Everyone at Preston North End is saddened to hear of the passing of former player and promotion-winning manager Nobby Stiles at the age of 78. Honorary club historian Ian Rigby pays tribute to the 1966 World Cup winner.
From being born in a cellar during a war time air raid Nobby Stiles was destined to become a football legend, becoming a European Cup winner with Manchester United and a World Cup winner with England. His toothless grin and jig around Wembley stadium on winning the World Cup will be cherished for quite some time by all those who witnessed the scenes.
He was a genuinely nice guy whose enthusiasm and passion for the game rubbed off on all who made contact with him. How ironic that not one but two of his England World Cup winning team mates should sign him when they ventured into football management.
First he signed for Jack Charlton at Middlesbrough in 1971 before signing for Jack’s brother, Bobby Charlton, who just happened to be Preston North End’s manager at the time in 1973.
Nobby was to play alongside former Manchester United players Francis Burns and David Sadler at Deepdale but even all that experience could not avoid relegation to Division Three. Nobby was to make 50 league and cup appearances for the North End before hanging his well-travelled boots up.
Coaching was the next step and he was assistant manager to Bobby Charlton prior to Charlton resigning the manager’s post. He was persuaded to stay on at Deepdale as Harry Catterick’s assistant too before landing the top job as manager of Preston North End in 1977.
Promotion quickly followed under his guidance and there was no more popular and prouder man in Preston. Many people thought that he should have had more backing at the time but eventually he, just like many managers before and after him, was sacked from the post.
Naturally disappointed, but undeterred, Nobby stayed in football as a youth coach with the talent that Manchester United were unearthing and later became the manager of West Bromwich Albion.
He had not been well for some time and sadly passed away on Friday the 30th October in Manchester aged 78. Our condolences go out to his family and many friends."
Honorary Club Historian