Nobby Stiles, one of England’s most notable soccer players of all-time, has passed away at the age of 78 according to TSN. Stiles died of prostate cancer and complications due to advanced dementia.
Stiles, who was a native of Manchester, England, was a defensive midfielder. He was part of the greatest English soccer team ever assembled, the team that won the 1966 World Cup in England.
Stiles is credited for his excellent defending of Portugal’s Eusebio in a 2-1 England semifinal win. After Eusebio had scored four goals in an entertaining 5-3 Portugal win over North Korea in the quarterfinals, Eusebio was expected to have a strong offensive game against England in the semifinals. However, he was only limited to one goal in the 82nd minute on a penalty, and was mostly held in check for 90 minutes due to the exceptional defensive coverage that Stiles was able to possess. England went on to beat West Germany 4-2 for their only World Cup title in their nation’s history.
Stiles scored once for England internationally. That came in a 1-0 England win over West Germany at Wembley Stadium on February 23, 1966. The offensive prowess Stiles was able to showcase in this exhibition contest is a major reason why Stiles made the 1966 World Cup team, and ended up having a significant role on it from a defensive perspective.
In his club career, Stiles played for Manchester United, Middlesbrough, and Preston North End from 1960 to 1975. He had 20 goals in 414 games. Of the 20 goals, 17 came with Manchester United from 1960 to 1971.
After his playing days were over, Stiles managed Preston North End from 1977 to 1981. He then made the move to North America in 1981, and managed the Vancouver Whitecaps for four seasons from 1981 to 1984. At the time, the Whitecaps were in the North American Soccer League. In 1985, Stiles returned to England and managed West Bromwich Albion in 1985 and 1986.