ributes are flooding in for Nobby Stiles following the sad news of the England World Cup winner’s death.
In a statement released on Friday afternoon, the Manchester United legend’s family announced that Stiles had passed away peacefully after a long fight with illness.
Combative defensive midfielder Stiles did not miss a single minute of England’s World Cup-winning campaign in 1966, earning 28 Three Lions caps in total during his career.
Stiles’ on-pitch jig at Wembley with the Jules Rimet Trophy and his false teeth following England’s 4-2 final win over West Germany is also a fond memory from English football’s greatest day.
Stiles also made nearly 400 appearances for Manchester United between 1960-71 and was part of the first English team to win the European Cup in 1968 as Sir Matt Busby’s side defeated a Benfica team containing the great Eusebio 4-1 in extra-time at Wembley.
Stiles also won two First Division titles with United and later represented both Middlesbrough and Preston North End before retiring in 1975 and going on to manage at Preston and West Brom as well as in Canada with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Stiles also served as a youth coach at United and was awarded an MBE in 2000.
In recent years, he had been battling advanced dementia and in 2013 was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“Hugely sad to hear Nobby has passed away,” tweeted Sir Geoff Hurst, England’s hat-trick hero in the ‘66 final and a long-time international team-mate of Stiles’.
“We were playing together way back for the U17s, U23s, and of course, for England, in fact, it was my first cap when Nobby scored, I think he was wearing No. 9!
“Great character, and the heart and soul of the team, he will be sorely missed.”
Other prominent figures and clubs from around the world of football have been quick to pay tribute to Stiles, with Manchester United tweeting: “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.”
A tweet from the official England team account read: “We’re incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Nobby Stiles, a key member of our @FIFAWorldCup
-winning squad, at the age of 78. All of our thoughts are with Nobby’s loved ones.”
Ex-England striker and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker wrote: “Saddened to hear that Nobby Stiles has passed away. Another of our 1966 World Cup winning heroes leaves us.
“He had a heart that was even bigger than the gap in his teeth. RIP Nobby.”
Former England stalwart Peter Shilton said: “So sad to hear the news of Nobby Stiles a great person who I admired very much one of the great 66 Legends. RIP.”
Former boxer Frank Bruno said: “Nobby Stiles RIP so sad to hear Nobby has passed away after a lengthy illness.
“He was a real character we worked together on dinners he kept calling me “Big Man” he was a hard man on the football pitch I wouldn’t liked to have played against him & of course that toothless grin.”
Another of Stiles’ former clubs Preston wrote alongside a picture of Stiles in the dugout: “Everyone at Preston North End is saddened to learn of the passing of former player and promotion-winning manager Nobby Stiles at the age of 78.
“Our thoughts are with Nobby’s loved ones at this incredibly sad time. ”
Fellow United legend Gary Neville said: “Rest in Peace Nobby. Thank you for all you did for us. You taught us how to fight for everything in that red shirt . “our studs are your best friends out there”.
Ex-Old Trafford team-mate Denis Law said: “I’m so desperately saddened by this news. Nobby was a top player and a top man. He was such a popular guy in the dressing room.
“Everyone knew Nobby would be there when the going got tough on the pitch, but you shouldn’t underestimate what a good footballer he was too.
“I played against him in training and for Scotland against England and all I can say is I’m glad he was my teammate more often than my opponent.”