Sir Bobby Charlton – Football Icon Review

SIR BOBBY CHARLTON – FOOTBALL ICON: Thursday 28th April, BBC2, 9pm

Footballing genius, hairstyle novice and Manchester United legend – there can be no doubts that Sir Bobby Charlton was one of England’s greatest ever players. In the opening exchanges Alex Ferguson goes as far as claiming that he was “unquestionably the greatest player of all time..” Anyone who’s lost whole evenings down the pub debating such questions may have their own opinions, but after watching this sumptuous documentary it feels almost rude to question Fergie’s assessment.

The first half is a rather sombre affair as Bobby recounts the story of the air disaster that ripped apart one of the best teams England had ever seen in 1958. Watching Charlton come close to tears as he describes his sadness at losing so many of his ‘best mates’, including the tragic Duncan Edwards is a one of many touching moments. Ferguson may think the man with with the most iconic comb-over ever was the greatest, but Bobby explains how he looked up to Edwards during the pair’s early days at Old Trafford.

Once you get to know the man a bit, such a statement is hardly surprising. Charlton’s humility is one of the attributes that makes him not only a United legend, but a genuine gentleman of the game. “I shouldn’t be talking about my own goals..” he says before reluctantly re-living one of his favourites in front of the Stretford End. Indeed it’s fortunate that so many people from the footballing community were happy to come forward with their anecdotes, because you get the feeling that Bobby would be the last person in the world to blow his own trumpet. “I could knock one in now and again..” he says, which judging by the amount of archive footage on display, is a bit of an understatement.