Top positive review
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Classy, dignified and frank
on 29 October 2007
Ever since I was nine years old when I saw him score the two goals that helped Manchester United win the European Cup in 1968 Bobby Charlton has been my hero. He didn't have the dazzling ball skills of George Best and lets face it, with his prematurely bald head he looked more like a teacher that a footballer, but instead he simply exuded class and a certain dignity that no other footballer seemed to possess. I was very pleased to find then that his autobiography is exactly the same - classy, dignified but also very frank and honest.
Not surprisingly it contains absolutely no scandal but instead it is full of stories that offer telling insights into not just Bobby Charlton but also Manchester United, football and life in general in the fifties, sixties and seventies.
One of the chapters, in which he writes about the days when as a boy he used to go to watch Sunderland or Newcastle United with his older brother Jack is particularly excellent. His description of how they used to stand in a particular part of the ground so they can watch the skills of a famous player close at hand is very evocative. Also excellent is the bitingly frank chapter in which he tells of the breakdown of his relationship with his mother following her rejection of his wife, Norma.
As you would expect though, it is the Munich airplane disaster that dominates this book, just as it as dominated Bobby Charltons life since that day. The events of that day are described wonderfully well, as are Bobbys feelings of bewilderment and guilt that he should survive the crash barely harmed whilst his beloved team mates and friends had perished.
An excellent book then, and I look forward greatly to the next of the proposed volumes, where I presume he will move onto his playing for England and the World Cup win in 1966.