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  Sunday, 1 October, 2000, 14:09 GMT 15:09 UK
Nobby Stiles
England v Scotland 1965
Stiles (left) in England's 2-2 draw with Scotland in 1965
World Cup winner and legendary Manchester United fullback Nobby Stiles tells BBC Sport Online's Mike Burnett about a career that saw two of its greatest moments at Wembley.

There are two images people remember immediately after England winning the World Cup final in 1966.

One is captain Bobby Moore, on the shoulders of teammates, holding the Jules Rimet Cup high above his head.

The other image is the toothless grin and victory jig of England's hatchet man Nobby Stiles.

It was at Wembley that Stiles saw a footballer's ultimate dream come true.

Not just for country, but for club too.


When I was young, my father said, 'If you ever play at Wembley, as soon as you hit the light, just look around'
Nobby Stiles

Again Wembley was the venue when, two years later, Stiles and the rest of the Manchester United team took apart Portugese team Benfica 4-1 after extra time in the final of the European Cup.

Stiles put the secret of his success down to some simple advice from his father about coming out of the tunnel.

"When I was young, my father said: 'If you ever play at Wembley, as soon as you hit the light, just look around.'"

Stiles' father may have been an undertaker and not a footballer, but he swears it was good advice.

"I did notice with the teams that did keep their heads down, they didn't play that well."

Perhaps Benfica, who lost two European Cups there in the space of five years, were one of those teams.

England training 1967
Sir Alf talks to Bridges, Charlton and Stiles

But for the Mancunian hardman, taking in the atmosphere was the best thing.

He recalls: "As you came out of the tunnel, the noise was absolutely unbelievable. The colour and everything hit you."

Of course, Nobby had had plenty of time to get used to the bright lights of Wembley before the 1966 World Cup.

Nine years earlier a crowd of 90,000 packed into the stadium to see him play for England schoolboys.

But he had to wait until the spring of 1965 for his first full senior call-up, playing in England's 2-2 draw with Scotland.

With a strong physical presence and a keen tactical awareness, Stiles became the stalwart of the England defence as well as Manchester United's back line.


It was absolutely spontaneous. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm a bloody awful dancer anyway
Nobby Stiles on his famous jig

And over a year later, the diminutive player had reached the pinnacle of success with country as England lifted the Cup.

"We had a great manager and back-up staff. We were a great team right through the squad," says Stiles.

But what about the famous dance he performed after the final which was watched by millions of people across the world. What was he thinking?

"It was absolutely spontaneous. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm a bloody awful dancer anyway," he jokes in response.

European Cup 1968. Stiles (extreme right)
Captain Bobby Charlton raises the European Cup

However, Stiles cannot hide the similar euphoria he felt when Manchester United won the 1968 European Cup.

For a Mancunian born and bred, representing the club at its highest level at a time when players stayed in one place must have been almost on a par with 1966.

"Well I'm a big United supporter, that's where I went to school and that's where I was born," he continues.

"When I joined in 1958 I used to clean the boots of the top players. I idolised them."


I'm a big United supporter, that's where I went to school and that's where I was born. When I joined in 1958 I used to clean the boots of the top players. I idolised them
Nobby Stiles on Man Utd

Despite all his success, winning two league titles and one European Championship with United, Stiles does have the odd unsatisfied ambition.

One Wembley honour never bestowed on him was playing in a FA Cup final.

Sadly for Stiles, he was omitted from the side that beat Leicester in 1963 and was never to get another chance in his playing career.

But with all the other honours under his belt, Stiles is quick enough to point out: "How can I be disappointed?"

No regrets for Nobby then... even if he is a bloody awful dancer.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Nobby Stiles on Wembley
"It goes back to when I was six years of age"
Nobby Stiles on the 1966 England squad
"That's why we won it, we were a team right through the squad"
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