Paddy Crerand pays tribute to “great character” Nobby Stiles

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A look back at Nobby Stiles' glittering career with England and Man United

Nobby Stiles was also part of the Manchester United side which raised the European Cup in 1968

Former Manchester United midfielder Paddy Crerand paid a psychological tribute to “great character” Nobby Stiles as the 1966 World Cup winner’s funeral took place on Thursday.

Stiles passed away on October 30 at the age of 78 following a long health problem.

Along with his success with England, former midfielder Stiles was also part of the Manchester United side which ended up being the first English club to win the European Cup in 1968.

The funeral service of former Manchester United and England footballer Nobby Stiles is taking place today.

The courtege drove past Old Trafford– prior to heading to Manchester Crematorium.

Nobby passed away last month– at the age of 78– after a long health problem. https://t.co/GapeZ0fq9k pic.twitter.com/VtLxe27PzB

— BBC North West (@BBCNWT) November 12, 2020

The hearse carrying Stiles from the family home in Salford to Manchester Crematorium Southern Cemetery drove past Old Trafford, outside where Crerand was amongst those paying their aspects, with homages laid to the former United preferred.

“Nobby was one of the great characters of football and not just Manchester United. Everything was a laugh with Nobby,” stated Crerand, 81, who made just shy of 400 appearances for the Red Devils in between 1963 and 1971, winning 6 prizes.

“On the pitch he made tackles you would get arrested for today, never mind sent off. But he was a terrific footballer and did not get the credit of just what a good player he was.”

Crerand informed the PA news company: “Nobby might see the scenarios (in the game). He had a great football brain.

“He was a very, very under-rated player, maybe not by Manchester United fans, but he was respected by every player he played against.”

Homages were laid outside Old Trafford prior to the funeral service took place (Martin Rickett/PA)

Crerand joined United from Celtic and played along with Stiles in the 4-1 win over Benfica at Wembley as United dominated Europe in Might 1968.

The Scot formed a strong bond with Stiles, whom he feels is worthy of to be kept in mind as more than just the toothless midfield terrier who danced a jig with the Jules Rimet Trophy.

“The thing about him off the pitch, he and his wife spent most of their time at home. You would never see them out and about in the restaurants on a Saturday night,” Crerand remembered.

Nobby Stiles (centre) and Paddy Crerand (far right) assisted Manchester United to European success in 1968 (PA Archive)

” My 2 kids went to the very same school as his 2 kids and I would see Nobby every day at half 3 when we chose the kids up.

“Nobby was such a great character and had a great football brain.

“You ask any player, some of the England lads who played with him in the World Cup final, and they will speak volumes about him.”

Due to the fact that of Covid-19 constraints, only a little group of Stiles’ family and buddies were able to go to face to face at the crematorium.

The hearse made its way past Old Trafford prior to the service at Manchester Crematorium Southern Cemetery (Martin Rickett/PA)

There is also expected to be a tribute to Stiles at Wembley ahead of England’s friendly against the Republic of Ireland on Thursday night.

Former midfielder Stiles, who had 28 international caps, also won league titles with United in 1965 and 1967, prior to leaving Old Trafford in 1971.

Stiles went on to play for Middlesbrough and Preston. He later on handled the Lilywhites in between 1977 and 1981, was coach at Canadian side Vancouver Whitecaps and after that took control of at West Brom in between 1985 and 1986.

He returned to United as a youth team coach under Sir Alex Ferguson in 1989 for a four-year stint, dealing with the renowned ‘Class of 92’.

We are exceptionally saddened to discover of the death of Nobby Stiles MBE.

An essential part of our first- ever European Cup- winning side, Nobby was a titan of the club’s history, valued for his heart and character on and off the pitch.

He will be sorely missed out on by all of us. pic.twitter.com/aT0Mk47cEl

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 30, 2020

Later on in life, Stiles suffered a series of health problems, consisting of a dementia medical diagnosis.

In 2010, after a mini-stroke, Stiles chose to sell his medals in order to leave something to his family.

United purchased them for ₤ 200,000 and the medals are now housed in the club’s museum.

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