English World Cup winner Nobby Stiles has died aged 78, after a long period of ill health. Stiles was an early example of the defensive midfielder, the man who carries the team in midfield by supporting the defence and setting up the attack at a moments notice. In over 300 hundred games for Manchester United he won two league titles and the 1968 European Cup final alongside Bobby Charlton and George Best.
But by far his most memorable moment came in 1966, when he was the defensive midfielder in the English team that won the World Cup final. He was perhaps not the most expected star, but his dogged tackling and man marking was as crucial to the result as a Geoff Hurst hat-trick. Crucially in the Semifinal, he was charged with dealing with the great Eusebio, and marked the legend completely out of the game. Soon after the World Cup, Alf Ramsey dropped him for Alan Mullery in the England team. He followed his friend Bobby Charlton to Preston, and was later Preston Northend manager for 4 years.
In 2000, he was awarded an MBE alongside the other four members of the England squad that hadn’t been deemed sexy enough to get an honour before. He has big favourite of the DDP this past decade: a stroke in 2011 and cancer in 2013 was followed by advanced dementia and this was followed by the dreaded “gravely ill” note. Despite this, he outlived four of his own England team mates, and now his old mate Bobby suffers from the same ailment. England won the World Cup because they had Bobby Charlton. They’d have lost it if they didn’t have Nobby Stiles.
So many teams picked Norbert. Time for as many shoutouts as possible: Poochie, DDP Tofoa, Eejit, Going Green, Just Fade Away, Misers, I Told You I Was Ill, I’m Sorry for your Trouble, Madonna’ Hand of Bod, Noah Reason, Soylent Dreams, Sovereign-Reaper, UTC, Tomb It May Concern…all scored points. Bananas’s Bruises and Guild of Master Reapers head up 9 teams who cashed in joker points. Oddest of all, Stiles appeared on the #1 hits theme team, as Back Home (the dreadful 1970 World Cup anthem) made it to the top of the pops in 1970. So you can add Nobby Stiles to the long list of people who have UK number one hits and Kim Wilde doesn’t. What a world!
Incidentally, if any of the Qualifying Obits want to do an obit for Tony Baylis of the Wurzels I’m sure that’d cheer the aforementioned theme team.
18 May 1942 – 30 October 2020