The Gills versus England 1966 | Sir Bobby Charlton

Sir Bobby Charlton is the next in Andy Ford's series.

Bobby Charlton’s first England appearance came in a 4-0 win against Scotland at Hampden Park on 19 April 1958, when he scored one of the goals, just over two months after surviving the Munich air disaster, in which eight of his Manchester United teammates died, when the plane bringing the side home from a European Cup tie in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, crashed on take-off, in bad weather, after stopping at Munich for refuelling.

He was selected for the squad which competed at the 1958 World Cup Finals, but did not appear. His first appearance in the Finals came four years later, in Chile, when he played in all four England games, netting in a 3-1 victory against Argentina in the group stage.

Bobby appeared in all of our six World Cup matches during the 1966 Finals, scoring three times, once in the 2-0 group win over Mexico and both goals during the 2-1 victory over Portugal at the Semi-Final stage. The Quarter Final match against Argentina was the only time Charlton was booked whilst playing for England. Charlton made four appearances at the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico, although he was substituted in three of those.

His last appearance for his country came in the 3-2 last eight defeat against West Germany that saw us knocked out of the competition, with the player subsequently announcing his retirement from international football. At the time, he was the most capped England international ever, with 106 appearances, but his record has since been surpassed by six players.

Charlton left Manchester United in 1973, having been with the club since 1956, and became manager of Preston North End for the 1973-74 season, signing his England 1966 teammate Nobby Stiles as player-coach. The Deepdale club were relegated in 1974 and Charlton then combined playing with managing. He made two appearances against Gillingham, both coming during the 1974-75 campaign.

The first was our 1-0 defeat in Lancashire on Tuesday 22 October, our fifth successive loss. John Bird scored the only goal of the game, Dave Parr’s match report including, ‘Gillingham were guilty of ball watching as a Bobby Charlton corner found Bird unmarked on the edge of the area, and the Preston skipper gave keeper Ron Hillyard no chance with a fierce shot.’

The return took place just over a fortnight later, on Wednesday 6 November, Parr beginning his match report, ‘The magic of Bobby Charlton was just a dim memory at Priestfield last night as Gillingham produced their best home display of the season to lift themselves off the bottom of the Third Division. Charlton, whose appearance attracted 10,494 fans, easily the biggest crowd of the season, never made an impact as two goals from loanee striker Peter Feely gave Gillingham the win their superiority merited. The crowd, who had come to pay homage to Bobby Charlton, left Gillingham talking not about the great man but about the new fighting spirit which could yet see Gillingham establish themselves as a Third Division side.’

Bobby, who has been on Manchester United’s board of directors for thirty-five years, was knighted in 1994, becoming Sir Bobby Charlton. He turned 82 last November.