TODAY marks the 38th anniversary of Bobby Charlton's 100th cap for England. Saturday was the 50th anniversary of his first, just over two months after he had escaped with his life from the Munich air disaster.

Both Manchester United and the FA say they have no plans to mark either cap landmark. Sic transit gloria . . .

Charlton scored five times in 11 matches against Scotland, and 49 times in his 106-cap career, his country's most prolific scorer and at the time, most-capped player. He is now third after Peter Shilton (125) and Bobby Moore (108).

Charlton netted in that debut international goal 50 years ago on Saturday at Hampden, in a 4-0 defeat of Scotland. The Scots were taken apart by an England side which included Johnny Haynes and Tom Finney. So vast was the gulf that this paper's Cyril Horne, doyen of football writers, felt compelled to write an apologia exempting the selectors from blame, excusing them on the grounds that it was an era of forward poverty in Scotland.

Charlton set up the opening goal from a free-kick, laying on a header for Bryan Douglas. He scored the third himself, a volley from a Finney cross. This became his trademark. Both goals in a 2-1 defeat of Portugal at Wembley on his next appearance confirmed a star had arisen.

He was European Footballer of the year in 1966, a member of England's winning World Cup team, and in 1968 he captained the United team that won the European Cup.

He was uniquely a member of four England World Cup final squads and scored a record 247 goals for United. He holds United's appearances record at 759, though Ryan Giggs is just seven short of that.He was rated 12 in World Soccer's 20th century top 100, second Brit, four places behind George Best, who refused to play in his testimonial: "It would have been hypocrisy," contended the Northern Irishman. Remarkably in hindsight, Charlton never won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. He was runner-up 50 years ago to a Scot: swimmer Ian Black.

Charlton was global ambassador for Manchester when they bid for the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. There were hilarious scenes when trying to secure the former. I witnessed a circus in which Germans, Australians, Turks, and Chinese (who were bidding against Manchester) all chased Charlton for his autograph. The pursuit also included the King of Saudi Arabia, ignoring a posse of IOC dignitaries to secure the great man's signature.

They lost that vote to Sydney but staged a memorable Commonwealth event in 2002. He was also an ambassador for London 2012. Along with Sebastian Coe, they remain two of the world's most visibly recognisable sporting figures.

A miner's son from Ashington, County Durham, Charlton (now 70) was a contemporary of Scottish Commonwealth Games marathon champion Jim Alder at school. "He and his brother, Jackie, didn't do a fraction of the training I did," Alder once told me.

Maybe if he had, Charlton might have been an even better player!