Legend Fact File: Sir Robert “Bobby” Charlton

Manchester United’s history is filled with great players and, regularly, I will be fact-filing a United Legend. To celebrate his 80th birthday, the first player will be World Cup winner, Sir Bobby Charlton.

Early Life

Sir Bobby was born on 11 October 1937 in Ashington, England, to Robert Charlton and Elizabeth “Cissie” Charlton. Thanks to his fanatic mother, who came from a footballing family, Charlton began playing the sport as a child. Cissie Charlton was the sister of four renowned English football players and the cousin of legendary player Jackie Milburn. Bobby has one older brother, Jack, who is also a well-known name in the game. Sir Bobby was just 15 when he was spotted by Manchester United’s chief scout Joe Armstrong, signing with the club in early 1953.

Playing Career: Manchester United

Charlton went on to score an incredible 249 goals in 758 appearances and held the records for most goals and appearances for United. Recently, these were beaten by Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs, respectively. He showed incredible loyalty to the Red Devil’s, with his playing career at the club spanning 17 years. During his time at United, the Englishman won three league titles, one European Cup, one FA Cup, and the UEFA best player in Europe award in 1966. Charlton was one of twenty-one survivors of the Munich air disaster that tragically took the lives of twenty-three players, staff and journalists in 1958. A decade on, he scored the first and last of United’s four goals as he captained United to their first European Cup victory.


Sir Bobby Charlton retired from international football in 1970, making 106 appearances for England. His record of 49 goals stood for 45 years until Wayne Rooney moved past the tally in 2015. Charlton was also named player of the tournament as England famously won their only World Cup in 1966.

Post-playing career

Soon after the midfielder retired in 1973, he become manager of Preston North End. After leaving the post in 1975, he was later appointed director of Wigan Athletic. However, he was always destined to end up back at United and, in 1984, he became a member of the Manchester United board of directors, a position he held up until 2012. Sir Bobby is now a global ambassador at Manchester United and can be seen at most United games with his wife of 56 years, Norma. Charlton was knighted in 1994 and also received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. The United legend also had the South Stand of Old Trafford named after him back in April 2016.

Which modern day player would Sir Bobby have loved to play with?

When he was asked this question, he answered quickly and without any doubt. The player he would’ve loved to play with was another former United star, Roy Keane. He mentioned that he thought Roy was right up there with the best of them and if he played well then the team would, inevitably, win.

There is no doubt that Sir Bobby Charlton is one of the best players ever to have graced Old Trafford. He is a legend on and off the pitch and will be emblazoned on United’s history forever.

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