describe Wolstenholme’s glorious shout in the closing seconds of the game?

“I was a couple of yards from Kenneth at the time and wonder, as time rolls by, how many of my 1966 comrades can still say that ‘I heard it there’.”

With the future of the England football team uncertain and with no confirmed manager as this paper goes to press, Mr Eastley said he fears the win in 1966 may have become something of an albatross for the national side.

He said: “There is a fear England players seem to demonstrate when they pull on the shirt that other teams don’t seem to have.

“We have tried all sorts of different managers and it doesn’t seem to work, so I have become very, very cynical.

“No player or manager seems big enough to carry that weight of expectation, but we will see.”

The book 66 on ‘66: I Was There is on sale now.