WORLD Cup-winning England midfielder Nobby Stiles, who visited Perth in 1967 with Manchester United, has died aged 78 after a long illness.
He is the seventh member of the England team that started the 1966 World Cup final against West Germany to die, after captain Bobby Moore, Alan Ball, Ray Wilson, Gordon Banks, Martin Peters and Jack Charlton.
Stiles won 28 caps for England and played a key role in neutralising Portugal star Eusebio in the 1966 semi-final, before another fine showing in the dramatic 4-2 extra-time win over West Germany. The picture of a toothless Stiles dancing around the Wembley pitch in celebration is one of the iconic images of the World Cup.
He was also a key figure in the Manchester United side that became the first English team to win the European Cup in 1968.
The bulk of that Euro dream team had played the WA State team less than a year earlier at the WACA Ground on June 27, 1967.
Stiles was dominant in midfield as a star-studded United whipped their part-time opponents 7-0, with goals coming from George Best (3), Brian Kidd (2), Bobby Charlton and Denis Law.
The Red Devils line-up in Perth was: Alex Stepney, Shay Brennan, Tony Dunne, David Sadler, Bill Foulkes, Nobby Stiles, George Best, Denis Law, Bobby Charlton, Brian Kidd, John Aston. Subs: Jimmy Rimmer, Jimmy Ryan, Noel Cantwell.
Apart from Law, who was injured and missed the Euro final against Benfica, the side that took the field at the WACA Ground was the same.
At club level, Stiles won two English league titles, as well as the European Cup, during an 11-year career with United. He made almost 400 appearances between 1960 and 1971, going on to play for Middlesbrough and Preston North End before retiring in 1975.
He moved into management with Preston between 1977 and 1981, then had a brief and unsuccessful spell in charge at West Bromwich Albion during the 1985-86 season.
In 1989, United asked him to return as youth team coach, and he helped develop players such as Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.
Brian Kidd, who scored twice against WA and was also one of the goalscorers when United won the European Cup in 1968, told BBC Sport: “It is so sad. We went to the same school and he was in the same class as my brother, so I have known him since I was a young boy.
“He was a very demanding team-mate. He expected you to produce, he didn’t mollycoddle you. As a coach he was unbelievable. He was an icon at the club and the kids all looked up to him.”
In 2010, he sold his World Cup and European Cup medals, which Manchester United bought for a combined total of more than £200,000. A road was named after him in Collyhurst – the inner-city area of Manchester where he grew up – in May 2016.
In a BBC documentary screened in 2017, Stiles’ son John told former England captain Alan Shearer he was “utterly convinced” heading a football was responsible for his father’s dementia.
Stiles was married to Kay Giles, the sister of Irish international Johnny Giles, who had played with Stiles for a spell at Old Trafford.