West Ham United announced that former England international and World Cup 1996 World Cup winner Martin Peters passed away on Saturday. Peters was 76 years old and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease a few years ago.
A statement from the Peters family read, "It is with profound sadness that we announce that Martin passed away peacefully in his sleep at 4.00am this morning. A beloved husband, dad, and grandad, and a kind, gentle and private man, we are devastated by his loss but so very proud of all that he achieved and comforted by the many happy memories we shared." The statement concluded with the family asking for privacy during the 'difficult time.'
Peters, a wide midfielder with good movement, an eye for goals, and the ability to cross the ball well with either foot, netted the second goal in the 1966 final that still remains the most cherished day in the history of English soccer. Geoff Hurst, who also played alongside Peters at West Ham, scored England's other three goals in a 4-2 win after extra time. It is the only major tournament won by the England men's soccer team. Sir Hurst mourned his former teammate and friend on Twitter.
Today is a very sad day for football & for me personally Martin Peters was one of the all time greats & a close friend and colleague of mine for in excess of 50 years. A fellow World cup final goalscorer & my West Ham partner for years along with Bobby Moore RIP old friend.— Sir Geoff Hurst (@TheGeoffHurst) December 21, 2019
Peters scored 20 goals for England in 67 international appearances - with one standing out way above the rest. A shot at goal was blocked by a sprawling West Germany defender, only for the ball to loop up to Peters, who volleyed home right-footed from just outside the six-yard box. He skipped away in delight, with both arms held high.
West Ham United captain Mark Noble said, "Like every West Ham fan, I am extremely sad to hear of the passing of Martin Peters and, on behalf of all the players - throughout the men’s, women’s and Academy squads - I would like to send our thoughts and best wishes to his family at this time. As someone lucky enough to come through the Academy at Chadwell Heath, Martin Peters was a name that I became aware of as soon as I walked in the building for the very first time. Along with Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst, the three greatest players in the club’s history, and the example that we all aspired to follow. I’ve never really thought about the fact that Martin wore the number 16 shirt for England in the World Cup final - the same number I wear for West Ham - but it gives me immense pride to have that small link to him in some way."