So sad to hear of the death of United great Nobby Stiles at the age of 78 after a long period of illness with prostate cancer and advanced dementia.
Born in the cellar of his home in Collyhurst during an air raid in 1942, Nobby was a lifelong Reds supporter and truly was 'one of our own'.
Throughout his career Nobby's fearless ball-winning and tough tackling saw him playing as a "holding" midfielder long before they became the essential player in all top teams. Manager, Matt Busby, played him in the centre of the park to snuff out the flair and creative players of the opposition. His ball winning and ability to retain possession meant that teammates like Bobby Charlton & George Best were able to better use the space created. After 395 matches and 19 goals between 1960 & 1971, and winning league titles with the Red Devils in 1965 and 1967, (not to mention the World Cup with England in 1966 and the European Cup with United in 1968) Manchester United sold Stiles in 1971 to Middlesbrough for £20,000. Two years later, he became a player-coach at Preston North End when Bobby Charlton was manager. He also managed Preston between 1977 and 1981, the Vancouver Whitecaps from 1981 to1984, and West Bromwich Albion between 1985 and 1986.
He returned to United and a stint coaching under Alex Ferguson between 1989 and 1993 saw him as youth team coach, developing the considerable skills of teenage prodigies such as the "Class of '92", David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, and Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers. As tough as he was on the pitch and despite his incredible achievements on the field, he was always a very kind, caring and unassuming gentleman whenever you met him.
Sadly, his latter years were characterised by his struggles with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia and his powers of speech declined following a stroke in 2010.The former Reds midfielder, like many of his England team-mates was forced to sell his medals and football memorabilia to raise money for his family. An auction in 2010 raised £425,000, with United paying a total of £209,000 for his World Cup and European Cup winners’ medals.
Nobby was one of only two Englishmen (along with Bobby Charlton) to win the European and World Cups and how proud we are that they are both United players.
Nobby was made an MBE in 2000 and in 2007, he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame. He even had a road named after him in May 2016 in Collyhurst where he grew up.