A former City banker hopes to bring England’s finest footballing hour back to life by showing the 1966 World Cup final in colour for the first time.
Neil Canetty-Clarke is one of the leading figures behind #FullColour66, which aims to raise £700,000 via a unique crowdfunding campaign that launches today.
Investors can pledge as little as £7 and receive access to the film as well as a chance of joining Sir Geoff Hurst at a glitzy premiere next summer.
England’s famous 4-2 win over West Germany has only ever been shown in full in black and white. Colour film was recorded but is thought to have been discarded.
To recreate colour footage and restore sound quality, #FullColour66 will use technicians whose credits include the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Hat-trick hero Hurst is backing the project, which will also help fund Alzheimer’s Society.
“The only people to have seen the match in colour are the 90,000 people at Wembley that day,” Canetty-Clarke, who worked as a merchant banker at Morgan Grenfell, told City A.M.
“It’s a completely different viewing experience. It enhances the games and makes it so much more interesting.
“We’ve got quite a mountain to climb and we hope the public respond and think it’s a good idea.
“It’s been languishing as a national treasure in the archives for too long.”
How football fans can revive colour 1966 World Cup footage
Football fans can invest at three price points, which offer different privileges.
Entry-level backers can pay £7 and receive one online stream of the finished film when it is released next summer.
For £19, investors can own a DVD of the match in colour, which comes signed by Sir Geoff for those taking the £66 gold package.
All British-based film-funders will be entered into a draw for one of 200 pairs of tickets to join some of England’s World Cup winners at the premiere in July 2021.
Hurst, who has only ever been able to relive his crowning achievement in grainy black and white, said: “I’m as excited as any England fan to join the crowdfund, see the match next July and help bring colour to history.”
Canetty-Clarke, who moved from banking into television, had the idea for #FullColour66 while working on a related project.
He successfully pitched the idea of re-running the 1966 final in full, in black and white, to Channel 4 earlier this year.
The original programme, simultaneously shown on the BBC and ITV, achieved 32.3m viewers, which remains a national record 54 years on.
Final Replay aired in June and pulled in a peak audience of 1m, several times higher than the channel’s usual Sunday afternoon figures.
Mystery of the missing colour film
Among the feedback, however, were repeated questions about why it wasn’t being shown in colour.
Canetty-Clarke and associates set about trying to find the colour footage, only to finish up empty handed.
While colour film was taken by a Chilean producer and highlights used in the official film of the tournament — Goal! The World Cup — the rest is missing.
“What happened to the rest of the colour film is a mystery,” said Canetty-Clarke, a former financial director of ITV and Guardian Media.
So instead, Park Road Post Production — of Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fame — will restore the black and white film and mix the sound.
Bafta-nominated West Wing Studios will then undertake the colourisation work.
Alzheimer’s Society will receive at least £35,000, provided the minimum crowdfunding target of £700,000 is met.
Five members of England’s World Cup winning squad have since been diagnosed with dementia, amid growing concerns over the long-term impact of heading footballs.
Canetty-Clarke — “a City boy at heart” who returned more recently for a spell at boutique firm Sanditon Asset Management — said: “There’s additional poignancy.
“Many of the team from that amazing final have been affected. We thought it would be good to raise some money for them at the same time.
“One of the areas most affected by Covid-19 has been people with dementia in care homes who cannot see their families. The Alzheimer’s Society has been at the forefront of trying to help those families.”
To join the #fullcolour66 project visit the crowdfunding page here.