Bobby Charlton

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Bobby Charlton Pencil Portrait
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The quality of the prints are at a much higher level compared to the image shown on the left.


A3 Pencil Print-Price £45.00-Purchase

A4 Pencil Print-Price £30.00-Purchase

*Limited edition run of 250 prints only*

All Pencil Prints are printed on the finest Bockingford Somerset Velvet 255 gsm paper.

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In David Hall’s wonderfully evocative book “Manchester’s Finest”, the author laments the modern day predilection for ‘anti-heroes.’ On page 331, he writes;

“Today, the views expressed by many fans about Charlton and the lack of respect they show him is something I find deeply disappointing. On the odd occasions when he ventures on to the pitch he graced for so many years, to present an award or hand over a cheque to a charity, the reception he receives is often lukewarm at best. To younger fans in particular, Bobby Charlton is the sober figure in the suit who acts as an ambassador for his club, his adopted city or his country; the businessman who is part of the higher echelons of corporate United. He has become synonymous with the things they love to hate about the club – the big business, global branding and, above all, the Glazer takeover. It’s almost as if it is no longer politically correct to acknowledge the fact that he is one of our footballing legends.”

Every generation needs its heroes, yet children of the millennium remain in the greater part, remarkably ‘unknowing’, both conspicuously devoid of any sense of history, and incapable of acknowledging that true greatness must be measured across many decades. Since Charlton was the finest English footballer of his generation – a truly gifted world class striker with explosive pace, a thunderous thirty yard shot, the perfect embodiment of “fair play” – it is time for the post-Beckham generation to wake up and smell the roses.

In his autobiography, ‘My Life in Football’ (2009), Bobby Charlton says that he never wanted to be anything but a professional footballer. A lot of boys feel the same, but their dreams don’t come true. Bobby explains that he was “overwhelmingly lucky on two counts. First, I was born into a family immersed in the game … Secondly, I was endowed with the natural ability to make my vision a reality.” Nature, in other words, and nurture.

Bobby’s mother, Cissie, had four brothers – George, Jimmy, Stanley and John. They were all footballers. George played for Leeds and Chesterfield; Jimmy and John for Leeds and Bradford; and Stanley for Chesterfield and Rochdale. And there was their even more glamorous and successful cousin, Jackie Milburn – “Wor Jackie”, “the first world wor” – the great England and Newcastle Utd striker who won three FA Cups in the 1950s.

But Bobby Charlton reckons that it wasn’t the great Jackie, or his footballing uncles who taught him to play. “If I had anyone to thank,” he writes, “it would be my grandfather Tanner Milburn, my uncle Tommy and Mr McGuinness at school.” He also owed a debt of gratitude to his mother – there are famous photographs of the two of them kicking a ball about in the back yard of their terraced miners’ cottage at Beatrice Street, Ashington. Cissie was not a coach. But she was an encourager.

Under construction.

It is hardly one of soccer’s best kept secrets that Bobby’s relationship with his elder brother Jack, is a fractuous one. The brothers have become more and more estranged over the years, due in no small part to a rift that began in the early 60’s when the younger Charlton married.

Recommended viewing

Manchester Utd v Benfica - European Cup Final 1968

In a bygone era now recalled only by people of a certain generation, the European Cup was a two legged knock out competition from start to finish. Devoid of the obscene commercial considerations that underpin the 21st century Champions League, dreams of European glory could unravel over the course of a mere 180 minutes, a tantalisingly short flirtation with the ultimate club competition. The qualification requirement – a league championship successfully attained throughout a long and arduous nine month domestic campaign – would ensure the disappointment of an early departure being more acutely felt than ever.

Early events in the 67/68 campaign, would emphasis the tightrope aspect to the competition, for having thrilled the world with their swashbuckling victory over Inter Milan in the 1967 final, much was expected of Celtic as they attempted to defend their title, but sadly they would crash out at the first hurdle. Having been drawn against the Russians of Dynamo Kiev, the defending champions went on an all out attack at home in an attempt to build up a sizeable first leg lead, but up against the massed defence and swift counter attacks of Dynamo, they were undone by conceding two early goals and could only muster one Lennox goal in response. With the new away goals rule in force, it was a deficit that was even harder to recover from than before. Their task was made even more difficult after 55 minutes in Kiev when Bobby Murdoch was booked for throwing the ball away in disgust following a free kick decision. As he had been booked in the first half for disputing another free kick award, he was ordered from the pitch. Murdoch appeared stunned and refused to move until his manager ran to the touchline and told him to come off. The Celtic man walked off, tearfully holding his head in his hands. Bobby Lennox did pull a goal back just four minutes later to give Celtic a chance, but their exit was confirmed by a last minute Kiev goal, and just over four months after that glorious night in Portugal when the ‘Lisbon Lions’ had snatched the European Cup from Inter’s grasp, Celtic were out. Reading the headlines, Charlton would have been aware that time was running out for the pursuit of Busby’s Holy Grail.

Recommended reading

My Manchester U ited Years - the autobiography (Bobby Charlton) 2008

My England Years: The Autobiography (Bobby Charlton) 2009

Jack and Bobby: A Story of Brothers in Conflict (Leo McKinstry) 2009