Sir Bobby Charlton

by Bernard Frei on March 06, 2019

Bobby Charlton - Sir Robert Charlton, CBE - is almost as well known for the fact that he played in the same England team as his brother, Jack, that won the World Cup Final in 1966, as he is for being Sir Bobby, of which the close-knit Charlton family, and their relatives on their mother’s, Cissie’s, side, the Milburns - Jack, George, Jim, Stan, Jackie, all professional footballers - would be proud and delighted with. Bobby and Jack have frequently spoken of the role which Cissie and Tanner, their grandfather, played in their development as footballers.

The Charltons are from Ashington in Northumberland and Bobby was born on October 11th 1937.

He made his Manchester United debut, in which he scored twice, aged nineteen, at the start of the 1956-57 season, against Charlton Athletic, having been spotted playing for East Northumberland Schools in 1953, when he joined the club, aged fifteen. Matt Busby’s rebuilding of the club once the Second World War had finished was a much-documented twenty-year-long process which laid the foundations for one of the world’s most famous clubs. United were to be 1956-57 league champions.

His only FA Cup winners medal came with Manchester United’s 3-1 victory over Leicester City in the 1963 FA Cup Final, two more league titles in 1964-65 and 1966-67 following. He was the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year and European Footballer of the Year in 1965-66.

The European Cup followed in 1968, with Charlton captaining the United side and scoring twice in the 4-1 win over Benfica at Wembley. He had been one of the lucky Manchester United players and staff to survive the Munich air crash in 1958, the club’s success after the horrific events in Munich being all the more remarkable. Eight Manchester United players, and twenty three people in total, died in the plane that had taken off from Zemun airport and landed in Munich to refuel after the European Cup quarter final victory over Red Star Belgrade. Charlton survived with minor injuries.

Two months after the Munich disaster, in April 1958, Charlton made his full England debut against Scotland at Hampden Park, scoring in England's 4-0 win.

He was selected for the England squad for the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, but didn’t play. In 1959 he scored a hat-trick in England’s 8-1 defeat of the USA and another in 1961 in the 8-0 win over Mexico.

Charlton was selected for the 1962 World Cup in Chile, where he scored his twenty fifth England goal against Argentina in the group stages, before losing to Brazil in the quarter finals.

Alf Ramsey had been appointed England manager after the World Cup in 1962 and spent the following four years building a squad for the 1966 tournament in England, which the hosts won in the 4-2 win over West Germany.

Charlton was part of the England team that reached the semi-finals of the 1968 European Championships where they were eliminated by Yugoslavia. England defeated the Soviet Union 2–0 in the third place match.


In 1969, Charlton was appointed an OBE for services to football. He won his 100th England cap on 21 April 1970 against Northern Ireland, in which he scored his 48th goal for England, his 49th and final goal following against Columbia a month later before the 1970 World Cup.

In the quarter finals of the 1970 Mexico World Cup England lost to West Germany, 3-2, after taking a 2-0 lead. Charlton ended his international career on 106 caps and 49 goals at the age of 32, his brother, Jack, bringing an end to his England career at the same time.

Charlton’s playing career at Old Trafford ended on 249 goals and 758 appearances, his final game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on 28 April 1973.

Charlton joined Preston North End as manager in the same year, left the club at the start of the 1975–76 season, played briefly for Waterford United in 1976, joined Wigan as a Director and was appointed caretaker manager in 1983. He returned to Manchester United as a board member in 1984.

He was knighted in 1994.

He was given the freedom of the city of Manchester in 2009, and continues his involvement in causes connected with cancer hospitals and land-mine clearance.

Remember Sir Bobby Charlton and visit the Vintage Sports collection of Sir Bobby Charlton

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