He was known as “The Toothless Tiger”. Now Nobby Stiles is not snapping anymore.
The midfielder for England and Manchester United died on Friday at the age of 78. The family informs among other things
and other English media. Stiles was part of England’s world champions team in 1966 and two years later he won the Champions League forerunner in the Champions League with Manchester United.
According to the BBC, Stiles has struggled with illness in recent years and was diagnosed with both prostate cancer and dementia. He is the fourth English World Cup hero to pass away since the start of 2019, and now there are only four surviving world football champions from England:
George Cohen from Fulham, Stiles’ United friend Bobby Charlton, final hero Geoff Hurst and Liverpool’s goal machine Roger Hunt.
– He was one of my heroes, and one of the great in 1966. A “marking keeper”, better than anyone else, and great for both Manchester United and the national team, describes NRK’s longtime football commentator Arne Scheie – in place in the 1966 World Cup as a tourist .
Stiles – with the characteristic that he went on the field without his own front teeth – was from Manchester and played 11 years in United, the favorite club from childhood. He scored a total of 395 games and 19 goals after starting there as an apprentice. He went on to stay in Middlesbrough and Preston towards the end of his career.
He won two league championships during the time at Old Trafford (1965 and 1967), but it was at Wembley that his two biggest triumphs came: First with the 4-2 victory over West Germany after extra innings in the World Cup final in 1966, decided by the team’s controversial third goal. Over 50 years later, one still does not quite know if the finish from hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst was over the finish line.
The final of the most prestigious European Cup in 1968 was also played at Wembley, and it also went to extra innings. In the end, Stiles and Manchester United won 4-1 over Eusebio and Benfica, and were then the first English team to go to the top in Europe’s best club tournament.
Despite both the nickname and the look, Nobby Stiles was anything but toothless out on the grass:
– He was not Bobby Charlton, but he was the ball winner, the one who ruined the game for the opponent. Not particularly creative either, but had the “sense” to play the ball to the big ones on the team. Like Charlton, says Arne Scheie.
Through the stanza «…And Nobby dancing» in the relatively famous football song “Three Lions (It’s coming home)”, released for England’s home European Championship in 1996, Stiles remains immortal.