Famous for his toothless grin and victory dance in the 1966 England World Cup victory, Nobby Stiles was known as one of the "Hard men" that were commonplace in the 1960's and 70's. An enthusiastic half-back he was extremely popular with United and England fans alike, renowned for his hard, tough tackling, expert skills at spotting potential danger and man marking.
Nobby was born in Collyhurst, Manchester, also the birthplace of future team-mate Brian Kidd. As a young boy Stiles had stood on the Stretford End and dreamt of playing for United. That dream came true as after representing Manchester and Lancashire Schoolboys he signed on amateur forms for Manchester United in September 1957. From 1960-71 he won two League Championship medals, a European Cup winner's medal and won the World Cup in 1966.
In the 1966 World Cup Semi-Final and 1968 European Cup Final it was his job to stop Eusebio, the legendary Portuguese striker. It was done in a way which would appear cynical today but was perfectly acceptable at the time as part and parcel of the game. Stiles was successful on both occasions as he extinguished the attacking threat of "The Black Panther".
However, there was much more to Nobby than just his hard man image. It was his ability to read the game and excellent tactical awareness that allowed the flair players like Best and Charlton to do their stuff.
His famous victory jig at Wembley in front of the television cameras after collecting his winners' medal in the 1966 World Cup Final, showed his love and excitement for the game of football.