Sir Bobby Charlton, 1937 – 2023

It is with great sadness that we learn about the passing of England and Manchester United icon, Sir Bobby (Robert) Charlton.

Sir Bobby was President of the National Football Museum and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002 for his outstanding contribution to football.

Born in Ashington, Northumberland, England on 11 October 1937, Charlton was first spotted playing for East Northumberland schools by Manchester United chief scout Joe Armstrong. He signed with them as a 15 year old school boy, turning professional in 1954.

He became part of the Busby Babes, the talented young squad that became the first English side to compete in the European Cup. In 1958 he survived the Munich Air Crash which claimed 23 lives, including eight of his teammates. Ten years later, he scored twice as Manchester United won the European Cup final. In seventeen years, he made 758 appearances, scored 249 goals, helped the club to three First Division titles and an FA Cup win, and was named the 1966 European Footballer of the Year.

Making his international debut in 1958, Charlton was part of England men’s finest moment – the 1966 World Cup win. He scored three goals, including both against Portugal in the semi-final, and was named Player of the Tournament. Until 2015, he was England’s record goal scorer with 49 goals in 106 games.

Charlton made his managerial debut in 1973 at Preston North End before briefly playing for Waterford in the Republic of Ireland in 1976. He then accepted a boardroom position at Wigan Athletic, where he took over as caretaker-manager in 1981-82.

In 1984, Charlton became a director of Manchester United. Ten years later, he was knighted, having previously been awarded the OBE and CBE. In 2011 he founded the Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation to help victims of conflict.

He was official inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame in 2002 for his outstanding contribution to football.

On the opening of the museum in Manchester in 2012, the museum’s President Sir Bobby said, ‘This is a museum for everybody, the whole world can come and see about the beautiful game in Manchester, I am so proud of this city’.

Visitors to the National Football Museum in Manchester are invited to sign a book of condolence, which is located in the Pitch Gallery.

His impact on the game is simply immeasurable and he will always be remembered as a true football hero and legend. Our condolences to Lady Norma Charlton and family from everyone at the National Football Museum.