As Nobby Stiles had been ill for a long time, let’s hope football and Government have got meaningful tributes at the ready.
If the game’s authorities really want to pay an important, far-reaching tribute to such an inspirational figure then they should finally show some urgency in getting to the bottom of the links between football and dementia and Alzheimer’s, which claimed Nobby’s life.
It is EIGHTEEN years since an inquest ruled former England striker Jeff Astle died of an industrial disease caused by the damage to his brain from playing football.
Since then, what has emanated from all of the game’s governing bodies and from the PFA has amounted to little more than lip service to a serious, in-depth investigation.
It does not need repeating that the tragic loss of Ray Wilson, Martin Peters, Jack Charlton and, now, Nobby, is only exacerbated by the thought of how their lives descended into a darkness in which they could not see the magnificence of their achievements, in which they could not feel the love of a nation that will be forever grateful to every single hero of 1966.
That politicians have never properly given Nobby and ALL his team-mates the recognition they deserved has been the honours system’s longest-running scandal.
George Cohen and Roger Hunt should be getting knighthoods today.
And while we are at it, change the rules and award them posthumously to those Wembley legends we have lost.
But the legacy of the manner in which so many of our World Cup-winning squad have lost their lives should be the sort of kick up the authorities’ backside that you can’t help feel Nobby would have given an under-performing team-mate.
Leave no stone unturned and no minute wasted in establishing the scale of the danger football can pose to long-term health and in coming up with a plan to minimise that danger and give every single bit of help possible to those who suffer as Nobby has.
It is the least Nobby and the class of 1966 deserve.
They deserve that … and, of course, our eternal, smiling thanks for what they did for English football.
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