Hurst’s 1966 WC shirt falls short of goal

London, July 12

Probably the most iconic England football shirt in history, worn by Geoff Hurst when he scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 World Cup final victory over West Germany in 1966, failed to net a buyer at auction on Tuesday.

The long-sleeved red cotton shirt  bearing the No 10  was valued at between £300,000 (355,000 euros, $395,000) and £500,000, but despite some bids in the room, it fell short of the reserve price at Sotheby’s in London.

“The shirt is a hugely important and valuable piece of footballing history and it generated a great deal of interest ahead of the sale,” said a Sotheby’s spokeswoman. “Though widely admired in the months preceding today’s auction, and despite having seen bidding in the salesroom, the shirt failed to reach its reserve price so unfortunately did not find a buyer today.”

Hurst would probably have never featured in the side but for an injury to first-choice striker Jimmy Greaves prior to the quarter-finals. He seized his chance impeccably, scoring a hat-trick  including the final goal to the immortal line by the commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme “the crowd are on the pitch, they think it’s all is now!”  in what is England’s only ever major tournament victory.

The shirt is believed to have been first auctioned at Christie’s in 2000, when it was sold for £91,750 to a private collector. It was then bought in 2008 by property investor Andrew Leslau for an undisclosed sum on behalf of international investors.

Leslau insured the shirt for £1m, calling it “the most important shirt in English football history”.