The name Nobby Stiles might not run off the tongue today as Messi or Ronaldo, but he is important to me for many reasons. He was a tough tackling defender who played along side George Best, Dennis Law, Bobby Charlton, etc in that famous Manchester United team that was the first English club to win the European Cup in 1968. But, he was more than this...he was only one of an elite group of 3 English players who have won both the World Cup with England and a European Cup with their club.
To me he was much more. He was a player from an era when I was just a little lad starting to kick a football about for the first time, enthralled by all that I had seen in my first World Cup...1966. I remember the little fellow dancing around the field, a toothless grin on his face as his country had just won the World Cup on home soil. Nobby was only 24 then.
Things have changed since then...boy have they changed!!! For bringing the Jules Rimet trophy to England for the first (and only) time he was paid the princely sum of £1,000, which was really £600 after tax. Each time he played for England he was paid 3 Shillings and 5d (17 pence in today's money). For his club he was paid the maximum wage which was £20 per week. The maximum wage (£20) had been scrapped in 1963, but most players were still paid no more than £20.
Nobby has fallen on hard times since then. In June this year he was given a "wake up" call when he suffered a stroke. Because of this he has decided to sell off his precious dual medal collection to leave some money for his 3 sons. The sale includes Stiles's 1966 World Cup Winner's Medal (estimate: £100,000-150,000), a 1966 World Cup Cap (estimate: £20,000-30,000), his 1968 European Cup Winner's Medal (estimate: £20,000-30,000) and the blue Manchester United shirt worn by him in the 1968 European Cup Final against Benfica (estimate: £15,000-20,000).
In all he hopes to raise about £300,000, a large sum to me but only about 2-3 weeks wages to today's stars such as Chelsea's Terry or Drogba. The irony is that none of these overpaid star have ever got within a sniff of winning a World Cup medal, and probably never will.
I hope you get the cash you deserve Nobby. You represent players from a different age who do not play for the live of money, but love for the game, club and above all, country.