Sir Alex Ferguson led the tributes as the football world gathered to say goodbye to Sir Bobby Charlton. Mourners packed into Manchester Cathedral for the funeral of of the World Cup winner and Manchester United legend.
After the service, Ferguson credited Charlton with providing the support to him when times were tough which laid the foundations of the club’s huge success. “He was a fantastic man. I was at United because of Bobby Charlton, no question about that,” said Ferguson.
“From the day I came, he supported me 100 per cent, all the way. He was totally behind me in everything we tried to do in terms of youth and, as I said, I was there because of Bobby.”
Thousands of fans gathered at Old Trafford to say goodbye to Charlton as the funeral cortege was on its way to the cathedral. At the funeral ceremony former United chief executive David Gill spoke along with John Shiels from the Manchester United Foundation as well as Charlton’s grandson William Balderston.
JUST IN: Man Utd’s Sir Bobby Charlton send-off was as dignified as the icon himself
Current manager Erik ten Hag was not present given a clash with an ‘unbreakable and long-standing commitment in the Netherlands’, according to United. But former United players, representatives from other clubs and dignitaries including Prince William and UEFA boss Aleksander Ceferin packed out the cathedral.
Bryan Robson called Charlton a “great player and a great person” and 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.”
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Gill delivered a eulogy at the service and said: “The world’s football family has lost a legend of the game.” The Glazer family were not represented with sources suggesting they had decided to stay away so as not to become a distraction.
Representatives of United’s under-18 and under-21 teams formed a guard of honour flanking the statue of Charlton at Old Trafford. Black and white photographs depicting his career as a player and then a director at the club were on display outside the stadium.
Widely hailed as one of England’s greatest ever players, Charlton was a central figure in their one and only World Cup triumph back in 1966. He also won three league titles at club level during his 17-year career with United as well as a European Cup and an FA Cup.
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