Former Manchester United and England footballing Legend, Sir Bobby Charlton has been announced to have died a peaceful death in the early hours of Saturday morning after being diagnosed with dementia in 2020; only ten days after his 86th birthday.
Bobby Charlton who stood as an embodiment and an inspirational figure for English football throughout the decades was widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of his generation and of all time.
Charlton was England’s record goalscorer until 2015 when Wayne Rooney surpassed his tally of 49. His goalscoring prowess throughout his international career saw Charlton play an integral role in England’s only World Cup win in 1966, with Charlton responsible for scoring the first goal for England in their 1966 World Cup opener in a 2-0 win over Mexico as well as netting a brace in a 2-1 win over Portugal en route to the final.
His three goal tally throughout the competition aided the three lions to a historic 4-2 victory over West Germany in the final of the 1966 World Cup at the old Wembley; this remains England’s only major international trophy at the senior men’s level till date.
The unique footballing abilities portrayed by Charlton throughout his career was not much of a surprise as the English man had a footballing background from infancy. His uncles and brother were all professional football players and thus Sir Bobby had it written in the stars to become a football fanatic in the making.
Not only did Charlton captivate the hearts of the English, Charlton also had a lot of admiration from his former club Manchester United, where he rose to fame in tragic circumstances.
Bobby Charlton was formerly a member of Sir Matt Busby’s famous side (Busby Babes), who had won an iconic European cup tie against Red Star Belgrade and were emplaning back to the city of Manchester on February 6th, 1958. Manchester United’s aircraft crashed, leading to the demise of 21 members of the team,of which 8 were players and the other 3 being staff. But the 20 year Bobby Charlton, at the time, happened to be on the plane and was rescued by teammate Harry Gregg; who passed on in 2020 leaving behind Charlton as the only survivor of the Munich air disaster until his passing.
This drew lots of attention from the European media and global ardent football lovers.His survival, often described as ‘miraculous’, was coupled with Charlton’s remarkable success he enjoyed at United.
The legendary figure captained a star-studded United team that included United’s ‘trinity’ of George Best, Dennis Law and Bobby Charlton himself as his charismatic leadership adeptness spurred the club to their first ever European cup triumph in 1968 in a game which saw him grab a brace against Benfica in the final, making Manchester United the first English side to win the European Cup.
Having a unique eye for goal, the former attacking midfielder who was sometimes deployed on the wing or as a forward struck 249 goals for United and was their record goalscorer until Wayne Rooney prized it away from him in 2017.
Bobby Charlton will forever be commended for his stellar contributions to Manchester United. His first ballon d’Or trophy in 1966 further etched his name in the annals of the club. His monumental statue of the ‘trinity’ outside Old Trafford adds gloss to his immense contribution to Manchester United.
A trophy laden football career saw the dynamic attacker enjoy numerous successes including an FA cup, European cup, 3 Football League First Division titles, 2 FA charity shields and a World Cup.
Sir Bobby Charlton’s death has been a huge blow to the football World on the global level. His outstanding achievement as a footballer will forever be etched in football’ snhistory.
Story by: Andrews Sefa Bamfo | universnews.ug.edu.gh