A national treasure and a football hero, Sir Bobby Charlton. His like won’t appear once more.

A national treasure and a football hero, Sir Bobby Charlton. His like won’t appear once more.

Sir Bobby Charlton is significant to my own path with Albion. My dear old dad took me to the Goldstone for the first time on Monday, April 23, 1973, as Sir Bobby was playing his final home game for Manchester United at Old Trafford, around 250 miles away.

While still giddy from Brighton’s exciting 1-1 tie with Portsmouth, which doomed the team to relegation, I remember how detailed the news story was on Charlton’s curtain call at the Theatre of Dreams that evening.

The term “legend” is bandied about in football far too frequently, yet Sir Bobby was both a national treasure and a football legend.

There was a time when you could have gone anywhere in the world and taken a picture of him and someone would have recognized him right away.

His illustrious career at Manchester United began when he joined the club as a teenager from modest but incredibly grounded beginnings in the north east.



He was a true Busby Babe who began to resurrect his career following the horrible events in Munich in 1958.

In 17 years at Old Trafford, he played 758 times for United and scored 249 goals while earning various awards, including the 1968 European Cup final at Wembley a decade after the plane accident that all but obliterated possibly the best club team this country ever produced.

Only 36 years and Harry Kane later, after he had played 106 times for England, did Wayne Rooney surpass his record of 49 goals.

His 106th and last England game, a quarterfinal World Cup matchup versus West Germany in 1970, has generated a lot of discussion over the years.

Sir Bobby had Franz Beckenbauer in his pocket as the defending champions England were winning 2-0 with possibly their strongest side to date when Sir Alf Ramsey made what may have been the biggest managerial mistake of his career.

Beckenbauer said that he couldn’t believe it when he substituted Charlton with 20 minutes remaining in order to prepare for the semi-final, and the reenergized Germans went on to win 3-2 in overtime.

The recent outpouring of support is evidence that Sir Bobby Charlton was more than just a football player; he personified everything that was admirable about both the nation and our beautiful game.


There will never be another like him. Legend, get some rest.






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