Did British World Cup Fever in 1966 Lead to the Election of a British Prime Minister?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about baseball and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the soccer/football urban legends featured so far.

SOCCER/FOOTBALL URBAN LEGEND: British World Cup fever in 1966 led to a Prime Minister being elected.

You can see this is a number of places, but specifically I’m citing the British social research group, SIRC (Social Issues Research Centre)…

Sport’s impact goes beyond the day-to-day social environment of the workplace. Famously, Harold Wilson, following England’s win in the 1966 World Cup, claimed his subsequent election victory was in no small part due to the team’s performance and the wave of euphoria and goodwill emanating as a consequence.

I don’t know if Wilson ever CLAIMED that, but it certainly has gone into British lore as happening that way.

Is it true?

Well, as you probably know by now, the World Cup begins in the Summer (in 1966 it was held from July 11-July 30).

Wilson was elected Prime Minister on March 31, 1966.

Soooooo….yeah, the election was not due to the British victory in the 1966 World Cup.

Now if you wish to argue that his DEFEAT in 1970 was due to the British disappointing finish in the 1970 World Cup, then you at least have a case, but not for his election.

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

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