Only two Englishmen have been victorious in World Cup and European Cup finals: Nobby Stiles, who died three years ago this week, and Bobby Charlton, the greatest of them all.
Charlton lived many lives in football: the Busby Babe who lit up Europe with his best friends and then had to grapple with their tragic deaths in Munich; the World Cup winner who lifted the trophy with his big brother; a third of the Holy Trinity in the Manchester United team that became the first English side to win the European Cup; and, finally, a director at the club and confidant to Alex Ferguson as United won it all again.
Few, if any, have had a bigger impact on English football. Charlton gave up an apprenticeship in electrical engineering in 1954 to make ends meet as a footballer and everything changed. His talent, dedication and longevity were astounding: he set records at United and England, had had a stint in management with Preston North End – where he brought his old pal Stiles onboard as a player-coach – and even carried on his playing career in Ireland and then Australia.
Charlton had a long and full career. If you met him along the way, we would love to hear from you. What were your experiences of Charlton the footballer and Charlton the man? What is his legacy and what did he mean to you?
This Community callout closed on 3 November 2023.
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