He scored ten goals in his first fourteen
appearances as part of the ''Busby Babes' team and embodied the spirit
of that new generation. The season prior to the Munich crash he had
established himself in the first team squad as still young lad.
Following the aftermath of Munich, he returned a man to play in the 1958
Cup Final. In the 1958-1959 he notched in 29 goals in 38 appearances and
was truly a mainstay of the side.
For four seasons in the early 1960s, he
became a left-winger, and there are those who maintain that was his best
position. However, it was one that Bobby didn't like because he felt he
wasn't involved enough and in 1964 Matt Busby moved him into central
midfield. Here his spectacular attributes were there for all to see -
the pulverising shot, the accurate long-distance pass and the
devastating body swerve - but the most precious of his gifts, and the
one which made the rest so deadly, was his instinct. Bobby possessed a
natural feel for his work which was inspirational and exceedingly rare,
an ability to seize a game and change its course, almost invariably in
the grand manner. He had at last found his true playmaker role.
From the midfield, together with Paddy
Crerand, he orchestrated some of the most scintillating play in British
soccer history. There were two Championships (1965 and 1967) but these
only lead to greater things. In 1966 his two goals against Portugal
helped England through to the World Cup Final, which they won in
spectacular fashion at Wembley. Soon after this triumph he was voted
Footballer of the Year by England's soccer writers, an honour quickly
followed by the European Footballer of the Year and an award from the
referees as a model player. The European Cup triumph in 1968 was Bobby's
peak as he captained the Manchester United team to victory ten years
after Munich, scoring United's first and last goals in a 4-1 victory.
He went to the 1970 World Cup but was
somewhat controversially substituted in the quarter final defeat against
West Germany. After leaving United in 1973, Bobby sampled management
with Preston North End - for whom he re-registered as a player and
turned out for a season. But in August 1975, Bobby being Bobby resigned
on a matter of principle.
With management not his forte, he later
moved into the partnership of a travel agency and launched the now
famous Bobby Charlton Sports Schools. In 1984 Bobby became a director at
He was awarded the O.B.E. in 1969, the
C.B.E. in 1974 and was knighted in 1994.