Saturday, January 7, 2017

If United Kingdom went to Mexico 1970

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

United Kingdom
Greater London
North East EnglandNorthWest England.
Black English players
England 1974
United Kingdom 1982

England at Mexico 1970

I do believe United kingdom could have won the WC in 1970.  England was eliminated in the quarterfinal, but their position did not justify their performance.  They were not so far behind the top teams at the WC Finals in 1970. They narrowly lost to Brazil and perhaps, were the only team, that put up a decent fight against them.  They should have beaten West Germany. Italy did not beat England for the first time until 1973. So the English still owned Italy at that point.  The United Kingdom in 1970 would have been reinforced with George Best who was the greatest footballer ever to come from the UK.  Despite not qualifying for the WC Finals, Scotland had a talented squad. Celtic won the European Cup in 1967 and Rangers the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972. 
Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Gordon Banks and George Best are four of the greatest footballers ever emerged from the United Kingdom. They were at their prime in 1970.  

This would be the 22-member team I would bring to Mexico 1970. * Only 22 member team in 1970.

GK: Gordon Banks (England/Stoke City)
Named FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year 6 times.  He won the WC in 1966.  He made one of the game's great saves to prevent a Pelé goal in the 1970 World Cup.  Along with Lev Yashin, he is considered the greatest keepers of his generation.

GK: Pat Jennings (N.Ireland/Tottenham Hotspurs)
Considered among the greatest goalkeeper of all-time.  The prime of his career was spent with both Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal.  In 1973 the Football Writers' Association named him as its footballer of the year. Three years later he won PFA's version of the award – he was the first goalkeeper to receive this accolade, and to this date remains only one of two, along with Peter Shilton. He earned 119 caps for Northern Ireland and went to two WC Finals. 

Pat Jennings 

GK: Peter Bonetti (England/Chelsea)
Nicknamed as "the Cat", Bonetti was a legend at Chelsea. His finest moment came in the Final of the FA Cup in 1970 where his heroic play helped Chelsea to win the FA Cup. He was the FWA Player of the Year runner-up that year.  However, he only earned 7 caps for England.  his career was limited by playing with Gordon Banks at the same time.  He was Banks' backup in the World Cup 1966.

RB: Tommy Wright (England/Everton/Leeds United)
Wright spent his entire career playing for Everton, where he won the 1966 FA Cup.  He was noted for his performance against Brazil in the 1970 World Cup.

RB: Paul Reaney (England/Leeds United)

Reaney was a part of Leeds United's greatest team in the 1970's.  He missed the 1970 WC Finals due to an injury.  He was listed as a White" player when he was an active player, but nowmany people considered him to be Black or mixed race, making him England's first Black international.

CB: Bobby Moore   (England/West Ham)
Captain of the 1966 WC winning team. Regarded one of the greatest defenders of all time.  He won a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup with West Ham.  He won a total of 108 caps for the England team, which at the time of his international retirement in 1973 was a national record.

CB: Billy McNeill (Scotland/Celtic)
As the captain of "Lisbon Lions, he was the first British footballer to hold aloft the European Cup in 1967. He also won nine Scottish League championships, seven Scottish Cups, and six Scottish League Cups. He was voted as Cetlics' greatest captain.  he was capped 29 times.

CB/DM: Norman Hunter (England/Leeds United)
Hunter was known as one of the hardest tackler ever came out of English football. His nickname was "Bites Your Leg" Hunter.  He was one of Don Revie's key players at Leeds United, forming a strong partnership with Jack Charlton. He was PFA Player of the Year in 1974.  He won the WC in 1966 as an unused player.  He went to Mexico 1970, but only made a single appearance.

CB Mike England (Wales/Tottenham Hotspurs)
He helped Tottenham Hotspurs to win the UEFA Cup in 1972 and reached the Final again two years later.  He was also the youngest Welsh captain at one point.

LB: Terry Cooper (England/Leeds United)
He was Don Revie's trusted left back at Leeds United. He played for Leeds from 1962 and 1975.  He left to join Middlesbrough, which was then managed by his teammate Jack Charlton. He had 20 caps for England.

LB: Tommy Gemmell  (Scotland/Celtic)
Gemmell was a legendary player with Celtic. He scored the opening goal for the Lisbon Lions in 1967. He scored again at the European Cup Final in 1970.  He also had a successful career with Nottingham Forest and a short stint in the USA.  Capped 18 times for Scotland.

CM: Alan Ball  (England/Everton)
Ball was the youngest member of the WC winning team in 1966. He started his career with Blackpool.  He also played with Everton, Arsenal, Southampton and various clubs in North America and Hong Kong.  He played 72 times for England and was a key player at the WC finals in 1966 and 1970.  He missed the ill-fated match vs Poland in 1973 due a suspension.

CM:  Billy Bremner (Scotland/Leeds United)
Bremner was Leeds United's greatest ever player.  He was their captain when they dominated English football.  He was also named as the FWA Footballer of the Year in 1970. He was known for his rough play. He is a member of both the English Football Hall of Fame and Scottish Football Hall of Fame. He spent 1976 to 1978 at Hull City, before being appointed player-manager at Doncaster Rovers in November 1978. He was capped 50 times. He went to the WC finals in 1974.

CM: Martin Peters (England/Tottenham Hotspurs)
Peters was an all-round midfielder who played for West Ham, Tottenham Hotspurs and Norwich. He earned 67 caps between 1966 and 1974, and was a part of the 1966 WC-winning team. 

CM: Colin Bell (England/Manchester United)
Bell is considered to be Manchester City's greatest ever player.  He won the league in 1967-1968, FA Cup in 1969 and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1970. While Bell is considered to be one of England's greatest midfielder, he was unable to showcase his talents in the world stage.  He was remembered as the substitute for Bobby Charlton at the WC Finals in 1970 against West Germany.  In 1973, he was a part of the ill-fated national team that failed to qualify for West Germany 1974.

LW/RW: George Best (N.Ireland/Manchester United)
Considered to be one of the greatest players ever played the game.  He was one of the "United's Trinity".  He led Manchester United to their first (and also first ever for an English club) European Cup in 1968.  He won the PWA PLayer of the Year award and the Ballon d'Or that year.

George Best

AM: Bobby Charlton (England/Manchester United)
He was considered one of the greatest midfielders of all-time.  He led England to WC victory in 1966 and then, Manchester United to its first European Cup in 1968. He is also England's all-time leading scorer.  He won the Ballon D'Or in 1966.

Bobby Charlton

RW: Jimmy Johnstone (Scotland/Celtic)
Johnstone played over 500 games for Celtic.  In 2002, he was voted as the greatest Cetlic players by the fans.  He played over 500 games for them.  He was one of the Lisbon Lions. He later played for the San Jose Earthquakes, Sheffield United, Dundee, Shelbourne and Elgin City.  He was capped 23 times.  He went to the WC Finals in 1974, but did not play.

FW: Denis Law  (Scotland/Manchester United)
Law spent 11 years at Manchester United, where he scored 237 goals in 404 appearances. His goals tally places him third in the club's history, behind Bobby Charlton and Wayne Rooney. He partnered George Best and Bobby Charlton at Manchester United, which was considered to be most popular forward line in British history.  He was capped 55 times.  He managed to play in the 1974 WC Finals.

ST: Francis Lee (England/Manchester City)
Best remembered for winning the League championship with both Manchester City and Derby back in the 1970's.  He earned 27 caps for England, and went to Mexico 1970.

ST: Peter Osgood (England/Chelsea)
Osgood was a legend with Chelsea.  He helped them to win the Cup Winners' Cup in 1970.  Despite his successes with Chelsea, he only earned 4 caps.  Sir Ramsey is rumoured to dislike him for his playboy lifestyle.

ST: Sir Geoff Hurst (England/West Ham)
Best known for scoring a hat trick at the 1966 WC Final against West Germany.  He also played in Mexico 1970.  He earned 49 caps for England.  His club career was spent mainly with West Ham and Stoke City.  He had a stint in NASL with Seattle Sounders in 1976. 

Honorable Mention
RB: Keith Newton(England), LB: Eddie McCreadie(Scotland), CB Brian Labone (England), CM: Bobby Murdoch(Scotland), LB/CB: John Greig(Scotland)

Squad Explanation

--- Mike England was selected because he was the only player from Wales who deserved a place on the squad.
-- Billy Bremner, Terry Cooper, Norman Hunter and Paul Reaney were teammates at Leeds United.  Paul Reaney actually missed the World Cup 1970 due to an injury.  
--  In 1970, Pat Rice of Northern Ireland was not yet a starter at Arsenal. Sandy Jardine had not played for Scotland. Wright was the starting rightback for England in the 1970.  They would have made the team a year or two later.
-- John Toshack was relatively unknown in 1970. 
-- John Greig was a big star in Scotland, but I went with Gemmell and Cooper.
-- Denis Law was injured for the 1969-1970 season.  Manchester United tried to sell him, but no one wanted him.  Despite all of this, I still brought him to Mexico because he was still one part of the "United Trinity".  

Starting lineup

GK: Banks would still start over Jennings, I think.

Defense: England started with Wright, Moore, Labone and Cooper. I do not know the fitness level of Greig, Cooper or Gemmell on the summer of 1970, but based on my knowledge of the players around the late 1960's and early 1970's. I would have this back 4: Wright, McNeill, Moore and Gemmell for Team UK. 

Midfield: England started with Ball, Peters and Mullery on the midfield in Mexico. I drop three of them. Sir Ramsey used a wingerless formation at both 1966 and 1970, but what would he do if he had Best and Johnston at his disposal? Billy Bremner was the FWA Player of the Year in 1970. I would then put Charlton to the midfield, where he played for Manchester United.

FW: England started Lee and Hurst in Mexico. Denis Law was injured the season before and was in serious decline. So I would not be starting him. 

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.


  1. Interesting topic, I've thought about this one a lot. A few notes. John Greig was not a full back, he played as a winghalf mainly, so I don't see his competition as Gemmell and Cooper. I think Norman hunter is his true rival. Eddie McCreadie is another to consider at leftback. At rightback, Keith Newton, not Tommy Wright was England's starter in 1970 and played pretty well.

    1. Thank you. I missed this message, I will look into it.