Profile Born on 11 October 1937 in Ashington, Robert “Bobby” Charlton developed into one of the best attacking midfield players ever in England and perhaps in the whole of Europe. He played a major role in both England’s World Cup victory in 1966 and in Manchester United’s Champions Cup win in 1968 and, with his 49 goals scored also became
England’s all-time top scorer.
Charlton was only 20-years-old when the tragic day came that was to shape his football career forever: 6 February 1958. Returning home from Belgrade where they had just reached the semi-finals of the Champions Cup against Red Star, the airliner that carried Charlton and his Manchester United teammates, the so-called “Busby Babes”, crashed on the icy runway at Munich Riem Airport, claiming 23 lives including almost the entire Manchester United team. From that moment on, Charlton and Manchester United manager Matt Busby, two of the few survivors, set themselves the almost sacred target of becoming the first English club to win the Champions Cup, in honour of their dead team-mates. And almost exactly 10 years later, an inspired Bobby Charlton led Manchester United, together with a sensational George Best and others, to victory in the 1968 Champions Cup final at Wembley, beating Benfica of Portugal 4-1 after extra time.
Two years earlier, in 1966, Charlton, together with his elder brother Jack, the Leeds centreback, had already claimed the biggest prize in international football as England won the 1966 World Cup, also at Wermbley and also after extra time. In that same year, 1966, Bobby Charlton was voted France Football’s European Footballer of the Year. He also won three domestic league titles with Manchester United and, in 106 international matches, scored 49 goals, making him the all-time leading goalscorer for England. Today he is a highly respected member of the Man-U board.