Manchester United's history is imbued by the brilliance of legendary players. Here we remember the achievements of Sir Bobby Charlton, who made his first-team debut on 6 October 1956, scoring twice in a 4-2 home win over Charlton Athletic…
What makes him special? Where to start? His 758 appearances stood as a club record for 36 years until Ryan Giggs surpassed it in 2008. In his 60-year association with United, Sir Bobby has imbued many of the qualities that make the club world-renowned today. His class and dignity shown as a Munich survivor mark a moving clarification of his bond with Manchester and United. Charlton's ability, loyalty and longevity, so evident in United's recovery from that travesty, which culminated in 1968's European Cup success - and as a World Cup winner with England, of course - fully justifies his standing as one of world football's most feted figures.
Crowning glory For United, winning the European Cup in ’68 was truly emotional. Sir Bobby, who scored twice in the 4-1 win over Benfica at Wembley, explained in his autobiography My Manchester United Years: “Anyone who glanced at our history knew that no club ever had greater motivation to win the European Cup… the memory of Munich and our duty to those who died there to play to our very limits. I recall what it meant at the final whistle to embrace Bill Foulkes, who had also been on the snowy airfield and seen Matt Busby down and his team, our friends, destroyed.”
He says “Matt Busby always told us that football is more than a game. It has the power to bring happiness to people. That belief was the glory of his life – and the unbreakable pride I felt at being part of it. He was Manchester United and, I will always like to think, so am I.”