Sir Alex Ferguson leads tributes to Sir Bobby Charlton with speech at funeral

Sir Alex Ferguson led the tributes yesterday as Manchester United and England icon Sir Bobby Charlton was laid to rest.

Thousands lined the streets around Old Trafford to say goodbye to the footballing legend before 1,000 people attended a private service at Manchester Cathedral. Charlton died last month at the age of 86 after a remarkable career saw him win both the World Cup and European Cup.

Prince William was among the mourners yesterday along with England boss Gareth Southgate and United past and current stars Harry Maguire, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Brian Kidd, Mark Hughes and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Former United boss and Britain’s most successful manager Ferguson was also there as he put his glory down to the help from Charlton when he arrived at the club in 1986.

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He said: “He was a fantastic man. I was at United because of Bobby Charlton, no question about that.
“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.”

Current United boss Erik ten Hag was unable to attend owing to a commitment back in Holland. Charlton made 758 appearances for United winning three league titles, an FA Cup and the European Cup while he was a board member and club ambassador.

He won the World Cup in 1966 which remains England’s only ever success in the tournament having survived the Munich Air Disaster in 1958. There were representatives at the funeral from numerous Premier League clubs including Manchester City while Emilio Butragueno was there for Real Madrid.

Former United captain Bryan Robson was also in attendance with old team-mate Steve Bruce and they both hailed Charlton as an all-time English great. Alex Stepney, who was in goal when United won the European Cup in 1968, said: "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."

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