Bobby Charlton : biography
Further success with Manchester United came at last when they beat Leicester City 3–1 in the FA Cup final of 1963, with Charlton finally earning a winners’ medal in his third final. Busby’s post-Munich rebuilding programme continued to progress with two League championships within three seasons, with United taking the title in 1965 and 1967. A successful (though trophyless) season with Manchester United had seen him take the honours of Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year and European Footballer Of The Year into the competition.
In 1968, Manchester United reached the European Cup final, ten seasons after Munich. Even though other clubs had taken part in the competition in the intervening decade, the team which got to this final was still the first English side to do so. On a highly emotional night at Wembley, Charlton scored twice in a 4–1 win after extra time against Benfica and, as United captain, lifted the trophy.
During the early 1970s, Manchester United were no longer competing among the top teams in England, and at several stages were battling against relegation. At times, Charlton was not on speaking terms with United’s other superstars George Best and Denis Law, and Best refused to play in Charlton’s testimonial match against Celtic, saying that "to do so would be hypocritical". Charlton left Manchester United at the end of the 1972–73 season, having scored 249 goals and set a club record of 758 appearances, a record which Ryan Giggs broke in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final. His goalscoring record remains intact.
His last game was against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on 28 April 1973, and before the game the BBC cameras for Match of the Day captured the Chelsea chairman handing Charlton a commemorative cigarette case. The match ended in a 1-0 defeat. His final goal came a month earlier, on 31 March, in a 2-0 win at Southampton, also in the First Division.
Charlton is related to several professional footballers on his mother’s side of the family: his uncles were Jack Milburn (Leeds United and Bradford City), George Milburn (Leeds United and Chesterfield), Jim Milburn (Leeds United and Bradford City) and Stan Milburn (Chesterfield, Leicester City and Rochdale), and legendary Newcastle United and England footballer Jackie Milburn, was his mother’s cousin. However, Charlton credits much of the early development of his career to his grandfather Tanner and his mother Cissie. His elder brother, Jack, initially went to work applying to the Police Service before also becoming a professional footballer with Leeds United.