'Arise, Sir Geoff,' has a pretty hollow ring to it. But from today anyone calling Geoff Hurst's car insurance business in Essex won't be asking for plain Mr Hurst, scorer of the only hat-trick in a World Cup final, but Sir Geoff, Knight of the British Empire. Quite why it's taken the British Government 32 years to honour the player who helped give England arguably the most cherished prize in sport is hard to work out. But with England kicking off their current campaign in Marseille today, it seems that Prime Minister Tony Blair is blatantly, some would say cynically, trying to make political capital out of the feel-good factor connected with major sporting events. England's run to the semi-finals of the European Championships in 1996 lifted a nation and gave truth to the slogan that football was 'coming home'. With Blair trying to promote a 'Cool Britannia' image for the country, a successful tournament for England, and to a lesser degree Scotland, will be worth thousands of votes for the Labour Government. But without Paul Gascoigne, a question mark hangs over the England squad so the politically astute Blair got his name on the scoresheet first by honouring a player with a special place in football folklore. His decision, however, must have left a sour taste in the mouths of the remaining members of that 1966 World Cup-winning squad, who to this day enjoy a warming camaraderie. Bobby Charlton is the only other player from the team to have been awarded a knighthood and it's generally accepted that was for his outstanding contribution to football, not just his role in 1966. While goalkeeper Gordon Banks, Jack Charlton, team captain, the late Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Hurst were all decorated for their achievements at Wembley on July 30, 1966, five members of the team remain gongless - Nobby Stiles, Ray Wilson, Roger Hunt, Alan Ball and George Cohen. Apart from the cachet attached to a knighthood or an MBE there is the financial value. There is currently a roaring trade in sports memorabilia and former players who fall on hard times can make a fair whack from selling off their medals and trophies. Bobby Moore's medal from that Wembley day and other awards he collected during a great career are expected to fetch a whooping US$2 million for his first wife. His Order of the British Empire (OBE) is not on the list of items up for auction as his family cherish it more, it seems, than the World Cup-winners' medal. Hunt, Wilson, Cohen, Stiles and Ball would doubtless feel the same if they had not been overlooked when the gongs were being handed out.