Nobby Stiles: Friends and family say farewell to England World Cup winner

12 November 2020, 17:47

The England World Cup winner died last month after a long illness
The England World Cup winner died last month after a long illness. Picture: PA

The friends, family and fans of footballing legend Nobby Stiles have paid their last respects to the 1966 World Cup winner at his funeral.

Stiles made his final journey on Thursday from the family home in Salford to Manchester Crematorium Southern Cemetery, making sure to first pass by his old stomping ground at Old Trafford.

Outside, former fellow Manchester United teammate Paddy Crerand was present to pay his respect to the "terrific footballer".

The 81-year-old said: "Nobby was one of the great characters of football and not just Manchester United. Everything was a laugh with Nobby.

"On the pitch he made tackles you would get arrested for today, never mind sent off. But he was a terrific footballer and did not get the credit of just what a good player he was.

"Nobby could see the situations (in the game). He had a great football brain.

"He was a very, very under-rated player, maybe not by Manchester United fans, but he was respected by every player he played against."

Paddy Crerand paid tribute to a man with a 'great character'
Paddy Crerand paid tribute to a man with a 'great character'. Picture: PA

The legendary former Manchester United midfielder, who died last month aged 78 after a long illness, is best known for his success with the England team, but also being part of United when it went on to become the first English club to win the European Cup in 1968.

Crerand, meanwhile, who played along Stiles in the Cup final in 1968, shared a strong bond with his fellow player, and said he felt he should be remembered for more than just the game.

"The thing about him off the pitch, he and his wife spent most of their time at home. You would never see them out and about in the restaurants on a Saturday night," Crerand added.

"My two sons went to the same school as his two sons and I would see Nobby every day at half three when we picked the kids up.

"Nobby was such a great character and had a great football brain. "You ask any player, some of the England lads who played with him in the World Cup final, and they will speak volumes about him."

Just a small group of family and friends were allowed to attend the service at the crematorium on Thursday, due to coronavirus restrictions - although tributes will not end there.

His death is expected to be marked ahead of the England-Republic of Ireland friendly at Wembley on Thursday night.

The hearse paused shortly outside Old Trafford football ground
The hearse paused shortly outside Old Trafford football ground. Picture: PA

Over his career, Stiles, earned 28 international caps and league titles with Manchester United in 1965 and 1967. He left Old Trafford in 1971.

Stiles then went on to play for Middlesbrough and Preston, before managing the Lilywhites between 1977 and 1981.

He later coached at Canadian side Vancouver Whitecaps and then took over at West Brom between 1985 and 1986.