1965–66 in English football

The 1965–66 season was the 86th season of competitive football in England.

Diary of the season

7 October 1965: An experiment to broadcast a live game to another ground takes place. Cardiff City play Coventry City and the match is broadcast to a crowd of 10,000 at Coventry's ground Highfield Road.

11 December 1965: Victory for Liverpool over Arsenal sees the Kopites open up a three point gap over Burnley in second at the top of the Football League, while West Bromwich Albion – formerly in third – slide down the table after Leeds United hit them for four. Leeds are not the only beneficiaries of WBA's defeat: Tottenham Hotspur's London derby win over Chelsea and Sheffield United's point against Nottingham Forest are enough for both to go above the Albion. Leeds, Tottenham, and Sheffield United have all gained 25 points, though the South Yorkshire side have played one more match than the other two. In the third tier, Walsall forward George Kirby is attacked by pitch-invading Millwall supporters.[1]

20 March 1966: The Jules Rimet Trophy, prize for winning the FIFA World Cup, is stolen from an exhibition at Central Hall, Westminster, where it was on show in the run-up to this summer's World Cup in England.

27 March 1966: The World Cup is recovered by Pickles, a mongrel dog, in South London.[2]

16 April 1966: Liverpool seal the First Division title for the seventh time in their history with a 2–0 home win over Stoke City.[3]

5 May 1966: Liverpool are beaten 2–1 (a.e.t.) by West German side Borussia Dortmund in the 1966 final of the European Cup Winners' Cup at Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland.

14 May 1966: Everton win the FA Cup with a 3–2 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the final at Wembley Stadium, despite going 2–0 down in the 57th minute.

11 July 1966: England, as the host nation, begin their World Cup campaign with a goalless draw against Uruguay at Wembley Stadium.

16 July 1966: England's World Cup campaign continues with a 2–0 win over Mexico (goals coming from Bobby Charlton and Roger Hunt) that moves them closes to qualifying for the next stage of the competition.

20 July 1966: England qualify for the next stage of the World Cup with a 2–0 win over France in their final group game. Roger Hunt scores both of England's goals.

23 July 1966: England beat Argentina 1–0 in the World Cup quarter-final thanks to a goal by Geoff Hurst.

26 July 1966: England reach the World Cup final by beating Portugal 2–1 in the semi-final. Bobby Charlton scores both of England's goals.

30 July 1966: England win the World Cup with a 4–2 win over West Germany in extra time. Geoff Hurst scores a hat-trick, with Martin Peters scoring the other goal.


First DivisionLiverpool (7*)Leeds United
Second DivisionManchester CitySouthampton
Third DivisionHull CityMillwall
Fourth DivisionDoncaster RoversDarlington
FA CupEverton (3)Sheffield Wednesday
League CupWest Bromwich Albion (1)West Ham United
Charity ShieldManchester United and Liverpool (shared)
Home Championship England Northern Ireland

Notes = Number in parentheses is the times that club has won that honour. * indicates new record for competition

Football League

First Division

Liverpool, FA Cup winners the previous season and league champions in 1964, won the First Division title with a six-point gap over last season's runners-up Leeds United, who finished level on points with Burnley. Manchester United, who also reached the semi-finals of the European Cup, ended their defence of the league title with a fourth-place finish. Chelsea finished fifth to maintain their standing as one of the First Division's top club sides. West Bromwich Albion finished sixth and won the League Cup.

11th placed Everton compensated for a disappointing league campaign by winning the FA Cup for the first time in the postwar era.

12th placed West Ham United perhaps had the biggest influence on the English game in 1966, with England's World Cup winning team featuring captain Bobby Moore and goalscorers Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters.

Blackburn Rovers went down in bottom place, a woeful 15 points adrift of safety. Northampton Town's brave first season among the elite ended in relegation.

2Leeds United422391079382.07955
4Manchester United421815984591.42454
6West Bromwich Albion4219121191691.31950
7Leicester City422171480651.23149
8Tottenham Hotspur4216121475661.13644
9Sheffield United4216111556590.94943
10Stoke City4215121565641.01642
12West Ham United421591870830.84339
15Newcastle United421491950630.79437
16Aston Villa421562169800.86336
17Sheffield Wednesday421482056660.84836
18Nottingham Forest421482056720.77836
21Northampton Town4210131955920.59833
22Blackburn Rovers42843057880.64820

Second Division

Manchester City's three-year exile from the top flight ended in promotion as Second Division champions, and they were joined in promotion by runners-up Southampton, who had never played in the First Division before. Coventry City missed out on a First Division debut by a single point, while Bristol City came just three points short of reclaiming the First Division place which had last been theirs in 1911.

Leyton Orient and Middlesbrough were relegated to the Third Division.

1Manchester City422215576441.72759
3Coventry City422013973531.37753
4Huddersfield Town4219131062361.72251
5Bristol City421717863481.31351
6Wolverhampton Wanderers4220101287611.42650
7Rotherham United4216141275741.01446
8Derby County4216111571681.04443
9Bolton Wanderers421691762591.05141
10Birmingham City421691770750.93341
11Crystal Palace4214131547520.90441
13Norwich City4212151552521.00039
14Carlisle United421752060630.95239
15Ipswich Town421591858660.87939
16Charlton Athletic4212141661700.87138
17Preston North End4211151662700.88637
18Plymouth Argyle4212131754630.85737
20Cardiff City4212102071910.78034
22Leyton Orient425132438800.47523

Third Division

Champions Hull City and runners-up Millwall made the step upwards from the Third Division to the Second.

York City, Brentford, Exeter City and Southend United were relegated to the Fourth Division.

1Hull City463178109621.75869
3Queens Park Rangers462491395651.46257
4Scunthorpe United4621111480671.19453
7Swindon Town4619131474481.54251
10Shrewsbury Town4619111673641.14149
11Grimsby Town4617131668621.09747
13Peterborough United4617121780661.21246
14Oxford United461981970740.94646
15Brighton & Hove Albion4616111967651.03143
16Bristol Rovers4614141864641.00042
17Swansea Town4615112081960.84441
18Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic4613122138560.67938
19Mansfield Town461582359890.66338
20Oldham Athletic4612132155810.67937
21Southend United461642654830.65136
22Exeter City4612112353790.67135
24York City469928531060.50027

Fourth Division

Doncaster Rovers enjoyed some much-overdue success by clinching the Fourth Division title and a place in the Third Division. Also promote were Darlington, Torquay United and Colchester United. Bradford City had to apply for re-election to the league for the second time in four seasons - loss of their league place would have made them the first former winners of a major trophy to be voted out of the Football League.

1Doncaster Rovers4624111185541.57459
3Torquay United4624101272491.46958
4Colchester United4623101370471.48956
5Tranmere Rovers462481493661.40956
6Luton Town462481490701.28656
8Notts County4619121561531.15150
9Newport County4618121675751.00048
11Bradford Park Avenue4621520102921.10947
13Stockport County461862271701.01442
14Crewe Alexandra461692161630.96841
15Halifax Town4615112067750.89341
18Hartlepools United461682263750.84040
19Port Vale461592248590.81439
22Lincoln City4613112257820.69537
23Bradford City4612132163940.67037

P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GA = Goal average; Pts = Points


  1. Davies, Eddie (15 December 1965). "Short Shots on Soccer". Schenectady Gazette. p. 32. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  2. "1966: Football's World Cup stolen". BBC News. 20 March 1966.
  3. Entertainment & Sports Agency Limited. "Results – Liverpool FC – LFC Online". Archived from the original on 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
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