England’s performance at the World Cup places the team among the worst teams at the tournament, but a local photographer had a big part to play in the stamp issued when the Three Lions could call rightly themselves the best on the planet.

Peter Boyce, 65, of Woodford Road in Snaresbrook, was a student at Walthamstow School of Art in 1966 and freelancing at Town Magazine when he got what he considers the job of a lifetime.

Only 17 at the time, he landed work with renowned stamp designer David Gentleman to provide photographs for the official England World Cup stamp.

Between 1962 and 2000 Gentleman created 103 stamps for the Post Office, making him the most prolific stamp designer in Britain at that time.

He went on to win the Phillips Gold Medal for postage stamp design in both 1969 and 1979.

Mr Boyce said: “It was my first real job and turned out to be the highlight of my career really, it was an amazing thing to be involved in.

“I was told I could not use professional footballers so I ended up bribing two friends with cans of beer and taking photographs of them all kitted up on Wanstead Flats.

“Of course the Daily Mirror found out that they were not real footballers and I was told off for giving an interview about it.”

England duly won the trophy against Germany at Wembley and the stamp was reissued with “England Winners” emblazed across it.

In total 146 million of the stamps were issued, but Mr Boyce said he only received a small fee for his work.

He was unimpressed with the performance of the 2014 England team in Brazil, as they fell in the group stages, remembering instead the heroics of 1966.

Mr Boyce said: “I remember England winning in 1966 and everyone in the country just went berserk, the team has never reached even close to those heights again.

“I was watching England this year and the performance was rubbish to be quite honest, I was lucky to be involved in the 1966 triumph."

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Woodland Trust