Charlton, Bobby

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Bobby Charlton

Bobby Charlton

Clubs played for: East Northumberland Schools, Manchester United, Preston North End, Waterford United (1953-1976)

Born: 1937

Birthplace: Ashington, Northumberland

Position: Attacking midfielder Forward

Biography: Arguably Manchester United's greatest servant, Sir Bobby has been part of the club's ups and downs for over forty years. Even taking into account brief spells at Preston and Wigan at the tail end of his playing career, there is no doubt that his knighthood was bestowed for services to one establishment in particular, his beloved Manchester United Football Club. From the moment he first ventured to the city from his native north-east, it was obvious that here was a star in the making. Within a year, young Bobby had signed professional terms and started out on a career that would take in over 750 games. Having survived both the horror of the Munich accident as well as the terrible trauma that followed, thankfully highs were a plenty. 106 England caps can be proudly displayed alongside winner's medals from FA Cup, European Cup and World Cup victories. On an individual basis, he also added the title of Footballer of the Year, European Footballer of the Year, an OBE in 1969 and finally the right to be called 'Sir' in 1994. For the fans, he has provided a lifetime of memories: not only great goals, of which he scored over 300, but tremendous dedication and skill; as well as in later years, the unique picture of his remaining strands of hair flapping in the wind as he set off on a foray into an opponent's danger area before unleashing one of his famous rocket shots! He had a spell as manager of Preston, then built up several businesses from travel, jewellery and ran a global soccer school. He has been a United director since 1994, and has been an ambassador for several bids to bring sporting events to England from the Commonwealth Games, Olympics Games and the World Cup.

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Charlton, Bobby Over the last 60+ years I have often claimed to be the first person to get 'Bob's' autograph. One day, whilst autograph hunting without much going on, the players used to have a kick about at the far end outside the station, David Pegg always seemed to in goal at the stadium end, but not this particular day, I decided to try and get a director's autograph. I strolled into the little office and there stood in front of was a line of four people. Three oldies and a youngster. The youngster was second from the left dressed in a camel coloured coat white shirt and shiny black shoes, as I remember. Recognising, I thought, a director named Hardman I thrust my autograph book towards him. 'You don't want my autograph,' he said, ' You meant this young lad's. He going to be a good player'. With great reluctance I did as I was told, and the young lad duly signed, Bob Charlton.
When I reluctantly left the office, having ' failed' in my mission, I was looking into my book to see who had the temerity to 'misuse' my best book, when a fellow oik, recognising that I must have secured a signing, came running up. 'Who you got?', he asked and grabbed my book. On seeing the fresh signature he exclaimed, ' Bob Charlton, never 'eard of him!!'. He thrust my book back into my hands and ran off.

I often wonder if he remembers, the fellow oik, like yesterday to me; the same for BC, I was, at the time, all red hair and freckles and looked up at Sir Bobby. Now I would look down on him, but rather white with a lack of teeth which have been left on the sporting fields of Yorkshire.
09-09-20 Nicholas Connolly

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