Sunday Mirror

NA­TIONAL TREA­SURE WAS SOLD SO SHORT

- BY ANDY DUNN Sports · Edinburgh · Nobby Stiles · Manchester United F.C. · Manchester · Alan Ball · Alf Ramsey

ON Oc­to­ber 27, 2010, an auc­tion­eer in Ed­in­burgh brought the ham­mer down at £160,000.

An av­er­age weekly wage for the cur­rent Premier League foot­baller was enough to buy Nobby Stiles’ World Cup win­ners medal.

Just typ­ing the words does not feel right.

Thank­fully, the pur­chaser was

Manchester

United and

Nobby’s medals – he also sold his

Euro­pean Cup one – are on dis­play in the club mu­seum.

Stiles was not the only World Cup win­ner to feel com­pelled to sell his medals – Alan Ball had done the same five years ear­lier.

That foot­ball and, in­deed, peo­ple in po­lit­i­cal power never gave the he­roes of 1966 the lon­glast­ing sup­port and recog­ni­tion they de­served is a re­gret­table mat­ter of record.

Long ago, this news­pa­per cam­paigned for the en­tire team to be knighted.

Some­how, as politi­cians give gongs to their cronies, that cam­paign was never won. Dis­grace­ful.

But Sir Alf Ram­sey’s play­ers were also never given ad­e­quate fi­nan­cial sup­port be­yond their play­ing ca­reers. As na­tional trea­sures, they should have been.

And one lit­tle snip­pet sums up Stiles and his team­mates. When they all met up for an an­nual get-to­gether – a game of golf, a nice din­ner and an overnight stay in a coun­try hotel - they did not try and use their fame to get it for free, or even to make a few quid out of it.

They wanted it low-key, no fuss. And that was Stiles and all the boys of ’66.

He­roes but unas­sum­ing – never about the money.

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