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.
‘The family kindly ask for privacy at this sad time.’
Tributes poured in for Stiles with fellow United legend Gary Neville tweeting: ‘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.’
United, the club Stiles served with such distinction for 11 years as a player, issued a statement of their own, which read: ‘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.’
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.
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.
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. Stiles suffered a series of health issues in later life, including a dementia diagnosis.
In 2010, after a mini-stroke, he decided to sell his medals in order to leave something to his family. United bought them for £200,000 and the medals are now housed in the club’s museum.