Sir Bobby Charlton, a legend of Manchester United, England, and indeed the beautiful game, died on Saturday at the age of 86.
Charlton was and is a giant of the game. He was a dominant player of his time for club and country. A World Cup winner with England, a League, FA Cup, and European Cup (that’s the UEFA Champions League for you young ones) winner with Manchester United, a club that owes him an enormous debt.
Charlton scored twice on that historic day at Wembley, May 29, 1968. The first English team to lift the cup, and Charlton was the man to do it.
Forever a Busby Babe, Charlton was one of several members of that young team that seemed destined for glory. He survived the Munich Air Disaster, overcame tremendous loss and carried with him the trauma for the rest of his life. But he carried on, a linchpin of Sir Matt Busby’s teams for a decade long quest to win the greatest prize in European football.
It’s the defining story of the history of this great club, a story as important as any and Charlton was at the heart of it. In many ways he is the heart of Manchester United, a lifelong servant as a player, executive, and ambassador. For most his presence was a constant throughout their lives, and he was the true United man.
Charlton’s place in history was secured long before he hung up his boots, and like United his legacy will never die. Because of him, United will never die.