Bill Foulkes: Sir Bobby Charlton leads tributes to former Manchester United defender, who has died aged 81

The European Cup winner was a survivor of the Munich air disaster

Sir Bobby Charlton has led the tributes to Bill Foulkes, his fellow Munich air disaster survivor, who died on Monday aged 81, saying Foulkes had helped change the course of Manchester United’s history.

Foulkes became club captain following the plane crash in Munich that claimed the lives of 23 people and played a key role in their 1968 European Cup triumph, including scoring the winner in the semi-final against Real Madrid.

A central defender, Foulkes made his debut for United in 1952 and went on to play 688 times for the club – a figure surpassed only by Charlton, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.

“He was as hard as nails, as tough as teak – I was always glad I didn’t have to play against him,” Charlton said.

“He was a really, really good defensive player and you could say he helped change the course of history for United.”

Foulkes, whose father and grandfather had both played rugby league for his hometown of St Helens, started work as a coal miner and was still going down the pit at the local Lea Green Colliery in the mid-1950s, by which time he was a regular member of Matt Busby’s United first team and won his only England cap, playing at right-back against Northern Ireland, in 1954.

United are expected to wear black armbands against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League tomorrow night and will also mark Foulkes’ passing at their next home match, against Everton a week tomorrow.

The club’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, said: “Bill was a giant character in the post-war history of Manchester United.”

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine