Bobby Charlton: My Manchester United Years
This autobiography was written with James Lawton, the much respected
Independent newspaper journalist, who also cooperated on the biographies of
Nobby Stiles and Joe Jordan among others and for 1p is the bargain of the
The book inevitably opens with the Munich tragedy and unsurprisingly revisits
that dreadful event of February 1958 on several occasions. Bobby Charlton
somehow survived that catastrophic plane accident when so many of his young
teammates perished. He awoke, still strapped in his seat, fifty yards away from
the crumpled Elizabethan airliner.
An event such as that is certain to affect anyone's life, how could it not, and yet
somehow it encapsulated the spirit of Manchester United Football Club. It took
ten years to re-build the team under their charismatic manager Sir Matt Busby,
to sufficient strength to compete for and eventually win the European Cup on
that memorable May night at Wembley in 1968.
The book is filled with interesting stories that will not just be of interest to supp-
orters of Manchester United but to football fans everywhere. Of his upbringing
and family difficulties, of his famous footballing forebears, and of how he would
beg tickets from Bill Shankly for Liverpool FC's early European glory nights,
and would regularly trek down the East Lancs road to the Anfield Stadium to
take in the spectacle, only to be warmly welcomed on his arrival there by every-
one. How things have changed in areas such as this, and not always for the better.
The book is a moving portrait of England's record goal scorer ever. Of his times
playing with Duncan Edwards and George Best and Denis Law, of his admiration
for Eric Cantona, Bryan Robson and Roy Keane, of how he first came across David
Beckham as a young schoolboy on one of his children's football courses. There is
praise too for the current manager Sir Alex Ferguson, a manager that Bobby has
supported at every turn since his appointment way back in the mid eighties.
At the end of the book you will find his selection of the best Manchester United
eleven from 1955 to the present day, and that makes very interesting reading,
and includes one or two surprises.
If you are interested in football, regardless of whether you follow the reds of
Manchester, you will find something here to warm you on a cold winter night.
Poignant, memorable, thrilling, are just three of the adjectives that spring to
mind that belong to those amazing times. I've read it once in record time, and
I shall read it again and again.