Nobby Stiles, part of the England team which won the World Cup in 1966, has died aged 78 after a long illness.
Stiles was also part of the Manchester United side which became the first English club to win the European Cup two years later, when they beat Benfica in the final at Wembley.
A statement issued by the Stiles family read: ‘The Stiles family are sad to announce that Nobby Stiles passed away peacefully today (30/10/2020) surrounded by his family after a long illness.
Nobby Stiles, part of the England team which won the World Cup in 1966, has died aged 78
The World Cup winner passed away on Friday after years of battling with Alzeheimer’s
‘The family kindly ask for privacy at this sad time.’
Stiles was credited with playing a key role in neutralising the threat of Portuguese star Eusebio in the World Cup semi-final. In total he won 28 caps, the lowest number of any of the World Cup-winning side.
He was also famous for dancing at Wembley Stadium after England beat West Germany 4-2 in the final.
Stiles was born in Collyhurst, Manchester, in May 1942, during an air raid. He agreed apprentice terms with United in 1959, at a time when the club was still recovering from the Munich air disaster a year earlier in which eight players were killed.
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Gordon Banks – Finest English keeper of all time, who played mostly for Leicester City and Stoke City as well as a spell in the United States. He died aged 81 after battle with kidney cancer.
George Cohen – Hailed as ‘the greatest full back I ever played against’ by George Best. A one club man for Fulham, where has a statue after making 459 appearances. The 81-year-old is one of four members of the team still alive.
Jack Charlton – Brother of Sir Bobby and a star defender in his own right, he played only for Leeds United in his career. Went into management and took Republic of Ireland to the knockout stages in two World Cups. Passed away in July this year at the age of 85.
Bobby Moore – Peerless defender and captain of England considered the greatest ball-playing centre-half in history. Tragically died aged just 51 in 1993 due to bowel cancer. He was the first of the 1966 team to pass away. There is still great upset that he was never knighted.
Ray Wilson – At 32, Huddersfield’s most capped England international was also the oldest member of the team that beat West Germany 4-2 in the final on July 30. He died in May 2018 aged 83 after suffering with Alzheimer’s disease for 14 years.
Nobby Stiles – His toothless dance after victory at Wembley has become iconic in English football, as were his ferocious midfield displays. The Manchester United mainstay passed away today after battling Alzheimer’s.
Alan Ball – Was the youngest member and man of the match in the 1966 final but sold his winners medal to provide for his family – like eight of the 11 players did. Played for 13 clubs before transitioning into management. Died of a heart attack in 2007 at the age of just 61 while trying to put out a blaze.
Sir Bobby Charlton – Survived the Munich Air Disaster before helping England to win first the World Cup. With his majestic left foot and crucial 1966 goals, many have said he may be the greatest footballer England has ever produced. Still working at Manchester United at the age of 83.
Martin Peters – Scorer of the second goal in the final. Started a second career in insurance in 1984 following 67 caps for the national team and spells with West Ham, Tottenham and Norwich. Died on 21 December 2019, aged 76.
Sir Geoff Hurst – Still the only player to score a hat-trick in the World Cup final, Sir Geoff was part of an army of West Ham players who dominated the 1966 England team. Knighted in 1998, the 78-year-old is retired and lives in Cheltenham with his wife Judith.
Roger Hunt – One of Liverpool’s greatest-ever players, Hunt joined his family’s haulage company after retiring from playing in 1972. After being overlooked for years, he was made MBE along with Ball, Cohen, Stiles and Wilson in 2000 after a campaign to recognise their achievements in 1966. Now lives in Warrington, aged 82.
Sir Alf Ramsey – National hero and mastermind behind the team of ‘wingless wonders’, the manager had predicted England would win the 1966 World Cup when he took the helm in 1963. Lost his job after failing to qualify for 1974 World Cup and retired in 1980 to a quiet life in Ipswich. Died following a heart attack in 1999, aged 79.
He won league titles with the Red Devils in 1965 and 1967, before the continental success the following year.
Stiles left United in 1971, going on to play for Middlesbrough and Preston. He later managed the Lilywhites between 1977 and 1981, before coaching Canadian side Vancouver Whitecaps and then West Brom between 1985 and 1986.
He returned to United as a youth team coach under Sir Alex Ferguson in 1989 for a four-year stint.
He married his wife Kay, sister of former Republic of International Johnny Giles, in 1961. They have three children together.
Gary Lineker led tributes to Stiles, posting on Twitter: ‘Saddened to hear that Nobby Stiles has passed away.
Stiles was also part of the Manchester United side which became the first English club to win the European Cup
Stiles (left) won the World Cup with Jack Charlton and Sir Bobby Charlton after they beat West Germany in 1966
‘Another of our 1966 World Cup winning heroes leaves us.
‘He had a heart that was even bigger than the gap in his teeth. RIP Nobby.’
Sportsmail’s Chris Sutton also paid tribute to the World Cup winner and urged the game to do more to help the fight against Alzeheimer’s.
In total he won 28 caps for England, the lowest number of any of the World Cup-winning side
‘Such sad news about Nobby Stiles. A World Cup winner and one of the games great characters lost to Alzheimer’s,’ he wrote.
‘Thoughts go out to the Stiles family. Eventually football will wake up show some real urgency in the fight against Dementia and Alzheimer’s.’
England also tweeted their condolences in a post which read: ‘We’re incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Nobby Stiles, a key member of our @FIFAWorldCup-winning squad, at the age of 78.
‘All of our thoughts are with Nobby’s loved ones.’
Stiles left United in 1971, going on to play for Middlesbrough and Preston in his career
Sir Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in the 1966 final, added: ‘Hugely sad to hear Nobby has passed away.
‘We were playing together way back for the U17s, U23s, and of course, for England, in fact, it was my first cap when Nobby scored, I think he was wearing No. 9!
‘Great character, and the heart and soul of the team, he will be sorely missed.’
Former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland defender Mark Lawrenson also paid his respects to a man he said helped him once he had broken into the Preston first team in 1974.
‘Terrible news re Nobby Stiles..He more than anyone made me into a Player at PNE,’ he said.
‘Absolute Gentleman as well…Love to the family…Very Sad day….’
Man United also posted a message of condolence, writing: ‘We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of Nobby Stiles MBE.
‘An integral part of our first-ever European Cup-winning side, Nobby was a titan of the club’s history, cherished for his heart and personality on and off the pitch.
‘He will be sorely missed by us all.’
Former United and England defender Gary Neville also paid his respects and said he showed the way with how to represent the Reds.
‘Rest in Peace Nobby. Thank you for all you did for us. You taught us how to fight for everything in that red shirt .
‘Your studs are your best friends out there.’
Another United legend Peter Schmeichel added: ‘As a 16-year-old boy at Manchester United, it was a privilege to be coached by a legend of the game and a true gentleman,’ wrote Robbie Savage.
‘Really sad news that @ManUtd legend Nobby Styles has passed away. A great hero and an inspiration for all United fans,’ wrote Peter Schmeichel.