You ask the questions: (Such as: Bobby Charlton, why did you hang on to the drag-a-strand-over hairstyle for so long?)

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Sir Bobby Charlton, 61, played for Manchester United Football Club between 1954 and 1973. He was in the England squad that won the World Cup in 1966, along with his brother Jackie. He was knighted in 1994. He is now director of Manchester United, and leads England's bid to host the World Cup in 2006.

What do you think about Rupert Murdoch owning Manchester United?

Ben Simon, Norwich

Rupert Murdoch doesn't own Manchester United till the Monopolies Commission gives the OK, and it doesn't really worry me much, as the club can and will continue to prosper with or without his involvement.

However, if he doesn't succeed with the bid, Manchester United, being a public company, may be open to bids, hostile or not, from companies further removed from soccer than Sky, who do have commitment to the game through television. I think it will go through.

Who has been the greatest influence on your career?

Rob Milling, Crewkerne

My father was a major influence in my early life. Later, Jimmy Murphy taught me the standards needed to reach the top as a pro and as coach at Manchester United. He spent hours giving me personal tuition, work that helped me succeed in the game, and I could never have progressed without his help.

If you weren't on the board of directors for Manchester United, what would you think about Alex Ferguson being manager of England?

Adele Williams, Warwick

Alex Ferguson I could never see as English manager, knowing the devoted Scot he is. But he likes a challenge and may just have proved me wrong. Maybe he knew what a fight we would put up to keep him, and he declined.

Who do you think should succeed Glenn Hoddle?

Nicholas Bender, Rutland

Kevin Keegan is now in place but if the job had been offered as part time it would be interesting to see who would have thrown their hat into the ring.

Do you think Glenn Hoddle should have been allowed to keep his job?

Stephen Gorman, Herts

I think the accumulation of things made it hard to see him stay.

Which football player reminds you of yourself?

Chris Maugham, Glasgow

Some of David Beckham's assets (on the field) - his long passing and his desire to be the best; also he likes the challenge football gives.

Do you really think England has any chance of hosting the 2006 World Cup?

John May, South London

We have the best bid in terms of stadia, infrastructure and place, and everyone I am in contact with wants the chance to show off our game and country to the world. I am proud of our game and I feel 40 years is long enough in between World Cup finals here. New generations of football followers want to have the opportunity to have their own heroes instead of hearing about the good old days, and we as oldies have to try to give them that chance to succeed.

I don't want to make this a commercial but as a prime mover for our bid, I have to say we have a real bid; we are ready for it. If the best bid is chosen I think we will be the one. A lot of work has to be done, but I am confident.

Many people feel that premiership footballers are overpaid, spoilt brats with no experience of the real world. What are your views?


While there is a lot of money in the game the players will want a fair share. Overpaid, maybe spoilt - but not generally - and, you may say, no connection to the real world... But football is the world to most of them, and the time is not available to experience most of what life offers till retirement arrives.

Do you think there should be a European Super League?

Kevin Wragg, Liverpool

It is a giant step which needs a lot of thought. The general public like myself don't find the prospect that attractive.

Do you think the modern game is as entertaining a spectacle as it used to be?

RB, Essex

I still love going to games. It is a thrilling spectacle usually, although TV leaves little to the imagination.

I remember having to wait 12 months before I could see my hero, Stanley Matthews, play at Newcastle when I was a lad. It built up many images of what great skills he might perform. These days there are few surprises. The pace of the game makes a different spectacle - but a spectacle nevertheless.

You've had the reputation as the cleanest player ever. Was there ever a time you wanted to kick somebody?

Roger Thompson, Alton, Hants

I never thought of kicking anyone! It was not my game. I appreciate, though, that we are all different, and it would probably be a dull old game without the physical players.

How can you justify Manchester United selling replica kits for far more than the cost price?

Liz Scott-Robson, Manchester

We don't sell anything without a great deal of thought and discussion. We are a business responsible to our shareholders and are guided by market forces. I may be old-fashioned, but if something I wanted was beyond my family finances I'd have to do without.

What was your best-ever footballing moment?

Graham Milne, Wiltshire

Final whistle at the World Cup in 1966.

Why did you hang on to the classic "Bobby Charlton" drag-a-strand-over hairstyle for so long?

Thomas Coleman, London

I don't know. Vanity, I suppose.

Do you think George Best has had more fun than you?

Emma Simon, Yorkshire

Certainly not.

Who is the greatest player you've ever played with - or against?

Ian Dukes, Poplar, east London

Duncan Edwards was maybe the greatest but we will never know how good he might have become, as he was tragically killed in Munich.

Denis Law, George Best, Nobby Stiles were great. Alfredo Di Stefano of Real Madrid was the most intelligent footballer and charismatic player I played against. Pele I only played against once, yet he made his impression on me - but not like Di Stefano.

What's your biggest regret in football?

Pete Millar, Brussels

I never got to play for a Bill Shankly team. Even once, it would have been a pleasure.

Why do you think Old Trafford has such a lack of atmosphere?

Bill Granleese, Manchester

There is a lot of atmosphere at Old Trafford, but not as much as there used to be. I think we watch matches live like watching the box these days, but the really important FA Cup ties and European matches seem to wake people up.

Next Week

Germaine Greer, followed by Tony Banks

SEND ANY questions for feminist author and commentator Germaine Greer, and Minister for Sport Tony Banks, to: You Ask the Questions, Features, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL (fax 0171-293 2182; e-mail, by 12 noon on Friday 26 February