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Reliving the good times, and the bad

sports Updated: Jan 11, 2009 00:51 IST
Sahil Sharma
Sahil Sharma
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Sport is filled with inspirational stories. One of them is the death-defying tale of Sir Bobby Charlton. A survivor of the Munich air crash, Charlton shares that unforgettable night and his life in 'My Manchester United Years'.

The autobiography opens with the tragedy and understandably keeps revisiting that dreadful event of February 1958. Charlton somehow survived the catastrophic crash in which several of his young teammates perished.

An event of this scale is certain to affect anyone's life, but yet it encapsulates the spirit of Manchester United. It took the team ten years to re-build under the great Sir Matt Busby, and eventually win the European Cup on a memorable May 1968 night at Wembley.

The book is filled with fascinating incidents from Charlton's childhood and the difficulties he faced early on. It dwells on his famous family of footballers, and how he begged Liverpool manager Bill Shankly for tickets and regularly trekked down East Lancs Road to the Anfield Stadium to watch his favourite club perform.

The anecdotes are not only of interest to supporters of Manchester United but to football fans worldwide.

The moving portrait of England's highest goal scorer talks of the time he spent with fellow greats Duncan Edwards, George Best and Denis Law. One of the chapters encapsulates his admiration for Eric Cantona, Bryan Robson and Roy Keane, and how he first came across David Beckham as a young schoolboy during a clinic.

Praise is also in store for current manager Sir Alex Ferguson, a figure Charlton has backed to the hilt since his appointment in the mid-eighties.

Towards the end, Charlton lists his best Manchester United eleven from 1955 till date. While it makes for interesting reading, a couple of surprises await the reader.

Traversing through some amazing times, emotional, memorable and thrilling are just a few of the adjectives that come to mind.

A must read for football buffs.