World Championship. Nobby Stiles (right) won 28 international games between 1965 and 1970 and played in all six games of the 1966 World Cup in England.
Triumphant, toothless and spinning.
Dance Nobby Stiles – one of the defining images of England’s 1966 World Cup victory: He turns on the edge of the Wembley field, pulls out his false teeth, takes off his red socks, holds the Julius Rome trophy firmly in his raised left hand.
Stiles, who died at the age of 78 after a long illness, stood for an entire nation with this impulsive and now iconic post-game holiday.
And that feeling is not limited to the generation that has been lucky enough to experience the best football in their country.
My grandson’s children, they come and go: Hey, you, you’re the toothless guy who danced around Wembley, he told The Guardian in 2002. External reference.
In a way, you belong to everyone in the end.
Before that, in the glorious summer of 1966, English law enforcement was not unanimously popular. Not with the fans, not with the media, not with the football association.
In the end, the Catholic disposable altar defeated the critics, who were far from falling in love with his fighting style.
But a humble Mancunian – a friendly, warm and modest family man who left the field and was by nature rather controversial – will forever be remembered as a national hero.
Born as Norbert Peter Stiles on the 18th. In May 1942 in Collickhurst, a post-industrial suburb north of central Manchester, he fulfilled his childhood dream by joining his beloved Manchester United as an apprentice in November 1959.
My father Charlie was an undertaker in the area where we lived, and when we got a call from Old Trafford to sign my contract, he said Jump, my son, and I’ll take you there. Now the jump in your son’s hearse, Stiles remembers. External communications.
The debut of the 6-foot full-back took place a year later, but only after he was sent for an eye test by United Matt Busby, a manager worried about the teenager’s bad deeds.
Thanks to the blocked outer field glasses and thick contact lenses, Stiles’ eye for the tiger is instantly improved.
Busby then had the vision to make a bold tactical decision that would change the course of Stiles’ career.
The Scotsman’s dilemma was that he needed an energetic midfielder (a defensive midfielder in the modern sense of the word) who could defeat opposing attacks and feed his offensive line with Bobby Charlton, George Best and Dennis Lowe.
Stiles sets the score.
He became the mainstay of the United team that won the first division title in 1964-65, and eventually caught the attention of English manager Alfa Ramsey when he actively tried to lead the host country’s attack on the World Championship the following year.
Like Busby, Ramsey knew he had to maximize Charlton’s talents. Like Busby, Ramsey turned to Stiles.
Stiles made his debut in Wembley against Scotland in April 1965 and strengthened his position over the next twelve months through a series of enthusiastic performances.
But his aggressive technique of ball possession did not please the purists in the press, not even during the 1966 World Cup.
I was stabbed in the papers, absolutely stabbed, Stiles said.
My job was to earn it, give it to Bobby and let him move on. The magazine never turned me down.
However, this criticism did not only come from journalists. Even the FA did not appreciate the destructive nature of the bald midfielder.
After a retrospective booking after their last group match against France – for a serious challenge to archrival Jacques Simon of Les Bleus – Ramsey’s management asked Stiles to launch in the quarterfinals against Argentina.
Ramsey said no.
I was an obligation, and I was told Stiles remembered.
Alf said he’d resign if he couldn’t choose who he wanted. He was ready to stop in the middle of the World Cup because of me. I didn’t find out until after he died. What a man!
Ramsey’s resistance was justified. Stiles not only helped the hostile Argentine team – by the polite Ramsey angrily described as an animal – but also cancelled the Portuguese superstar Eusebio in the semi-finals when England arrived in Wembley’s showroom.
Alf used to call me Norbert. Just before the race in Portugal he took me in one direction and said to Norbert: I want you to shoot Eusebio, Stiles said.
I said: You mean for the game, Alf, or forever?
Eusebio may have survived, but Portugal didn’t. And the rest has gone into English sports history.
Stubborn, aggressive, dirty – all descriptions are in Stiles style. After all, he didn’t deserve the nickname toothless tiger for no reason.
But kicking Stiles out of soccer like a Machiavellian would be a big mistake.
I remember once asking Sir Alf about his team at the 1966 World Cup, said Sir Alex Ferguson, former manager of Manchester United.
He said he had five world-class players, and Nobby was one of them. The great reader of the game – Bobby Charlton always mentions that a great reader of the game – influenced the team, could catch, could pass.
Stiles will always be remembered for his influential role in the triumph of England, and he will also remain a hero in his hometown of Manchester.
Between 1960 and 1971, Stiles played for the Red Devil almost 400 times, winning two league championships and especially the 1968 European Cup.
Stiles, with George Best and Bobby Charlton, helped United Benfica beat Wembley to European Champion for the first time.
He is still one of three British players, along with Charlton and former Liverpool player Ian Callaghan, who won the World Cup and the European Cup.
After leaving Old Trafford, he ended his playing days with short stints at Middlesbrough and Preston North End, then moved to Deepdale as coach.
However, his career as a manager has not been matched by his success as a player.
The bad times that followed his farewell to football and the failure of his attempts to get the game under control led to suicidal thoughts when he drove his car on the M6 motorway in early 1989.
Everyone remembers you in good times, but of course people also have bad times, everyone, not just me, told Stiles the sport in 2003.
You have to go through everything – only then can you gain experience.
The time I spent in management was part of learning and part of my life. In my case, I realized I wasn’t feeling well.
While Stiles felt he had nothing to offer in terms of management, others saw an opportunity to maximize his talents – namely, his rich football experience and his ability to be refreshingly honest.
United invited him to coach the youth team in 1989. He brought in Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, David Beckham and Nicky Butt, a player who reminded Stiles a lot of his transition from the Academy to the first team.
Known for his singing on the pitch, he also used his mouth to become a big hit in the afternoon speech, rewarding attentive players with fairy tales from the locker room before his deteriorating health finally removed him from public view.
A common story revolves around a simple instruction that Busby gives him for each game: Norrie, let him know you’ll be here in the first five minutes.
This shouldn’t be a pleasant introduction.
But dear Stiles, who once said he wanted to be remembered as a happy man, has left a lasting impression on millions of English football fans.