“Some people are on the pitch. They think it’s all over - it is now!” - Kenneth Wolstenholme, World Cup Final, 1966
Established in 1885, Slazenger is one of the oldest surviving sporting brand names still around today. Founded by brothers Ralph and Albert Slazenger, the brand began on London's Cannon Street selling rubber sporting goods.
In 1902 Slazenger was appointed as the official tennis ball supplier to The Championships at Wimbledon and, with the current deal set to run until 2015, it remains one of the longest unbroken sporting sponsorships in history.
In 1940, extensive bombing during the Second World War saw a merger between Slazenger, Sykes Gradidge and Ayres. All four companies pooled their resources and managed to continue, and the new conglomerate contributed towards the war effort by producing a wide variety of items for use on the front line and the production lines. These included rifle furniture, sand and snow goggles and workman gloves.
In 1966, after a blind test of entries from a number of sports companies, Slazenger won the prestigious right to provide the balls for the World Cup.
Used in the Final between England and West Germany, it was Slazenger's 25-panel leather Challenge ball that was blasted by Geoff Hurst into the back of the net to seal England's victory!
This very ball can be viewed at the National Football Museum in England, adding yet another sheen of legendary glitz to the Slazenger brand.