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Nobby Stiles, Manchester United legend and 1968 European Cup winner, dies aged 78

One of Manchester United’s finest ever has passed away

Soccer - Football League Division One - West Ham United v Manchester United - Upton Park Photo by Barratts/PA Images via Getty Images

Manchester United and England legend Nobby Stiles passed away today at the age of 78. Stiles was a highly decorated player and manager, and was a crucial member of Sir Matt Busby’s rebuild after the Munich Air Disaster.

Praise and memorials poured in from across English football mourning the death of a great player, and even greater man.

Nobby Stiles has been described as the “heart” of the Manchester United team that won 2 league titles and the European Cup in the 1960s, and certainly played the role at the heart of midfield. A tough, physical defensive midfield player, he made a nuisance of himself for United, and for England in their historic World Cup win in 1966.

Despite his relatively small frame, Stiles was a ruthless defender. He was described by Sir Bobby Charlton as a “dog of war,” and famously marked Eusebio out of the World Cup Semi-Final against Portugal. The pair were reunited in the 1968 European Cup Final, when Manchester United beat Benfica 4-1 after Extra Time.

Manchester United squad

After several jobs in management, Nobby Stiles returned to Manchester United as a youth team coach under Sir Alex Ferguson, Brian Kidd, and Eric Harrison, where he helped coach up Manchester United’s next generation. A few names from that crop include, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, and Gary and Phil Neville.

Stiles’ service to the club has been paramount to its success. He is fondly remembered by all, and will be sorely missed. RIP Nobby Stiles.