The Glory Days - Football's Old School Heroes

The Old School. It’s a phrase well banded in the world of modern football – a reference to the glory days and of legends passed.

It's the mullet, the 70’s 'tache - the blood-splattered centre-half whose first touch is a tackle, second a tantrum. The hard core player who fought for glory and love of the game, not million a month paypackets and lucrative sponsorship deals.

Today’s pundits can’t get enough of this term. It's pulled from the locker when there's even a sniff of entitlement, or a touch of arrogance on the field.

So what does it take to be classed as an old school legend, and can the players of today live up to the precedent?

Bert Trautmann

Born in Germany in 1936, Bert Trautmann’s career covered many angles.

A Luftwaffe Iron Cross earning paratrooper, Bert was captured by Britain in the Second World War.

Despite being a prisoner of war, he took to his surroundings surprisingly well, and after his release chose to settle in the country, taking up football. He was soon snapped-up by Manchester City - snapped being the optimum word.

For it was his neck break in the 1956 FA Cup final that earned him his truly legendary spot in footballing folklore.

Choosing not to leave the park, the goalkeeper - knocked-out cold by a knee to the neck in the 75th minute - vowed to retain City's 3-1 lead. So he stayed on.

Over the course of the next 15 minutes, Trautmann pulled-off a string of top saves, made all the more astonishing by the lethal condition he'd managed to get himself into.

It took five days for him to see a doctor, and the eventual diagnosis was the dislocation of five vertebrae, the second of which was cracked clean in two.

To put in context, most people who suffer that kind of injury usually die. Trautmann later admitted the last five minutes of the final were like playing in 'a fog'.

Sixteen years a professional and one trophy to his name, he finished his career managing the Pakistan national team.

Sir Bobby Charlton

To this day, Charlton holds the record for the highest goal scorer for both his club and country – no mean feat in today’s landscape of astronomical wage packets and state of the art training facilities.

Playing in no fewer than four world cup tournaments, he was an integral part of England’s 1966 world cup winning squad. A true character, Charlton holds a firm place in the hearts of Man Utd fans around the world.

Charlton survived the notorious Munich air disaster, which tragically claimed the lives of seven of his teammates – he was back on the pitch only two months later.

His heart, commitment and incredible skill on the pitch saw him win the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 Sports Personality Of The Year Awards. To this day, he’s a club ambassador and an integral part of life at Manchester United.

Jim Baxter

The hothead Scotsman was one of the game's founding midfield generals, yet a footballing genius.

A Scotland International from 1961 to 1967, Baxter was renowned for partying hard the night before a game. Despite this, the Glasgow Rangers icon was miraculously unplayable at his peak. He controlled games with an 'unhurried accuracy', and Sir Alex Ferguson even labeled him "arguably the best player to play in Scottish football". No mean feat, but still.

Baxter once asked a friend to move the date of his wedding to a Saturday - and to the same hotel Rangers ate their pre-match meal. Baxter shoehorned the wedding's entire bar tab onto the Rangers bill, and such was his popularity at the Glasgow club, they agreed to pay.

George Best

The Manchester Utd winger and Northern Ireland International was considered the best player of his generation.

Best’s legendary skills on the pitch were almost matched by his hardcore attitude off – his renowned partying ways often overshadowing the brilliance of a man whose skills were unsurpassed on the field.

Best helped Man Utd along on the road to victory at the European championships in 1968, a historic win that also saw him take the title of European player of the year.

His lion hearted attitude combined with a true sporting gift, “Bestie” as he was affectionately known will go down in sporting history as a true man of the old school. His often quoted evaluation of his lifestyle even more so – “I spent a lot of my money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered”.

Bobby Moore

Praised by Pele as the greatest defender he had ever come up against, Bobby Moore lives amongst the true legends of the game. He captained England during the 1996 world cup, leading the team to a historic victory that’s never been matched.

Not without his controversies, in January 1971 Moore and three team mates were fined a weeks wages each for going out clubbing the night before an FA cup third round match against Blackpool – the team subsequently lost the match four goals to nil, which against a bottom table team was badly received to say the least.

After his death in 1983, Moore lives on through several charitable foundations and a legacy that will live in the hearts and minds of England fans for many years to come.

So there's your Old School must-haves. A player who leaves everything on the pitch, and tears everything apart off it.

The terminology lives on as the one cliché that strikes fear into the core of the False 9 worshipping football hipsters of today. Often uncultured, never half-hearted, forever enduring.