サー ボビー チャールトン。


Nobody embodies the values of Manchester United better than Sir Bobby Charlton. Having survived the trauma of the Munich Air Disaster when aged just 20, he played as if every game was for his fallen colleagues, recovering from his injuries to reach the pinnacle for both club and country. In a 17-year playing career with the Reds, he played 758 games and scored 249 goals - both of which were longstanding records until, respectively, Ryan Giggs in 2008 and Wayne Rooney in 2017 surpassed his feats.

Highly coveted by clubs across the country, the young Charlton, nephew of the great Newcastle United striker Jackie Milburn, joined Matt Busby's Manchester United as a schoolboy in 1953 and turned professional with the club in October 1954.

After winning the FA Youth Cup in 1954, 1955 and 1956, his first-team debut came on 6 October 1956, against Charlton Athletic at Old Trafford, and the youngster made an immediate impact. He scored twice in the Reds' 4-2 league victory, despite carrying an injury. “Mr Busby asked me if I was okay,” recalled Sir Bobby. “I actually had a sprained ankle, but I wasn’t going to admit to it and I crossed my fingers and said ‘yes’.”

Despite his dramatic bow, Charlton didn’t command a regular place until the latter stages of the 1956/57 season, notching 10 goals as Busby's 'Babes' won the league title - the fifth in the club's history. Competition for a first-team spot was intense, but a hat-trick against Bolton Wanderers during the next campaign certainly helped his cause - and Busby found it harder and harder to leave out the powerful young forward.

In February 1958, Charlton scored twice in United’s 3-3 draw against Red Star Belgrade as the Babes sealed a place in the semi-finals of the European Cup. Disaster struck on their return, when the aeroplane taking the squad home crashed in Munich after refuelling. Twenty-three people, including eight of his team-mates, perished and Charlton was among those injured. However, his wounds were relatively minor and he was back in action within a month, eventually helping the Reds to reach the FA Cup final. United lost 2-0 to Bolton Wanderers at Wembley, but Charlton and co returned in 1963 to win the same trophy by beating Leicester City.

The England international proved to be an integral component of United's rebuilding process after Munich, plying his trade across the field while the rest of the side was constructed. A permanent switch to a deep-lying forward role brought the best from him, and he was vital as Busby's men won league titles in 1965 and 1967.

Shortly before the 1966 World Cup, Charlton was named Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year and European Footballer of the Year in quick succession. He went on to play a starring role as Alf Ramsey’s side won the tournament, scoring twice in the semi-final win over Portugal. Charlton earned 106 caps in total – three as captain - and his tally of 49 goals stood as an England record from May 1970 until September 2015 when Wayne Rooney broke it with his 50th strike.

Although winning the World Cup is seen as the pinnacle of achievement in football, Charlton’s finest hour at club level came in May 1968 when he captained United to European Cup glory at Wembley. He scored twice in the 4-1 final win over Benfica but famously missed the post-match celebrations, instead conducting a solitary remembrance of the friends he had lost in the Munich tragedy 10 years earlier.

The skipper continued to entertain United fans as part of the famed Best-Law-Charlton triumvirate before he retired in 1973. He then spent two years as manager and player-manager at Preston North End before resigning in August 1975. Bobby briefly played for Waterford in the Republic of Ireland in 1976 before accepting a boardroom position at Wigan Athletic, where he took over as caretaker-manager during season 1982/83.

In June 1984, Charlton became a director of Manchester United. Ten years later, he was knighted, having previously been awarded the OBE and CBE.

A respected ambassador for his club, English football and the game across the world football, Sir Bobby Charlton is a figurehead: a link with the club’s past, present and future.

Read Less About Bobby Charlton
  • Position


  • Country


  • Date of birth

  • Joined

  • United debut

    v Charlton (H) League

  • Left United


Goal of the Day: Charlton v Benfica video

Bobby Charlton scored this immaculate header as we went on to win our first European Cup, on 29 May 1968...

Why Rashford is in our top 20 Article

Marcus's strike against Liverpool lifted him on to another leaderboard at Old Trafford.

When we honoured a true football icon video

On this day in 2016, Old Trafford stood to applaud as the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand was unveiled...

What's happening at United this week? Article

You won't miss a trick - or a kick - if you check our guide to seven days' worth of Reds events and anniversaries.

Sir Bobby receives COVID-19 vaccine Article

The United and England legend has been pictured receiving his jab.

United Trinity statue of George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton at Old Trafford

When Best, Law and Charlton first played together Article

We're marking a major milestone in club history by showing you objects from the United Trinity's stellar careers.

Bruno Fernandes

Ruud, Robin, Zlatan... and now Bruno! Article

Find out why our Portuguese magnifico is listed alongside some of Old Trafford's greatest-ever strikers.

Sir Bobby and Lady Norma Charlton.

United saddened by Sir Bobby diagnosis Article

The club offers its love and support to the Reds legend and his family.

Pele and Sir Bobby Charlton.

Sir Bobby wishes Pele a happy 80th birthday Article

Read what the United icon has said about his friend and fellow legend of world football.

Rashford joins iconic Reds trio Article

Find out which three United and England greats Marcus matched after his successful penalty against Belgium.

Bobby Charlton scores against Benfica at Wembley in the 1968 European Cup final

Goal of the Day: Charlton v Benfica video

To celebrate Sir Bobby Charlton's birthday, here's his brilliant header from the 1968 European Cup final...

Happy birthday, Sir Bobby! video

Sir Bobby Charlton was born on this day in 1937 - what better way to celebrate than by watching some of his best goals…

Marcus Rashford scores against Brighton

United's 10,000 goals: How they break down Article

Here's a statistical look at the landmark we reached when Marcus Rashford scored against Brighton on Saturday.

Lou Macari, Jimmy Nicholl and Gordon Hill.

United's Team of the 1970s Article

With the focus on the Seventies, we look at an XI based on those who performed in the decade the most for the Reds.

Manchester United Foundation staff.

MU Foundation donate 650 footballs to young people Article

Sir Bobby Charlton has lent his support to the Foundation's latest community initiative.

View More