Sir Bobby Charlton revealed today that for much of his playing career he was almost completely bald. Millions of people were unaware of his baldness until he hung up his boots and began a career firstly as a failed manager, then as a successful director and football diplomat where his baldness became a trademark and his eventual fortune.
‘When I started losing my hair in the late 1950s, I was afraid it would damage my image if the public found out,’ explained Sir Bobby. ‘I considered making a rugging order, but my mam recommended something called a comb-over. To my surprise it worked, and I managed to keep a lid on it. Maybe there was more respect in those days, I don’t know.
‘Anyhow, by the late 1960s the situation was getting worse, and it was then that I went for a Super comb-over. It started just above one ear and went all the way over the top and down the other side. It was so effective that still nobody noticed. Even when it slipped on very rare occasions, commentators wouldn’t even mention it and the public remained none the wiser.’
Critics of Super comb-overs say that the rest of the world knew the truth anyway. ‘Bobby used to love the nicknames: El Calvo in Spain, Glatzkopf in Germany and so on, and never cottoned on to what they were about,’ said reporter John Saltire from a bar in Glasgow. ‘We even called him Old Shinyheid in our headlines, but in those days there was no internet to tell the English what the Scottish papers were saying.’
Charlton’s baldness revelation came as no surprise to his brother, Jack. ‘When we were kids, I used to pull his hair for calling me Jacqui,’ said the lanky former England defender. ‘This was a technique that I perfected when I became a professional at Leeds.’
‘Of course,’ recalled Jack, ‘in those days Bobby wore a hair net, but it’s not the sort of personal detail people are interested in. Unless they’re using that Twitter thing.’