Jack and Bobby Charlton’s ‘baby’ brother Tommy leads England to historic victory
The ‘baby’ brother of Jack and Bobby Charlton led England to another historic victory today.
And it was a walk in the park for Tommy Charlton as he made his international debut.
The latest brother to join the famous football dynasty tasted victory in the first over-60’s walking football international ….at the grand old age of 72.
And he said it was a ‘dream come true’ to follow in the footsteps of his older brothers, the heroes of our 1966 World Cup victory.
“It’s an incredible sport,” said Tommy, who has had major heart surgery. “It allows people who may have played football when they were young to reconnect with the game.
“It is good for overall health and it sharpens the mind. **I love it so much that I’d be devastated if I could no longer take part.”
Tommy, who worked for the Mines Rescue Service, had a couple of chances, forcing the keeper to tip one effort onto the post, as England beat Italy 3-0.
He got a heartfelt message from **Jack, 83, and Bobby, 80, at the pre-match meal.
“I know you will be brilliant,” said Jack.
“Both Bobby and myself are incredibly proud that at the tender age of 72 you are able to follow in the family footsteps and play for England. “
Tommy was 20 when England beat West Germany 4-2 at Wembley. He was a keen football player in his youth but did not turn professional.
He never lost his passion for the game, and took up walking football six years ago after seeing it advertised at his local gym.
After impressing in a trial match, he pulled on a red England shirt modelled on the one worn in the ‘66 final.
It was No 9, just like Bobby’s, who scored both goals in England’s 2-1 win over Portugal in the ‘66 semi-finals.
Tommy recalled: “It has always been incredible for me to watch my brothers play. Bobby is the best footballer I have ever seen in my life and I tried to copy them both as a kid.
“They are both fantastic role models. I’ve got a metal valve in my heart. I’ve got a plastic aorta. I’ve had my gall bladder out. I’ve broken a kneecap. If I can do it anyone can do it.”
Tommy, a granddad-of-six who worked for the Mines Rescue Service, now plays for the Mature Millers in his hometown of Rotherham, South Yorks.
Walking football pits two teams of six against each other on a pitch half the full size and played 25 minutes each way.
There are 1,100 clubs and around 35,000 players, making it the fastest growing sport in the UK, **with a World Cup and Euro championship both to be held in England in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
The winners of each contest in Brighton’s Amex Stadium were presented with the Just International Cup, after Just Group sponsored the matches.
All ticket proceeds were donated to Prostate Cancer UK and Football Aid.
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