Thousands of people lined the streets of Manchester to pay tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton, who was laid to rest this afternoon.
Charlton died last month, aged 86, after an accidental fall at the care home where he was receiving treatment for dementia.
His death prompted an outpouring of emotion for a man who played an enormous part in England’s 1966 World Cup triumph and Manchester United’s European Cup win in 1968, which came 10 years after he survived the Munich air crash that claimed the lives of 23 people including eight team-mates.
Across a glittering 17-year playing career, Charlton made 758 appearances for United, scoring 249 goals.
Looking back at the life of an inspirational man ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Geufc9M9Hh
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 13, 2023
The funeral cortege left Old Trafford at 1330 to applause from well-wishers as it made the three-mile journey past the Holy Trinity statue that features Charlton, Denis Law and George Best and on to Manchester Cathedral, where around 1000 people gathered for the service.
Among those in attendance were Prince William, Sir Alex Ferguson, Roy Keane, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, England boss Gareth Southgate as well as Charlton’s former team-mates Pat Crerand and Alex Stepney.
Current United boss Erik ten Hag was not present due to a long-arranged commitment in his native Netherlands.
On his way inside, Stepney told BBC News: “My memory was meeting him for the first time when I got signed [at United]. I knew straight away what a great guy he was, a humble guy.
“Nothing was over his head or anything like that, it was all about playing for Manchester United. Even on international duty it was about winning and that was what Bobby Charlton was all about. A humble guy, a great family man. It never went to his head.
“He was a winner. He never wanted to be a loser. He was an absolute winner – let’s be honest he scored some great goals to win games.”
Former England and United captain Bryan Robson added to Sky News: “It’s a sad day for football, for Manchester United and Sir Bobby’s family.
“Sir Bobby was a great player…to win the World Cup, win the European Cup and have the career he had, he was just a fantastic player but also a great person. He had time for everybody and did a lot of charity work.”
The ceremony was led by Canon Nigel Ashworth with eulogies from family, former United CEO David Gill and John Shiels, the former CEO of the Manchester United Foundation.
After the ceremony, there was a private wake held at Old Trafford.
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