The PFA are deeply saddened by the passing of former Manchester United midfielder and 1966 World Cup winner Nobby Stiles after a long illness, aged 78.
Stiles was born in Manchester in 1942 during an air raid. A Manchester United fan, he agreed apprenticeship terms with the club aged 15 in 1959, when the side was still recovering from the Munich Air Disaster a year earlier. Following an eye test requested by manager Matt Busby who was concerned about his mistimed tackles, the 5ft6inch midfielder was fitted with glasses off the pitch and contact lenses on and improvements were quickly seen - handed his first team debut shortly after.
He would go on to make almost 400 appearances for the club between 1960-1971, establishing himself as a key member of the squad who won league titles in 1965 and 1967. He was also a member of the Manchester United side who became the first English club to win the European Cup in 1968, beating Benfica in the final at Wembley.
After he left Manchester United in 1971, Stiles went on to play for Middlesbrough and Preston. He also managed Preston between 1977 and 1981, the Vancouver Whitecaps from 1981-1984, and West Bromwich Albion between 1985 and 1986. Stiles returned to Old Trafford in 1989 as a youth coach under Sir Alex Ferguson. After leaving Old Trafford in 1993, Stiles became a popular after-dinner speaker.
Stiles won a total 28 caps for England. Playing every single minute of England's 1966 World Cup campaign and credited as playing a key role in neutralising the threat Portugal's Eusebio posed to the side in the semi-final. His post-final celebration at Wembley, after beating West Germany 4-2, saw Stiles dancing round while holding the World Cup in one hand and his false teeth in the other. He remains one of only three Englishmen, alongside Bobby Charlton and former Liverpool player Ian Callaghan, to win both the World Cup and European Cup.
Stiles moved away from the public spotlight in 2010 as his health deteriorated. A road was named after him in Collyhurst - the area where Stiles grew up - in May 2016.
Gordon Taylor OBE has paid tribute to Nobby: “He was a formidable opponent and an engine room player who covered every blade of grass! World Cup winner and a truly iconic player for Manchester United.
“He was the very best of company, as a special guest speaker at the PFA Awards, he brought the house down with his stories. He will be much missed, but never forgotten! Our most sincere condolences to all his family. God bless him.”
The thoughts and condolences of everyone at the PFA are with Nobby's family and friends.