Posted by Ancestry Team on June 13, 2014 in Entertainment, Website

‘1966 naming trend’ reveals how the names of England’s World Cup squad members will soar if they win the tournament.


  • Names of England’s 1966 World Cup winners doubled in popularity after Wembley win
  • Trend would mean nearly 30,000 extra boys with same name as 2014 Lions
  • Jack Wilshere can expect to see his name overtake Harry and Oliver as the most popular baby name in the UK if he can match counterpart Sir Bobby Charlton’s Wembley heroics
  • Tournament flops put dent in baby name popularity


The names of each of England’s squad members will more than double in popularity (increase by 116 per cent on average) if England wins the World Cup in Brazil, according to our research.

Analysis of historic birth indexes carried out showed that the names of each of the 1966 starting team doubled on average the year of their World Cup win, with some of the names increasing fivefold (386 per cent).

While 28,261 boys born in 1965 were given the same name as one of 11 players who featured in the final, 1966 saw an incredible increase to 51,895 babies holding one of these names after England’s players became national heroes, beating Germany 4-2 in extra time to lift the trophy.

The same average rise applied to 2014 squad members would see Jack (Wilshere) comfortably overtake Harry and Oliver to become the most popular boys’ name in the UK, while there would be nearly 4,000 extra Daniels (Sturridge) and 3,500 extra Josephs (Hart) if those two players can follow in the footsteps of legends like Geoff Hurst and Gordon Banks.

England’s 1966 squad featured iconic players such as Manchester United midfield star Sir Bobby Charlton and inspirational captain Sir Bobby Moore. Their shared name and prevalence in the squad meant that nearly 8,500 extra Roberts were born in 1966 compared to the year before, the biggest single rise of any name in the team.

The scale of the 1966 squad’s success was so great that every single players’ name spiked in popularity, including those which were already on the want such as Norbert (100%), Alan (90%) and Roger (40%). If this year’s England squad hold the World Cup trophy aloft, that could mean a reprieve in the demise of modern day names such as Wayne, which was given to only 30 boys in the UK in 2012.

The naming trend does, however, help send the names of England flops in the opposite direction. After David Seaman’s failed free-kick save against Ronaldinho of Brazil in 2002, nearly 500 fewer Davids were born that year. Danny (Mills), Trevor (Sinclair), and Robbie (Fowler) also fell in popularity as the Three Lions left the World Cup at the quarter final stage yet again. Similarly Gareth (Southgate) declined by 10 per cent in 1996 after the defender’s poor penalty saw England crash out of Euro ‘96.

Additional research also revealed that, incredibly, Paul Gascoigne’s virtuoso midfield performances and public tears at Italia ‘90 made him so popular that three baby boys were even given the first name ‘Gazza’ the year after the tournament.

The England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916-2005, is available to search at (or to all who have a World membership) and indexes every birth in England and Wales between those dates. The records list the full name of the child, maiden name of the mother as well as month and year of registration and the registration district.



  • Russell James, Marketing Manager“Our analysis of the millions of online birth records on provides a fascinating insight into how British people respond to footballing heroes, so England’s Lions really can make a name for themselves this summer – with the potential to make sure they live on throughout history. But it’s not just sporting stars who are honoured with commemorative baby names – the birth of a royal baby, or remembering a family member close to your heart can also be reflected in today’s choice of baby names”.


Keep up to date on all the World Cup action on Twitter by following the hashtag #WorldCup.



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