025. Bobby Charlton
Bobby Charlton is without doubt one of the most famous English players of all time. His name is synonymous with some of the greatest moments in the English game, but also with the highest traditions of sportsmanship and integrity. Bobby using his pace out of midfield and with a thunderous shot, scored some of the most spectacular goals English football has ever seen. Born in Ashington on October 11th 1937, he was signed by Manchester United when aged 17. As one of the “Busby Babes” to survive the Munich air disaster, he teamed up with Denis Law and George Best in the 1960s to produce some of United’s greatest ever football.
Bobby Charlton remained faithful to United and in his time there from 1956-73, he won the league championship three times, the FA Cup once and the European Cup once. Benfica was beaten 4-1 in a memorable final in 1968 at Wembley. All in all Charlton played more than 750 games for Manchester United and scored 247 goals in all competitions. He was also voted “European Footballer of the Year” in 1966. The same year England hosted and won the World Cup for their first and so far only time.
Bobby Charlton was instrumental in England’s triumph. After a poor start against Uruguay, England went on to beat France and Mexico. Bobby Charlton scored a stunning goal against the Central Americans. Then Argentina and Portugal were eliminated in the knock-out stages, with Bobby Charlton scoring both England’s goals in the 2-1 win over Portugal. In a memorable final England beat West Germany after extra time. Charlton retired from international football after England were defeated by West Germany four years later in Mexico in the quarterfinals. Bobby Charlton played 106 times for England – a record at that time – and scored 49 goals, which was a record in English football until it was surpassed by Wayne Rooney. Having retired from all football in 1973 he became manager of Preston NE, worked as director of Wigan Athletic and in 1984 was appointed director of Manchester United. He was awarded a CBE in 1974 and a knighthood in 1994. He is currently working as ambassador for Manchester United.