A leading ex-NASA scientist has gone on record to confirm one of the longest-standing conspiracies in the football world: that the American space agency faked footage of the 1966 tournament in order to imply an England win.
Dr Robert Wellington – who worked for the agency throughout the sixties and seventies – spoke out following ongoing speculation on the internet.
“We needed a practice run for the moon thing,” he said, from his home in Florida. “And the soccer world cup seemed just the job. We wanted to see if we could delude an entire nation that they could achieve something that was frankly unimaginable. And it worked perfectly.”
“But we had absolutely no idea that it would become a recurring delusion,” he added.
The ‘live broadcast’ of the famous 1966 final was, in fact, pre-recorded at Shepperton Studios, then best known for the Boulting Brothers series of comedy films.
“We set up a goal at one end and then used a mixture of live action and models to simulate the game,” recalls Dr Wellington.
“It was very advanced for the time, although we did make mistakes that eventually people picked up on. A couple of shadows faced in opposite directions, and we presented Alan Ball at completely the wrong scale.”
“The US government were happy to pay, as long as we figured out a way to incorporate a Russian looking stupid.”
The hoax paved the way for NASA’s famous moon landing footage of 1969. But in its way, the English dry-run proved more successful.
“Even forty years on, everybody still talks about our world cup work,” comments Dr Wellington. “Whereas if you come to the States, nobody really mentions the moon landings any more.”
“Except Buzz Aldrin,” he adds.
“The English FA did approach us with a view to recreating the project for 2010. They sent us some tapes and everything,” reveals Dr Wellington.
“But what you have to realise is that for hoaxes to work, they need at least a small element of plausibility. We now have immensely powerful GCI techniques, green screens and animatronic facilities. But we’ve looked at your Emile Heskey – and we can’t do anything with that.”
written by Alex