"Malcolm and me get the cigarette cards out on the hunt for Bobby Charlton."
Bobby Charlton in action
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumBobby Charlton in action - Credit: Newcastle Chronicle & Journal
Ashington was not famous for much outside of its own area, but one thing that put it on the national if not the international map was its position as the home town of great footballers - first, Newcastle United and England centre forward Jackie Milburn, then his younger relations Bobby and Jackie Charlton, who were both in the England team that won the 1966 World Cup. Bobby was by far the more famous of the brothers, and is still (as Sir Bobby Charlton) associated with his only professional club, Manchester United. At one time Bobby Charlton was the most well-known footballer in the world. He was also a survivor of the shocking Munich aeroplane disaster which wasted the lives of many Manchester United players in their prime in 1958. This story, Babes, is about the reaction to the accident in Ashington, as seen through the eyes of the young boy at the centre of the story.

Busby Babes cigarette cardds
Public DomainBusby Babes cigarette cardds
Cigarette cards were very popular at this time. They were inserted into cigarette packets by manufacturers hoping to encourage adherence to their brand by collectors wanting to collect the whole series of whatever the company were promoting at the time. Footballers and cricketers were the most popular of the cigarette card series.