Interview with Sir Bobby Charlton grandson Will Balderston


Your grandad has been a long-standing supporter of the Foundation – how did it feel to continue that legacy?
“This meant a lot to me, of course. When I think of someone who has experienced tragic lows, but also touched the stars, I think of him. My granddad is a perfect example to show that, no matter where you come from, no matter what adversity you might experience, with support of those close to you, support of a club like Manchester United, you can overcome challenges and go on to do great things. United gave him that chance, the platform to go on to be an incredible player and a person of massive influence which he used to do a huge amount of good in the world. The Foundation want to give young people that chance and to light that spark that they have within them. Since its early days, my granddad and grandma have been incredibly supportive of the Foundation, helping to open projects all over Manchester, so for me to pull on the training kit and continue that support meant a great deal to our family.”

He was, of course, a Busby Babe, a team that embodied United’s commitment to developing young people. The Foundation was set-up as a legacy to that commitment, why do you think that is important?
“The relationship between the past and the present at Manchester United is so important. Sir Matt’s contribution to the club is, to me, the cornerstone of everything we do. Taking a chance on a group of young lads who came from humble beginnings, but with the club’s support would go on to achieve great things. The parallel between that philosophy and what the Foundation works so hard to do on a daily basis is clear. I can recall many occasions when my granddad would talk to me about simply loving the game, practising all the time, but I also recall his fondness for the collective, for his team-mates. To him, particularly in those early days, he was going out on the pitch with his mates – he had a passion for his team-mates. It just so happened that my granddad and his friends were playing their matches at Old Trafford, but I always found his simple love of the game and the power it can have to change lives really inspiring.”


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