Bobby Charlton

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Bobby Charlton : biography

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England began the tournament with two victories in the group stages, plus a memorable defeat against Brazil. Charlton played in all three, though was substituted for Alan Ball in the final game of the group against Czechoslovakia. Ramsey, confident of victory and progress to the quarter final, wanted Charlton to rest.

England duly reached the last eight where they again faced West Germany. Charlton controlled the midfield and suppressed Franz Beckenbauer’s runs from deep as England coasted to a 2–0 lead. Beckenbauer pulled a goal back for the Germans and Ramsey replaced the ageing and tired Charlton with Colin Bell who further tested the German keeper Maier and also provided a great cross for Geoff Hurst who uncharacteristically squandered the chance. West Germany, who had a habit of coming back from behind, eventually scored twice – a back header from Uwe Seeler made it 2–2. In extra-time, Geoff Hurst had a goal mysteriously ruled outEngland: The Official F.A History, Niall Edworthy, Virgin Publishers, 1997, ISBN 1-85227-699-1. p. 101 after which Gerd Müller’s goal won the match 2-3. England were out and, after a record 106 caps and 49 goals, Charlton decided to end his international career at the age of 32. On the flight home from Mexico, he asked Ramsey not to consider him again. His brother Jack, two years his senior but 71 caps his junior, did likewise.

Despite popular opinion the substitution did not change the game as Franz Beckenbauer had scored before Charlton left the field, hence Charlton had failed to cancel out the German. Charlton himself conceded that the substitution did not affect the game in a BBC documentary. His caps record lasted until 1973 when Bobby Moore overtook him, and Charlton currently lies fourth in the all-time England appearances list behind Moore, David Beckham and Peter Shilton, whose own England career began in the first game after Charlton’s had ended. As of June 2013, Charlton’s goalscoring record still stands.

Notes

Personal life and retirement

He met his wife, Norma Ball, at an ice rink in Manchester in 1959 and they married in 1961. They have two daughters – Suzanne and Andrea. Suzanne was a weather forecaster for the BBC during the 1990s. They now have grandchildren, including Suzanne’s son Robert, who is named in honour of his grandfather.

In 2007, while publicising his forthcoming autobiography, Charlton revealed that he had a long-running feud with his brother, Jack. They have rarely spoken since a falling-out between his wife Norma and his mother Cissie (who died on 25 March 1996 at the age of 83). Charlton did not see his mother after 1992 as a result of the feud.

Jack presented him with his BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award on 14 December 2008. He said that he was ‘knocked out’ as he was presented the award by his brother. He received a standing ovation as he stood waiting for his prize.

Charlton helped to promote Manchester’s bids for the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games and the 2002 Commonwealth Games, England’s bid for the 2006 FIFA World Cup and London’s successful bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. He received a knighthood in 1994 and was an Inaugural Inductee to the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002. On accepting his award he commented "I’m really proud to be included in the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame. It’s a great honour. If you look at the names included I have to say I couldn’t argue with them. They are all great players and people I would love to have played with." He is also the (honorary) president of the National Football Museum, an organisation about which he said "I can’t think of a better Museum anywhere in the world." On 14 December 2008 Charlton was awarded the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award.

On 2 March 2009, Charlton was given the freedom of the city of Manchester, stating "I’m just so proud, it’s fantastic. It’s a great city. I have always been very proud of it."

Charlton is involved in a number of charitable activities including fund raising for cancer hospitals. Charlton became involved in the cause of land mine clearance after visits to Bosnia and Cambodia and supports the Mines Advisory Group as well as founding his own charity Find a Better Way which funds research into improved civilian landmine clearance.