Bobby Charlton : biography
Charlton was the first injured survivor to leave hospital, Harry Gregg and Bill Foulkes were not hospitalized since they escaped uninjured. He arrived back in England on 14 February 1958, eight days after the crash. As he convalesced with family in Ashington, he spent some time kicking a ball around with local youths, and a famous photograph of him was taken. He was still only 20 years old, yet now there was an expectation that he would help with the rebuilding of the club as Busby’s aides tried to piece together what remained of the season. He returned to playing in an FA cup tie against West Bromwich Albion on 1 March; the game was a draw and United won the replay 1–0.
Not unexpectedly, United went out of the European Cup to Milan in the semi-finals to a 5–2 aggregate defeat and fell behind in the League. Yet somehow they reached their second consecutive FA Cup final, and the big day at Wembley coincided with Busby’s return to work. However, his words could not inspire a side which was playing on a nation’s goodwill and sentiment, and Nat Lofthouse scored twice to give Bolton Wanderers side a 2–0 win.
- Manchester United
- Football League First Division (3): 1956–57, 1964–65, 1966–67
- FA Cup (1): 1962–63
- Charity Shield (4): 1956, 1957, 1965, 1967
- FA Youth Cup (3): 1953–54, 1954–55, 1955–56
- European Cup (1): 1967–68
- FIFA World Cup (1): 1966
- British Home Championship (10): 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970
- UEFA Euro 1968 (Bronze Medalist)
- FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (1): 1966
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team (2): 1966, 1970
- FIFA World Cup All-Time Team (1): 1994
- FIFA 100: 2004
- UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll: 2004
- Ballon d’Or: 1966
- FWA Footballer of the Year: 1965–66
- FWA Tribute Award: 1989
- PFA Merit Award: 1974
- Football League 100 Legends: 1998
- BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award: 2008
- English Football Hall of Fame: 2002
- Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award : 2012
Orders and special awards
- Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE): 1969
- Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE): 1974
- Knight Bachelor: 1994
- Order of the Rising Sun, 4th class: 2012
Charlton’s emergence as the country’s leading young football talent was completed when he was called up to join the England squad for a British Home Championship game against Scotland at Hampden Park on 19 April 1958, just over two months after he had survived the Munich air disaster.
Charlton was handed his debut as England romped home 4–0, with the new player gaining even more admirers after scoring a magnificent thumping volley dispatched with authority after a cross by the left winger Tom Finney. He scored both goals in his second game as England beat Portugal 2–1 in a friendly at Wembley; and overcame obvious nerves on a return to Belgrade to play his third match against Yugoslavia. England lost that game 5–0 and Charlton played poorly.
1958 World Cup
He was selected for the squad which competed at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, but didn’t kick a ball, something at which critics expressed surprise and bewilderment, even allowing for his lacklustre performance in Belgrade.
In 1959 he scored a hat-trick as England demolished the US 8–1; and his second England hat-trick came in 1961 in an 8–0 thrashing of Mexico. He also managed to score in every British Home Championship tournament he played in except 1963 in an association with the tournament which lasted from 1958 to 1970 and included 16 goals and ten tournament victories (five shared).
1962 World Cup
He played in qualifiers for the 1962 World Cup in Chile against Luxembourg and Portugal and was named in the squad for the finals themselves. His goal in the 3–1 group win over Argentina was his 25th for England in just 38 appearances, and he was still only 24 years old, but his individual success could not be replicated by that of the team, which was eliminated in the quarter final by Brazil, who went on to win the tournament.