Mails: Was Bobby Charlton really all that?

Date published: Wednesday 9th September 2015 12:13

We have multiple staunch defences of Wayne Rooney’s England record, but largely through the medium of asking if Bobby Charlton’s record is that impressive. Plus Neymar, defending Romeo and bias…


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Football365 : Hating Your Club And Players Since Forever
Look I get it. You don’t like Rooney for whatever reason, and whatever he achieves you will downplay. While in the meantime you have fawned over relative failures like Giroud because he looks nice and is French rather than English.

You were more than happy to highlight a record £145m spending and ridicule the fee for the then top assister in the Spanish league, but do no such thing when City smash that record the next season and buy the equivalent from the lesser German league for virtually the same fee.

Football is all about opinion but you’ve made yours clear now and maybe you can hush the negativity for a single day, and in this case maybe celebrate a player who HAS beaten a long standing record, often in a misfiring team and rarely as the main striker. Others might have done it… but they didn’t because they weren’t good enough to get picked. This record is a testament to his ability, longevity and importance to the national side (and soon club).

Give a little actual undamned praise for a change without feeling the need to qualify it. It’s ok to support a player even if he’s not from your club team. Let’s be honest, if it was Aguero you’d be purring…
Guy S



Smalling: Well Done
Not a knee jerk reaction and he still has a long way to go but if Chris Smalling carries on improving like he is there is going to be a lot of humble pie consumed in a year or two…



England Consistency
England haven’t lost a Euro or World Cup qualifying match since a 1-0 defeat to Ukraine on the 10th October 2009.

Pretty incredible consistency since then.
Ben C


…8 wins out of 8, 3.25 goals a game scored, 3 goals conceded.

It’s a disgrace.
Dan, Camberley


Rooney’s Speech
I may well be well behind the times but since when has following the England team into the dressing room been normal practice?  Clearly the whole thing had been staged – by the sponsors no doubt – and it was so cringeworthy.  Am I on my own in feeling that I don’t want to see or know what goes on at those times. For one thing it kind of takes away the (admittedly dwindled a long time ago) magic in my mind – but also those times should be private and personal for all concerned, otherwise no-one can be themselves and its all so contrived. You cant be yourself if you know there is a camera watching.  Christ we’ll be watching the Ox have a post-match dump before long – sponsored by Mcvities.  You know it will happen.

Not that I give two hoots about Rooneys speech, and he is maybe not the perfect example to explain this point, but I’m sure he could have made it a lot more heartfelt and personal if he could talk in the normal manner in which he would usually away from the camera – a few expletives here and there perhaps – you know – like normal people. Rather than the whole thing being set up days – probably months ago. Strewth.

Or maybe these guys are so used to being in the public eye that they don’t actually have their own personalities – they are as dull and robotic as they come across in interviews.   They prefer things to be staged.  Even poor old Roy was dragged into the whole sorry affair  – and he is one of the few people in football that does still seem to have his own mind and personality – whether you like him or not.  Which I always have incidentally.  I saw him out once – with his wife.  He looked proper dapper he did – not like he does on the telly. Aaaanyway…

Along with the rapidly increasing population of the world, global warming and selfies – you can add that video clip to the list of reasons why the future of the human race is screwed.  NNNnnaaaaarrrggghhh!!!
Steven Hunt – Draughtsman


Revisionism On Charlton
The revisionism and misty eyed memories of Bobby Charlton’s record up against Wayne Rooneys goalscoring (mainly by people who weren’t even alive when Charlton scored his last goal, but have seen every single one of Rooneys 50 for country, and certainly have been around for his 250 at club level) is ludicrous, bordering upon pathetic.

One of the goons in the mailbox this morning said 90% of Rooneys goals were against shocking opponents. So do we then ignore the 5 Charlton smashed in against Luxembourg, because Rooney scored 5 against San Marino? Luxembourg in 1960 would have been given a good game by todays San Marino, indeed they have never been on the hands of a bigger defeat before or since than the one Charlton et al handed out back then.

Do we forget also the hattrick vs USA that Charlton scored in an 8-1 win, scoring the 6th and 7th goals in an utterly meaningless thrashing In 1959?

Do we disregard the goals that Charlton scored in the Home Internationals, because when he was playing in them, he won 11 of the 13 editions, indicating it wasn’t really a huge challenge to beat the other home nations year in, year out. We scored 9 against Scotland in one of those tournaments, 5 against Wales a couple of times, 8 against N.Ireland.

Charlton scored 11 goals in total in World / Euro championship qualifying and finals, 5 of these were against Luxembourg. Rooney on the other hand has scored 36 in like for like games.

in the 1950’s and 60’s playing against teams who have no domestic league, no full time coaching and often the teams didn’t have full time professional players either, in the present day, encountering a team who fill that criteria is rare in the extreme.

Rooney’s record far outstrips Charlton’s record and he should be regarded as the world level asset that every other nation regards him as.
Tom H


…It’s with great interest I see the comparisons between the relative goal scoring achievements of Charlton and Rooney and the desperate attempts by many to undermine Rooney’s achievements due to goals against lower quality opposition and lack on goals in Finals.

Of Charlton’s 49 goals we have 5 against the Luxembourg side 1960/61, a hat-trick against Mexico in a 8-0 England victory in 1961, 6 against Northern Ireland, three against Switzerland in an 8-1 England win, a hat-trick against the USA in 1959 in a game England won 8-1 and a single goal against the Americans in a 10-0 win in 1964. No goals against Brazil, no goals against West Germany, one goal against Italy in a friendly.

Wayne Rooney has scored five goals in European/World Cup Finals – Charlton scored five goals in European/World Cup Finals. Let’s not use the passage of time to create an alternative history where Charlton was scoring hat-tricks against top level competition every time he stepped out on the pitch in and England shirt and was single headedly taking England to the later stages of Finals.

Let’s not try and belittle Rooney’s achievements based on personal feelings towards him. 50 goals in 107 caps is an incredible achievement at International level no matter what era.
Mike, Manchester, NFFC


…Wayne Rooney vs Bobby Charlton: I think Rooney is better. There, I’ve said it. (All this stuff about not comparing different eras? Give it a rest, this isn’t a science lab.)

In fact I’ll go a step further: I’m only in my 30s, so I’ve seen about two hours’ footage of Bobby Charlton in my life; by most standards you care to mention, I’ve got no idea what I’m talking about.

But I think comparisons at the moment are unfair, as everyone bases these on Rooney as he is right now: the patchy, rubbish-wigged, sweaty shouty captain who hasn’t managed to find a good playing style in the second half of his career to match up to the f***-me power, skill and speed he had in his early years (e.g. in the way Alan Shearer did). This is alright, but only as long as you match him up against the septuagenarian statesman that Bobby C is right now as well.

If you want to talk about Charlton’s glory years – all wonderful kits, scary combovers, psychedelic technicolour, scoring goals from several km out, etc. then that’s fair enough. but I just don’t think that even a goliath like that could have been better than 2004-era Wayne Rooney.

That was the best human being I have ever seen in an England shirt. Some incredible mixture of Gascoigne, Hoddle, Robson, Lineker, Barnes, Waddle and Shearer, who was going to finally win us a tournament and pretty much on his own; until whoever it is that makes these things happen at tournaments decided they liked Portugal more than us. Watching him walk off the pitch in that game is going to haunt me forever. Remember when he joined Utd? Strolled onto the pitch against Galatasaray, scored a hat trick like it was easier than tying his boots up, strolled off again. Have some of that.

I get that he plays for Man Utd; I get that he gets paid a lot (A LOT); I get that having to read thousands of headlines which have no need for ROO to be included is not fun. But I think it’s too easy to forget what an incredible footballer Wayne Rooney has been. And once he’s retired, once it stops being fashionable to slag him off, and once we’re relying on Spurs strikers to score goals for England (God help us), I have a feeling we’re going to remember it very quickly.
Neil Raines


…Before we get too negative on Rooney’s achievement, can we just cast an eye over Sir Bobby Charlton’s 49?

4 against the USA in two friendlies that England won 18-1 on aggregate
5 against Luxembourg over two legs that England won 13-1 on aggregate
3 against Mexico in a friendly that England won 8-0
3 against Switzerland (!) in a friendly that England won 8-1

For me, Platt, Lampard and Robson all getting high-20s from midfield is the greater achievement anyway.
James Syme, London


Neymar: Lots Of Goals
In light of Wayne Rooney’s record breaking 50th, I thought it would be a great time to mention the potential for Neymar to go down as one of the best international footballers in history.

At the age of 23, he now has 43 goals in 67 games, with both those figures likely to go a lot higher with no sign of anyone near his quality in the international team. He has the potential to score over 100 goals in 150 caps, providing the next wonder kid from Brazil doesn’t appear in the next 3-5 years.

Compare this with Wayne Rooney, and then consider the situation Neymar finds himself in. Whilst being a global superstar, he’s not main man at his club, and his team doesn’t get 100% records in qualifying tournaments with a GD of +23 after 8 games (England). Whilst Brazil did play lots of friendlies preceding the World Cup their standard of opposition has generally been quite high. Playing in South America, any qualifying matches are competitive; there are no minnow nations there as there are only 14 (very good) international teams.

Add all this into the fact that the Brazil team isn’t all that at the moment (compared to the teams with Ronaldo, Pele etc) and Neymar will surely go down as one of the greatest in Brazilian football, but we all know due to their history, he’ll have to lift a World Cup in order to be compared to the other legends, despite the fact he’ll probably finish with a better international career than Lionel Messi.

In short, this email is just to appreciate what he’s done so far, when he is so often cast into the shadow by Messi and Ronaldo (and even Hazard!).
KC (not Brazilian)


Switzerland: Not A Minnow
Last night, the BBC were questioning in their live feed for the game whether Roy could really learn anything from a match against such minnows.  Today in the mailbox, Jimmy in Spain feels kinda sad that Rooney’s record breaking goals came against such “shocking opponents”, effectively putting Switzerland in the same bracket as San Marino.

This would be Switzerland who were the only team to beat Spain on their way to winning the World Cup in 2010 – whose current team is largely based on players who won the U-17 World Cup in 2009 – who have qualified for every major tournament since Euro 2004, excepting 2012 when surprise package Montenegro kept them out (similar qualification record to England, as it happens) – and who, lest we forget, were seeded 1st for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

For those mailboxers decrying all of the above as irrelevant, tish and fipsy of the highest order, comparing the squads is also informative – I’ll not bore the maibox with a tedious combined XI, but It’s only really Sterling, Rooney and Hart where I see England being significantly better.  Without debating any of the other positions in detail, I would definitely take a back four of Lichtsteiner, Schär, Klose and Rodriguez over Clyne, Cahill, Smalling and Shaw any day of the week.

Am I missing something obvious because of where I live, and letting my Swiss-tinted glasses mask an excellent England squad, or is this just the usual jingoistic notion of “them foreigns are rubbish”?  Genuinely interested to know.
Terry Hall, Switzerland (obviously)


 A Championship Scotland XI
David Marshall; Craig Forsyth, Andrew Robertson, Christophe Berra, Grant Hanley; Chris Burke, Scott Arfield, Barry Bannan, Shaun Maloney; Johnny Russell, Jordan Rhodes

This was very depressing to put together.


Defending Romeo. It’s Come To This
I think Martin, Chorley needs to take a deep breath and calm down a bit. I saw 10 other mascots walking out with English players last night so what is the real problem?

Also, why wouldn’t the FA bend over for Beckham? He has probably done more to raise the profile of the English game than any other modern footballer. Allowing his son to walk all of 30 yards with Wayne Rooney is hardly the biggest issue in the world is it?
James W


I am in full agreement with Martin, Chorley about these spongers who have given nothing to the game and how the clubs and FA fall over themselves to push real fans aside in place of some so-called “legends”.

On a trip to Madrid a few years ago I tried to get tickets to the Clasico fixture and was told they’d sold out months ago. I was quoted obscene prices on secondary ticket websites and had to watch the game in a bar. Imagine my disgust when watching the game the camera found Alfredo Di Stefano amongst the crowd. I bet he didn’t buy his ticket! And even if he did, I bet he didn’t have to go via seatwave for it! See also Sirs Bobby Charlton and Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, Ian Rush and Alan Hansen at Anfield, and Shaun Goater and Uwe Rosler at The Etihad. Spongers, all!

It goes deeper than merely watching – my impressive Football Manager credentials were totally overlooked in favour of appointing Kenny Dalglish when Liverpool wanted a manager a few years ago. And he was rubbish! And he’d been getting in for free for 30 odd years, too…

It seems that there’s one rule for those who amassed 100+ caps for their country (many as captain) in a thirteen year spell, and another rule for the rest of us.

Yours in disgust,
Paul, Glasgow

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