The former hotel where the victorious 1966 World Cup England team stayed in Hendon has turned the clock back 57 years to those heady days when the place was besieged by young autograph hunters.

Some of those football fans like 70-year-old Michael Hart returned to Hendon Hall, now a care home for the elderly, to mark its place in sporting history and help the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK. 

An old black and white photo of the children who flocked to the hotel to cheer on the squad was used in a nationwide search for the young autograph hunters.

The care home was contacted by Michael, the boy on the left pictured with Jimmy Greaves and team captain Bobby Moore.

“I was 13 in 1966 and living in Holders Hill Avenue close to the old Hendon Hall Hotel,” he remembers. “Only a few people were interested in the team when the tournament started. But crowds grew outside the hotel as the team progressed.

“Someone came out of the hotel on the Saturday morning of the Wembley cup final asking if anyone wanted to buy a ticket. I didn’t have any money on me and missed out — something that has annoyed me all my life!”

Michael, who actually still lives in Hendon, was invited to join the Garston Under-8s girls’ FC and the Mayor of Barnet for the unveiling of a plaque to the 1966 England squad.

He has since donated his cherished book with autographs of nine of the England players to the Bobby Moore Fund to auction. 

Hendon Hall care home’s liaison manager Rakhee Popat said: “We found one of the young autograph hunters after all these years and were pleased Michael could join us to celebrate Bobby Moore’s connection to the home.”

They were joined by Jon Marshall, a former mayor of Barnet and now living in the care home.

Jon said proudly: “Our home holds a special place in football history. I idolised the 1966 squad growing up, so it has been a pleasure to raise funds in Bobby Moore’s honour.”

The former Hendon Hall hotel, now the Signature care home, even has a dedicated “Captain’s corner” in the bar.