England World Cup winner Nobby Stiles is recovering in hospital – after he suffered a STROKE.
The 68-year-old – famous for his toothless smile and ferocious tackle – collapsed earlier this week.
Nobby was forced to cancel a public appearance at a pub in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warks., ahead of England’s crucial match against Algeria.
Harvey Gill, landlord of The Chapel pub, said: ”I was really sorry to hear of Nobby’s stroke.
”I know both Nobby and his son were looking forward to coming to Stratford for the weekend.
”We wish Nobby a fast recovery and our thoughts are with his family in what must be a very worrying time.”
Nobby has been unwell for months but was desperate to meet fans during this year’s World Cup, according to a friend.
The friend, who has known Nobby for years, said: ”It is absolutely tragic.
”Nobby has not been looking well for many months but he was determined to support England in the World Cup.
”He gives hilarious after dinner speeches and was due to meet fans at a pub in Stratford but had to pull out.
”It is very sad because I know he was really looking forward to it and wanted to cheer on the England team with everyone else.
”Things haven’t been good for a long time now and he hasn’t been able to work for a while.”
Nobby was due to spend the weekend in Stratford-upon-Avon with his son John, 46, a former footballer with Leeds Utd but now a regular on the comedy circuit.
The friend added: ”Nobby comes from a huge footballing family and for this to happen now is heartbreaking.
”He played such a huge role in England’s 1966 win and is still a massive football fan.”
Midfielder Nobby won 28 caps for England and was the driving force behind their famous 4-2 win against Germany in the World Cup final.