Great Shot

Sir Bobby: The Deepdale Gaffer



As Wayne Rooney closes in on the England goal-scoring record we thought we’d dig up a nice photo of the man he’s set to overtake; the legend that is Sir Bobby Charlton.

Rather than the usual images of Sir Bobby blasting one in for United or holding the World Cup aloft with England that we’re all so used to seeing, here we’ve opted for something a little less common. This pic is of Sir Bobby as he assumes the role of manager at Preston North End in 1973, a few months after hanging up his boots and leaving Old Trafford at the end of the 1972-73 season.

Charlton’s first task was signing his former United and England team-mate Nobby Stiles as player-coach. His first season ended in relegation however and although he began playing again he eventually left Preston early in the 1975–76 season after a disagreement with the board over the transfer of John Bird to Newcastle United. On the field he made 38 league appearances for Preston and scored 8 times.

After a brief stint with Waterford United in Ireland Charlton began doing punditry on matches for the BBC which continued for many years. In 1984 he became a director of Manchester United, a role he continues with to this day.


Classic Shots from Pre-Season Training Featuring the likes of Best, Jennings, McLintock, Auld & Moore


With the start of the new season on the horizon BOBBY has delved into it’s archives to bring you a random selection of photos from years gone by of footballers preparing for the new campaign.

Whilst some approaches were perhaps a little less scientific than others, the pics are a great snapshot of the enthusiasm players brought to the game. They may not have been super-rich like footballers of today, but they certainly realised they were happier being paid to play than work down a pit for example.


Two Bob: A great photo of Bobby Robson and Bobby Charlton training with England at Roehampton ahead of the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.

Soccer - Chelsea - Training - Stamford Bridge

Lumber-Up: Chelsea players workout using a 125lbs tree log to stretch during a pre-season training session in 1953.

Bobby Moore

Poetry: West Ham centre-half Bobby Moore heads the ball during a pre-season training session in Chadwell Heath in August 1962.

Soccer - Tottenham Hotspur Training

Burn Out: Pat Jennings and his epic sideburns in action during a Tottenham training session in 1973.

Soccer - Football League Division Two - Millwall FC Photocall

Lion King: Goalkeeper Brian King of Millwall springs into life in July 1969.

Soccer - Football League Division Two - Fulham Photocall - Craven Cottage

Photocall: Fulham’s Len Fisher limbers up with some stretching in pre-season at Craven Cottage, 1939.

Football - Chelsea Training - Stamford Bridge

Balls Up: Champions Chelsea get in some heading practice at Stamford Bridge in 1955.

Jimmy Hill goes through his paces at a Craven Cottage training session, 1958

Chin Up: Jimmy Hill goes through his paces at a Craven Cottage training session, 1958.

Diego Maradona

New Boy: Diego Maradona seen here training with his new Napoli teammates in the mountain resort of Castel del Piano in central Italy on July 27th 1984.

Arsenal favourite Frank McLintock showing off his leaping skills before the 1968-69 season

High Gunner: Arsenal’s Frank McLintock showing off his leaping skills ahead of the 1968-69 season.

Manchester United manager Wilf McGuiness with George Best during a training session in 1970

Scorcher: Manchester United manager Wilf McGuiness with George Best during a training session in 1970.


Hoops: Celtic assistant manager Sean Fallon watches Bertie Auld and Bobby Lennox enjoying a bit of the old running in-and-out-of-tyres routine in this training shot from 1967. Earlier that year Jock Stein’s brilliant collection of local players became the first British team to win the European Cup when they beat Inter Milan in Lisbon.


Hairy: Chelsea defender Dave Webb, sporting an impressive beard, seen here in training in Mitcham, south London, before the 1970-71 season. At the end of the previous campaign, Webb had scored the extra-time winner in that feisty FA Cup final replay against Leeds at Old Trafford.


Natter:  Tottenham captain Danny Blanchflower (left), and team-mate Dave Mackay, sit and chat tactics during a training session at Cheshunt, in July 1962 as they prepare for the start of the 1962-63 season.


Bestie with Big Ears!
United’s Best Gets His Hands On The Big One


It is the week of the Champions League Final, so we dug into our archives for a great shot of the famous trophy, known as the cup with ‘big ears’, which remains the same despite the name change of the competition.

Pat Crerand (left) and Best pose with manager Matt Busby and the European Cup in 1968. United defeated Benfica 4-1 in a thrilling period of extra time in the final at Wembley Stadium, becoming the first English club to win European football’s most coveted prize. Best won the Ballon d’Or in the same year.



Big Jack at 80
Cathal Dervan pays tribute to the man that changed Irish soccer forever


Jack Charlton, with his brother Bobby, in 1965. They would lead England to World Cup glory a year later. (Photo by Kent Gavin/Keystone/Getty Images)

England play Ireland on June 7 in Dublin a week ahead of the European Championship showdown qualifier against Scotland for Martin O’Neill’s team.

It will be a case of make-or-break for Ireland’s chances of reaching the 2016 finals in France.

Indeed failure will almost certainly cost O’Neill his job.

Who next..?

Those who make such decisions might just hark back to the day when the shock appointment at the time of an Englishman ushered in a new era.

Jack Charlton turned 80 on May 8. Our Great Shot is from April 8th 1965:  Brothers and members of the England football team, Jack Charlton and Bobby Charlton train at Chelsea Football Club’s Stamford Bridge stadium. Big Jack faces the camera and flashes the cheeky grin that would eventually capture the hearts of people on both sides of the Irish Sea.


Below the sports editor of The Irish Sun, Cathal Dervan, pays tribute to Big Jack and how he turned the Republic Ireland into a football force;

“We were going nowhere as a nation and as a football team when we first met Big Jack in late 1985.
By the time he left us a decade later we believed we were world beaters, on and off the pitch.

Jack Charlton didn’t just transform Irish football and give us all a reason to visit Germany, Italy and America; He made us proud to be Irish, convinced us that we could compete on any stage no matter who the opposition.

That is the greatest testament to the Charlton era. Without Jack we’d never have seen the Celtic Tiger.

Without him, we’d have maintained our position in mid-table mediocrity, in football and in life.

Love his football or hate his football, he made it good to be Irish at a time when even we needed convincing.

That’s his lasting legacy.”

April ’73: Charlton Bows Out
Bobby Charlton retires from top-flight football


Bobby Charlton leaves the Stamford Bridge pitch with Peter Boneti in front of an East Stand that’s under construction.

His Final Bow

Bobby Charlton retires from top-flight football

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

Seven years after lifting the World Cup and five years after winning the European Cup, Bobby Charlton finally hung up his ‘Manchester United’ boots on 28 April 1973; though his United career ended on a low note that day as the Red Devils lost by the only goal of the game in a league match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

During his career he scored 249 goals in a total of 754 appearances for the Red Devils, many of which were dispatched with his trade mark thunderbolt shot.

Born in the coal mining village of Ashington, Northumberland, in October 1937, he came from excellent footballing stock. Most famously, he was the nephew of legendary Newcastle United and England striker ‘Wor Jackie’ Milburn. Some have likened Bobby’s fierce shot with either foot to that of his uncle. And then there was his brother Jack who played professionally for Leeds United and England.

Bobby Charlton made his United debut in October 1956, in a league match against Charlton at Old Trafford. He scored twice, although he kept a secret from his manager, Matt Busby, which he later recalled during an interview. Busby had asked him if he was okay to play in that game. Charlton was suffering with a sprained ankle at the time, but wasn’t going to confess it to his manager: not on his debut. So he crossed his fingers and said he was fine.

Just two years later, he was to suffer injuries he couldn’t hide from anyone. At a snowbound Munich airport, Manchester United’s plane had landed to refuel. The team were on their way back to Manchester from Yugoslavia, in jubilant mood. They had drawn their match against Red Star Belgrade 3-3. The draw secured their place in the European Cup semi-finals. As the pilot attempted to take off the plane hit a perimeter fence, skidded into a frozen field and burst into flames. Bobby, along with Busby and several of his teammates, was hospitalized in West Germany. Twenty-one people lost their lives as a result of the crash, including seven of the Busby Babes. Among the seven was one player who many have argued was the greatest footballer ever. His name was Duncan Edwards.

As for twenty year old Bobby Charlton, he rose from the ashes of that disaster to rebuild a career that included many successful milestones: none more poignant than one night at Wembley in 1968. He was part of a United side that defeated Benfica at Wembley 4-1, to lift the European Cup. Bobby Charlton scored two of the goals that night. But he didn’t attend the post-match celebrations, preferring instead to be alone to remember his former teammates who were cut down in their prime, a decade earlier.

On the international stage he made a lasting impression in the minds of football fans everywhere; none more so than in July 1966. He was part of the England team, along with his brother Jack, which lifted the Jules Rimet trophy – England were the world champions and tears of joy coursed down Bobby’s cheeks.

He made 106 appearances for his country, a record that would probably still stand if substitutes weren’t awarded caps as they are today. But one record that hasn’t been broken is his 49 goals scored while proudly wearing the three lions badge on his shirt. Many have tried to surpass it, none have succeeded – although a certain current Manchester United player could overtake that achievement within the next 12 months.

Following his final game (incidentally, played on the same day as his brother Jack played his last game for Leeds United) Bobby Charlton went on to appear briefly for Preston North End (who he also managed) and, in 1976, Republic of Ireland side Waterford.

His post-playing career included a spell at Wigan as a board member, where he was also first-team manager. Then in 1984 he became a director of Manchester United, a position he still holds today.

His prowess on the football field led to him being named the Football Writers’ Player of the Year for 1967; and in 1974 he was awarded the PFA Merit Award. His career also led to an MBE and an OBE. Then in 2008 he received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award.

Yet for all those successes gained off the pitch, none weas more richly deserved than the knighthood he received from the Queen in 1994. Arise Sir Robert Charlton. Not bad for the lad from a mining community in Northumberland.

Watch out for my book review of ‘Duncan Edwards – The Greatest’ which will appear here on Bobby FC later this spring.


Bell Misses Derby Semi-Final Triumph As City Go Through



Ahead of the Manchester derby this weekend we had a rummage around to find something suitable and stumbled upon this lovely photo of Colin Bell looking out at Old Trafford after being ruled out of this 1969 derby with (I’m going to stick my neck out here) an arm injury.

This was a League Cup semi-final second leg, the first leg having finished 2-1 to City at Maine Road. Over 63,000 witnessed a humdinger of a derby with City emerging victorious thanks to a late equaliser on the night from Mike Summerbee in a 2-2 draw.

City led 3-2 on aggregate going into the second half. Then George Best picked the ball up 35 yards from goal, wriggled his way through the City defence and hit a shot which Joe Corrigan grasped at, then let drop. Denis Law couldn’t miss the follow up and he struck the ball into the net to bring the aggregate scores level.

That was still the case when City were awarded an indirect free kick just outside the United box.  As they lined up the defensive wall, the referee still had his arm pointing skywards, but that didn’t stop Franny Lee from striking the ball at goal. Luckily for City Alex Stepney tried to save it – he could have stood and let the ball fly into the net and it wouldn’t have counted, but instead he did his best to stop the shot  – and Mike Summerbee pounced to place the rebound past him and see City through to the final.


League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg

(City win 4-3 on aggregate)

17th December 1969

Att: 63,418

 Bowyer(17), Summerbee(82)
United: Edwards(23), Law(59)

Ref: Jim Finney

United: Stepney, Edwards, Dunne, Stiles, Ure, Sadler, Morgan, Crerand, Charlton, Law, Best – sub Kidd

City:  Corrigan, Book, Pardoe, Doyle, Booth, Oakes, Summerbee, Connor, Lee, Young, Bowyer – sub Owen


Lions Rip Catenaccio Apart!
Jock Stein’s Spy Mission of ’63 was the Blueprint for Victory in Lisbon


Celtic players rejoice at the final whistle in Lisbon.

Celtic’s meeting with Inter in the last 32 of the Europa League naturally stirs memories of when they overcame the Italian giants to lift the European Cup. Our Great Shot captures the moment of joy at the final whistle in Lisbon.

On May 25th, 1967 Jock Stein took a side that included the talents of Jimmy Johnstone, Bobby Lennox and Bobby Murdoch to Lisbon on a night that changed the face of British football as The Bhoys defeated Inter Milan 2-1 at the Estadio Nacional Stadium.

It was just Stein’s second season in charge, but his Celtic side achieved the impossible by winning every competition it entered that year. They claimed the Scottish League, Scottish Cup and League Cup as well as the Glasgow Cup – but all of that domestic glory was surpassed when they became the first British team to win the European Cup.

That heroic side become known as the Lisbon Lions, with many of the squad being included in the annals of Celtics history as the best to ever play for the club.

But the roots of that famous victory go back to the the autumn of 1963.

The then Dunfermline manager Jock Stein and his Kilmarnock counterpart Willie Waddell visited Italy to study the practices of Helenio Herrera, the groundbreaking Argentinian coach of Internazionale. Herrera was so obsessed by football and getting the best out of his players legend has it he slept with a model of a football pitch beside his bed – and his methods were working particularly well at Inter.

The notion of managers travelling all over Europe to observe the latest tactical trends was almost unheard of at the time, and the visit by Stein and Waddell changed both their  lives and their careers.

After returning from Milan both men would ditch the formal suits they wore and instead embrace the previously unknown concept of being a ‘tracksuit manager’.

Waddell found almost instant success, using the defensive template of Herrera’s to win Kilmarnock their first (and so far only) league title in 1965.

Stein would have to wait a little longer for his success, but when it came it would be ceaseless.

In December 1965, shortly after taking over at Celtic, Stein watched Scotland lose to Italy in Naples. Afterwards, Stein took Herrera’s most articulate player, left-back Giacinto Facchetti, to a hotel bar where, with the aid of diagrams scrawled on napkins, he picked the player’s brains into the early hours.

Stein was determined to find ways to break down Europe’s meanest defences and the lessons from that night with Facchetti would serve him well 18 months later.

In 1967, with a team made up of players all born within 30 miles of Celtic’s Parkhead ground, Stein’s Bhoys reached the European Cup final. Standing in the way of the Scottish side and the Holy Grail in Lisbon were none other than Herrera’s Inter.

Before the final, Stein put what he had learned to good use, instructing his left-back Tommy Gemmell: “Your job is to play like Facchetti, to think like Facchetti, to be Facchetti.”

The match began as many expected it would, with favourites Inter going in front early through Mazzola’s penalty kick. The goal seemed to galvanise Celtic rather than deflate them. Stein’s homework began to pay off as Celtic pinned the Italian Champions back with short accurate passing.

Inter’s Catenaccio system left gaps for Celtic’s full-backs Jim Craig and Gemmell to move into and exploit and Inter’s defenders were drawn out to the flanks to try and stem the threat. “It felt like there were 22 Scottish players shooting at us from every direction,” said Inter centre-back Aristide Guarneri.

So good was Tommy Gemmell at playing and thinking like Facchetti that he equalised just after the hour mark. When Stevie Chalmers finally put Celtic ahead with seven minutes remaining the game was over. The Inter players were almost relieved at the end with Captain Armando Picchi later confessing “Extra time would have brought a drubbing…”

It was a hard defeat to take for Herrera, one from which he never fully recovered.Between 1964 and 1967, ‘il Mago’ (the Wizard) had dominated the European Cup with Inter, winning it twice and leading them to another final and semi-final. After this mauling by the Lisbon Lions he moved on, becoming Roma boss in 1968, but he never won another European trophy.

Stein had been quietly confident before the final. “We don’t just want to win this cup, we want to do it playing good football, to make neutrals glad we won,” he said.

Mission accomplished.



Greavsie Leaves ’em Faint!
PLUS: Three Classic North London Derbies Remembered

by Karl Hofer.


Few derbies deliver the goods like the North London derby has a tendency to do. Over the years we’ve had some classic, high-scoring affairs with breath-taking goals aplenty.

Here BOBBY has searched back through the archives to deliver you three of the best;

Tottenham 3-1 Arsenal, FA Cup Semi-Final, April 14th 1991

The first FA Cup semi-final played at Wembley is one never to be forgotten by Spurs fans. In a season fraught with poor league form on the pitch and financial difficulties off it, Tottenham managed to turn the form book on its head to record a famous victory in the derby.

Paul Gascoigne had single handily dragged Spurs through the competition with some virtuoso performances and it was fitting that he should open the scoring with a scintillating free-kick; the finest in the history of the FA Cup according to boss Terry Venables (you can see it below).

Tottenham had saved their best form for the FA Cup that year and this match against the eventual league champions was no different. A mixture of slack defending and poor goalkeeping led to Gary Lineker scoring Spurs’ other two goals either side of an Alan Smith header for the Gunners, as Spurs denied their rivals the double.

Spurs went on to lift the Cup, although Gascoigne’s second famous kick of the competition, at Forest’s Gary Charles, landed the England star on a stretcher and denied him the opportunity of climbing the Wembley steps.

Tottenham 1-2 Arsenal, League Cup semi-final replay, March 4th 1987

It took 270 minutes of League Cup semi-final football before, against the odds, Arsenal emerged triumphant in a season when Spurs – third in the league and beaten by Coventry in the FA Cup final – came quite close to winning everything but actually won nothing.

Tottenham won the first leg at Highbury 1-0 and looked Wembley bound when they led the second leg by the same scoreline at the half – when, as legend has it, ticket details for the final were announced to home fans. But two goals in 15 minutes from Viv Anderson and Niall Quinn brought the scores level on aggregate and, with extra time unable to separate the sides and no provision for a penalty shootout, the tie went to a replay three days later.

The venue for the third encounter was decided on a toss of a coin, and that was almost a draw, too: Spurs manager David Pleat said that when the coin fell to the ground it got stuck, almost upright, in the mud, but the referee adjudged it was leaning Spurs’ way so the decider would be at White Hart Lane.

Clive Allen put Spurs a goal up for the third successive game, but the game turned after the introduction of unlikely hero Ian Allinson for the adored but injured Charlie Nicholas. In the 82nd minute Allinson struck a shot that zipped through the legs of Richard Gough and past Ray Clemence to level things, and then in stoppage-time another Allinson shot deflected into the path of David Rocastle, who promptly swept Arsenal into the final to the jubilation of the away end. Uniquely, Arsenal beat Spurs three times at White Hart Lane that season.

Allinson’s gallant intervention was repaid in strange style by George Graham; he wasn’t in the squad for the victory over Liverpool in the final and in fact never started another game for Arsenal before being released at the end of the season.


Rocastle fires Arsenal through to Wembley

Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham, Division One, 15th October 1963

67,857 crammed into Highbury stadium for the derby in 1963, filling it to capacity – and they weren’t to be disappointed.

An incredible first half saw Jimmy Greaves open the scoring as Spurs stormed into a 4-2 lead at the interval with further goals from Bobby Smith (2) and Dave Mackay – George Eastham twice pulling the Gunners within two in response.

With only five minutes remaining Tottenham still held the two goal lead acquired in the first half but Arsenal pulled one back on 85 through Joe Baker and then equalised with a Geoff Strong header from a corner with only twenty seconds of injury time remaining. For the third time in five years the North London derby had ended 4-4.

In the end the point was sufficient to take Tottenham to the top of the First Division, but after that finish it was Arsenal who felt like the victors on the night.

Soccer - League Division One - Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Highbury

Jimmy Greaves walks away after helping to tend to a fan who fainted before kick-off at the packed Arsenal v Tottenham match at Highbury in 1963.


1968: George Best Named European Footballer of the Year


Best admires his Golden Ball alongside runner-up Bobby Charlton, manager Matt Busby and striker Denis Law.

1968 and for the third time in five years the Golden Ball returned to a player from the ranks of Manchester United. After Denis Law (1964) and Bobby Charlton (1966) it was the turn of Belfast’s George Best to be crowned European player of the year.

Best was the architect of United’s victory over Benfica at Wembley in the European Cup, making United the first English club to lift the Cup with the big ears.

Best edged out teammate Bobby Charlton by a mere 8 points to win the award and at only 22 years of age he seemingly had the world at his feet.

But sadly this would prove to be the high-point of Best’s footballing career, and five years later Best walked away from Old Trafford and top flight football at the tender age of 27.


Shotgun! You Wouldn’t Catch Them Driving to Training in That Thing Nowadays…


by Roy Dalley.

Jose Mourinho would probably walk out on Chelsea for a second time if ever Roman Abramovich had the temerity to present a Ford Transit as the new team bus.

Fabregas, Hazard and Oscar would no doubt get their agents to check the smallprint on their contracts, while Drogba would theatrically fall in a heap… anything to get out of travelling in something other than first class.

However, as our picture shows, it wasn’t always thus.

Once upon a time you could win the FA Cup, then the European Cup Winners’ Cup, and still have to get to work in the back of a Transit, as the Chelsea squad of the early 1970s will testify. Here they are pictured at Stamford Bridge in the shadows of the old East Stand (soon to be demolished after a third cup final in three seasons, a 1-2 defeat by Stoke in the League Cup, in 1972).

You might think it’s some kind of ruse; Osgood’s idea of a Chelsea Charabanc for a jolly boys drive dahn to Margit. Or even the prequel to that television commercial featuring England legends now reduced to playing for the local Dog and Duck XI? But no.

The Transit would in fact ferry the first-team squad to the club’s training ground in Mitcham, some five miles across the Thames in south London, a facility which was later sold to Crystal Palace when the club’s finances became perilous (not least because of the cost of replacing that old wooden stand) and a far cry from Chelsea’s new state of the art complex in the Surrey stockbroker belt.

Sadly the photograph was supplied without a caption, so it is not known when exactly it was taken and indeed who is pictured. But Hudson’s absence could provide a clue; Hudson was forced to miss the club’s first FA Cup triumph, in 1970 against Leeds, because of a broken leg. Or maybe he was still in bed with a hangover? Dunno…

Club captain Chopper Harris is also absent, perhaps making a hospital visit to one of his recent opponents..?

There’s no Dempsey either, though his habit of wearing rugby style ankle boots on matchdays meant he was possibly more likely to be found on a nearby physio table.

Anyway this ol’ Blues man thinks he can name all but one of those reporting for training that day. How about you..?

(Leaning inside driver’s door); Bonetti
(Standing l-to-r); Birchenall, Baldwin, McCreadie, Hutchinson, Webb, Cooke, Houseman.
(Crouching l-to-r); Osgood, Hinton, *?!?, Hollins.

*?!? It’s not Kember. Is it Boyle..?

Feel free to Tweet me any guesses you may have.