United Kingdom

England World Cup-winner Nobby Stiles dies aged 78 after a 'long illness'

Nobby Stiles, part of the England team which won the World Cup in 1966, has died aged 78 after a long illness.

Stiles was also part of the Manchester United side which became the first English club to win the European Cup two years later, when they beat Benfica in the final at Wembley.

A statement issued by the Stiles family read: 'The Stiles family are sad to announce that Nobby Stiles passed away peacefully today (30/10/2020) surrounded by his family after a long illness.

Nobby Stiles, part of the England team which won the World Cup in 1966, has died aged 78

The World Cup winner passed away on Friday after years of battling with Alzeheimer's

'The family kindly ask for privacy at this sad time.'

Stiles was credited with playing a key role in neutralising the threat of Portuguese star Eusebio in the World Cup semi-final. In total he won 28 caps, the lowest number of any of the World Cup-winning side.

Stiles was born in Collyhurst, Manchester, in May 1942, during an air raid. He agreed apprentice terms with United in 1959, at a time when the club was still recovering from the Munich air disaster a year earlier in which eight players were killed.

Stiles was also part of the Manchester United side which became the first English club to win the European Cup

He won league titles with the Red Devils in 1965 and 1967, before the continental success the following year.

Stiles left United in 1971, going on to play for Middlesbrough and Preston. He later managed the Lilywhites between 1977 and 1981, before coaching Canadian side Vancouver Whitecaps and then West Brom between 1985 and 1986.

He returned to United as a youth team coach under Sir Alex Ferguson in 1989 for a four-year stint.

Gary Lineker led tributes to Stiles, posting on Twitter: 'Saddened to hear that Nobby Stiles has passed away. 

In total he won 28 caps for England, the lowest number of any of the World Cup-winning side

'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.'

Sportsmail's Chris Sutton also paid tribute to the World Cup winner and urged the game to do more to help the fight against Alzeheimer's.

'Such sad news about Nobby Stiles. A World Cup winner and one of the games great characters lost to Alzheimer's,' he wrote.

Stiles left United in 1971, going on to play for Middlesbrough and Preston in his career

'Thoughts go out to the Stiles family. Eventually football will wake up show some real urgency in the fight against Dementia and Alzheimer's.'

England also tweeted their condolences in a post which 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.'

Former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland defender Mark Lawrenson also paid his respects to a man he said helped him once he had broken into the Preston first team in 1974.

'Terrible news re Nobby Stiles..He more than anyone made me into a Player at PNE,' he said.

'Absolute Gentleman as well...Love to the family...Very Sad day....'

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