Family, Fans & Footballers Bid Final Farewell To Manchester United Legend Sir Bobby Charlton


Football players, supporters, and family have said their final goodbyes to Manchester United and England icon Sir Bobby Charlton who died the previous month.

At his earlier funeral, about a thousand people paid their respects to one of the greatest players in history.

Before the cortège moved on to Manchester Cathedral, it stopped at Old Trafford to thunderous cheers from the crowd that had gathered along the streets.

The legendary Red Devil, who played 758 games for the team, passed away on October 21 at the age of 86.

Prominent figures from the football world joined the Charlton family and friends for the funeral.

Among those paying their respects were former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, as well as former players Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Steve Bruce, Paddy Crerand, and Andy Cole.

Along with former England manager Gareth Southgate and player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, current players Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw were also present.

The Football Association’s president, Prince of Wales, made the trip to Manchester as well for the private service held at the city’s central cathedral.

The United Trinity statue, which features Denis Law, Charlton, and George Best, was passed by the funeral cortège as it passed the East Stand of the stadium.

On either side of the statue, members of the club’s under-18 and under-21 teams constituted a guard of honor.

Outside the football stadium were black and white pictures that showed Charlton’s career as a player and later as a director for the team.

After that, the funeral procession headed into the city center and arrived at the cathedral, where mourners had gathered inside, just after 14:00 GMT.

David Gill, the former chief executive of Manchester United, paid tribute to Charlton as a “legend, an icon and a very dear and loyal, much-loved colleague and friend” during his first eulogy.

“Football is a tribal sport but Bobby was universally admired,” Gill said.

“Bobby’s name is synonymous with all that is good about the English game.”

As he read the final tribute, his grandson William Balderston described his grandfather as a “creative, fantastic storyteller” who would make up stories he called “jelly and custard” to enthrall and amuse his younger relatives.

With a “depth of gratitude” for Charlton and his spouse Norma, he said, “They have shown me what devotion really is.”

Canon Nigel Ashworth presided over the ceremony, which featured hymns by William Blake, Brother James’ Air by James Leith Macbeth Bain, and Abide with Me by Henry Francis Lyte.

Russell Watson, an opera singer, also performed a musical tribute, “How Great Thou Art.”

Charlton, who is regarded as one of England’s all-time greats, played a significant role in the Three Lions’ 1966 World Cup victory.

Over his 17-year tenure in United’s first team, he won three league titles, an FA Cup, and a European Cup.

He played for England from 1958 to 1970, winning the Ballon d’Or, setting a record with 49 goals, and earning 106 caps. England also won the famous 1966 World Cup.

Bryan Robson, a former United player, said in remarks made prior to the service that Charlton welcomed him to the team when he signed in 1981 for a club record.

“Sir Bob was the first one after I signed the contract to come and say it’s a great club, enjoy yourself here,” he said.

He added: “It’s a sad day for the family, for Manchester United but also for football because he was a fantastic player.

“But he wasn’t just a great player, he was a great person, he had time for everyone and wanted to help everyone.”

Alex Stepney, Charlton’s teammate, called him a “great family man” and said that his success “never went to his head”.

“My memory was meeting him for the first time when I got signed [at United],” Stepney told the BBC.

“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.”