Brother of 1966 World Cup heroes Sir Bobby and Jack Charlton handed England trial at age of 71

As featured on The MailOnline article here.

  • Tommy Charlton was just 20 years old when his brothers lifted 1966 World Cup
  • The ex-winger was forced to hang up his boots at 24 after breaking his kneecap
  • Nearly 50 years later, Tommy is playing walking football for The Mature Millers
  • His brothers think he is mad but he has aspirations of playing for his country
  • He has a trial this weekend, alongside former Liverpool defender Alan Kennedy

The younger brother of 1966 World Cup heroes Sir Bobby and Jack Charlton has been handed an England trial – at the age of 71.

Tommy Charlton was 20 years old when he saw his siblings lift football’s greatest prize at Wembley. A winger in local amateur football, he was forced to hang up his boots four years later after breaking a kneecap.

Nearly half a century later, however, the grandfather-of-six is playing walking football for The Mature Millers near his home in Rotherham, and has been invited for England Over-60s trials at Burnley this weekend.

Former Liverpool defender and two-time European Cup winner Alan Kennedy is another triallist who will be hoping to impress the selectors at Turf Moor.

Charlton said: ‘I love playing the game and often get asked if I’m mad by Bobby, Jack and my family. But I’ve built great relationships thanks to walking football and hope to break into the England team.

‘I’m very excited about the trials and showing management some of my skills. Hopefully I’ll perform well but it’s going to be very difficult to make it into the squad as there are so many experienced walking footballers plying their trade at the moment.

‘I love scoring goals. I’m not the best player in the world but I do it for fun.’ Tommy watched his brothers help England to World Cup glory over Germany in ’66 on television at his girlfriend’s house in Northumberland because he could not afford to go to London.

He recalled: ‘I was an apprentice at the pit. I’d never been to London and didn’t have any money and certainly was not going to ask the lads at a time like that.

‘I was terrifically proud when the whistle went. It was a wonderful moment.

‘When I was young I felt I always had to compete with Bobby and Jack and I just couldn’t live up to it. I realised I was never fast or good enough to compete. Now I’m the only one of three of us still playing so I guess you could say I’ve won!’

Paul Carr founded the Walking Football Association just 18 months ago +3
Paul Carr founded the Walking Football Association just 18 months ago

England will play the sport’s first ever international game in May or June, just 18 months after the Walking Football Association was established.

The founder is Paul Carr, a mature student at the UCFB’s Etihad Campus in Manchester. Carr sits on the WFA board of directors along with John Croot, who invented walking football, and Brendan Flood, Burnley’s owner and chairman of UCFB.

Carr said: ‘It’s great that Tommy and former Liverpool legend Alan Kennedy are trialling, but they will be playing alongside and against a number of experienced walking footballers who are all keen to put the England shirt on and play in what will be the sport’s first ever international match.

‘Walking Football is a rapidly growing sport and is now played in 35 countries with a World Cup and European championship both to be held in 2019 and 2020.’