"I'm convinced this really is Cissie Charlton."

It was Bobby Charlton's mother Cissie, more than the father, Robert, who was associated with encouraging Bobby's football ambitions. She came from a football family, with her brothers all professionals, and her cousin was the Geordie superhero Jackie Milburn. Cissie was always more than willing to talk to the press about her life as a football mam.

From the Ashington Advertiser Friday 18 April 1958

(reproduced by permission)

Bobby’s mother can handle the Press

            The most frequently interviewed woman in Ashington must be 45-year-old Mrs. Elizabeth Charlton, of Beatrice Street, mother of the Manchester United wonder footballer, Bobby Charlton, who at 20 has been capped for England.

            As Bobby Charlton moves from triumph to triumph in the football world the newspapermen descend upon housewife Mrs. Charlton to ask what she thinks about her son.

            And, of course, she thinks he’s wonderful. What mother would not?

            Helped Train Him

            Reason for the interest of the Press in Mrs. Charlton is that she is known to have perceived Bobby’s latent football talent when he was a child, and in encouraging him went so far as to turn out herself into the back streets and the public parks of Ashington to encourage him in kicking a ball around.

            When he was an up and coming schoolboy footballer it was noted that he needed a vital quick burst of speed for the breakaway, so Mrs. Charlton helped to select a sprint track in a public park where Bobby, with mother watching him, galloped busily to pull out the extra pace.

            Mrs. Charlton herself does not make extravagant claims about her contribution to the making of a star footballer because she says he is “a natural”, and that it was always obvious that football would be his business.

            At Ease With Press

            Now Mrs. Charlton is completely at ease with reporters, because she has been interviewed scores of times. She talks to them freely, but nearly always manages to tell the men on the track of human interest sporting stories that every time she talks to them she has anxieties about what they will print.

            Young Tommy

            Interesting member of the household is young Tommy, the youngest son, who is still at school, says his game is rugby, and is interested in skiffle.

            While mother is being interviewed he sits in a corner fondling a George Formby banjoline and enjoying the limelight his famous brother has brought to his home and life.

            Good and Bad

            Tailpiece to the Charlton family story concerns a non-member of the clan. This is sport loving newsagent Mr. E. Cockburn who runs a business just along the street from the Charlton home.

            In recent weeks it has fallen to his lot to be the bearer of bad tidings and good tidings to the Charlton household. He reluctantly delivered to Mrs. Charlton the first news of the Munich air crash in which Bobby Charlton was one of the lucky ones, then within a week or two more happily was able to deliver the first intimation of young Bobby’s award of a place in the England team – his first cap.         

From the Ashington Advertiser Friday 18 April 1958

 

Bobby’s mother can handle the Press

            The most frequently interviewed woman in Ashington must be 45-year-old Mrs. Elizabeth Charlton, of Beatrice Street, mother of the Manchester United wonder footballer, Bobby Charlton, who at 20 has been capped for England.

            As Bobby Charlton moves from triumph to triumph in the football world the newspapermen descend upon housewife Mrs. Charlton to ask what she thinks about her son.

            And, of course, she thinks he’s wonderful. What mother would not?

            Helped Train Him

            Reason for the interest of the Press in Mrs. Charlton is that she is known to have perceived Bobby’s latent football talent when he was a child, and in encouraging him went so far as to turn out herself into the back streets and the public parks of Ashington to encourage him in kicking a ball around.

            When he was an up and coming schoolboy footballer it was noted that he needed a vital quick burst of speed for the breakaway, so Mrs. Charlton helped to select a sprint track in a public park where Bobby, with mother watching him, galloped busily to pull out the extra pace.

            Mrs. Charlton herself does not make extravagant claims about her contribution to the making of a star footballer because she says he is “a natural”, and that it was always obvious that football would be his business.

            At Ease With Press

            Now Mrs. Charlton is completely at ease with reporters, because she has been interviewed scores of times. She talks to them freely, but nearly always manages to tell the men on the track of human interest sporting stories that every time she talks to them she has anxieties about what they will print.

            Young Tommy

            Interesting member of the household is young Tommy, the youngest son, who is still at school, says his game is rugby, and is interested in skiffle.

            While mother is being interviewed he sits in a corner fondling a George Formby banjoline and enjoying the limelight his famous brother has brought to his home and life.

            Good and Bad

            Tailpiece to the Charlton family story concerns a non-member of the clan. This is sport loving newsagent Mr. E. Cockburn who runs a business just along the street from the Charlton home.

            In recent weeks it has fallen to his lot to be the bearer of bad tidings and good tidings to the Charlton household. He reluctantly delivered to Mrs. Charlton the first news of the Munich air crash in which Bobby Charlton was one of the lucky ones, then within a week or two more happily was able to deliver the first intimation of young Bobby’s award of a place in the England team – his first cap.

 

 

Cissie's own story, as told to local journalist Vince Gledhill, is still available on Amazon.  

Cissie Charlton
Creative Commons AttributionCissie Charlton - Credit: jeannie-bee