Sir Bobby Charlton elegantly glided around Old Trafford one last time: In a poignant farewell, the cortege paused briefly by the statue where the Manchester United legend is immortalised in bronze as fans paid their respect to an all-time great

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Sir Bobby Charlton never forgot nan first clip he group eyes connected Old Trafford. 

Manchester United's main scout Joe Armstrong had taken nan 15-year-old to luncheon aft playing successful an England Schoolboys proceedings astatine Maine Road successful March 1953, and their autobus drove past nan crushed connected its measurement to nan station.

'I craned to return successful nan segment arsenic nan fans flooded down Warwick Road for that afternoon's United match,' Charlton later recalled. 

'I wanted to jump disconnected nan autobus and subordinate successful nan excitement. However, it did hap to maine that I had immoderate clip to savour nan prospect. All I needed was a small patience.'

On Monday, soon aft 1.30pm, Sir Bobby passed by Old Trafford 1 past time.

Sir Bobby Charlton passed by Old Trafford 1 last clip connected Monday afternoon 

Fans gathered astatine Old Trafford to salary 1 last tribute to nan Manchester United legend, who died past period aged 86

Flowers, flags and scarves were near extracurricular nan crushed successful representation of Charlton 

The fans lining Sir Matt Busby Way collapsed into gentle applause arsenic nan hearse carrying Charlton's coffin edged alongside nan spot he christened nan Theatre of Dreams nether leaden skies.

The ceremonial cortege passed wrong yards of nan Sir Bobby Charlton Stand and nan Munich timepiece and plaque base nan names of nan 8 Busby Babes who didn't travel home. He ne'er rather sewage complete nan emotion of guilt that he survived and his teammates did not.

Across nan solid façade of nan stadium, nan 2 images of Charlton – 1 arsenic a player, nan different arsenic a head and nine ambassador – peered down upon nan thousands of mourners either broadside of nan words: Sir Bobby Charlton 1937-2023. Forever Loved.

One aged instrumentality threw a reddish United garment onto nan bonnet of nan hearse. 

Another placed a scarf location arsenic nan cortege passed slow betwixt a defender of honour made up of academy players from nan club's Under-18s and Under-21 teams. There was nary amended flagbearer for United's younker strategy than Charlton.

It's unthinkable to deliberation that he near Stretford Grammar conscionable 3 weeks aft arriving successful Manchester from Ashington successful nan north-east because nan games coach said he had to play for nan schoolhouse squad alternatively than United.

Training arsenic an apprentice electrical engineer, Charlton was often precocious for activity because he couldn't spend a watch. 

He took to opinionated connected nan toilet successful nan bath of nan digs he shared pinch immoderate of nan different Busby Babes truthful he could spot nan timepiece connected Stretford Town Hall, sometimes successful nan mediate of nan night.

Fans of each ages gathered to salary their respects to nan Manchester United awesome connected Monday

They watched arsenic nan ceremonial cortege made his measurement down past Old Trafford 

The hearse slow moved past nan United Trinity statue, wherever Charlton (left) is immortalised alongside pinch Denis Law (middle) and George Best (right) 

A instrumentality tied a United scarf astir Charlton's cervix connected nan statue extracurricular nan ground 

That patience Charlton talked astir paid off, though. Boy, did it salary off. A full of 758 appearances and 249 goals for United, winning 3 convention titles, nan FA Cup and European Cup – not to mention, of course, a World Cup victor pinch England.

The grounds of it was location successful nan achromatic and achromatic pictures that served arsenic a backdrop to nan Trinity Statue yesterday wherever he is immortalised successful bronze alongside George Best and Denis Law and wherever nan cortege stopped concisely successful a final, poignant farewell to Old Trafford.

The image of a sweat-stained Charlton lifting nan European Cup aft scoring doubly successful nan last 10 years aft Munich, and planting a buss connected Busby's cheek.

Charlton and Eusebio either broadside of nan celebrated trophy successful their later years. Charlton being reunited pinch Best and Law. Charlton receiving nan applause aft nan South Stand was renamed successful his honour, aliases pinch Sir Alex Ferguson astatine nan opening of nan Carrington training complex.

A fresh-faced Charlton handwashing his ain kit astatine location successful Ashington and, galore years later, successful a suit and necktie pinch that gentle grin of his.

Colin Nicholson was among nan fans who turned up to salary their past respects. The 74-year-old instrumentality was astatine nan European Cup last successful 1968 to spot what he believes was Charlton's top performance.

'I was only a teen but it was nan first clip I'd ever been to London,' he said. 'I managed to get a summons for nan final, I don't cognize how. What a privilege to watch him that night.

The precocious England prima was a fig beloved passim nan world of football 

Charlton's ceremonial was held astatine nan Manchester Cathedral connected Monday afternoon

'He's astir apt England's top player. A World Cup winner, European Cup victor and loyal to his nine which you don't spot a batch today. I felt I had to beryllium here, it's only right.'

Jim Gillan, from Stretford, utilized to activity connected information successful nan players' passageway astatine United and remembers Sir Bobby regularly coming down to nan dressing-room aft games.

'Everyone has spoken astir him successful a precocious respect and it's each true,' said nan 67-year-old.

'He would travel done nan directors' container down to nan dressing-room each game, triumph aliases lose. That was his philosophy.

'Bobby was an integral portion of United. Wherever you spell successful nan world, Bobby Charlton was nan biggest sanction they would subordinate pinch this club.

'I was brought up watching Georgie, Bobby and Denis successful nan 60s,' he added, nodding astatine nan statue.

'Bobby is 1 of nan legends of nan club, and that's why everybody's present arsenic you tin see.'

Janet Warburton, from Urmston, was present connected behalf of her family. 'It intends everything,' she said. 'He was specified an inspiration to everyone. Everything that he stood for down nan scenes astatine nan nine for each those years. We're going to miss him around.'

For each nan emotion being shown to Sir Bobby connected Monday, location were besides traces of nan fractured nine he leaves behind.

Sir Alex Ferguson was among nan thousands who attended nan ceremonial service 

A big of erstwhile Manchester United players attended nan funeral, including Roy Keane (left) and Paul Scholes (right) 

Harry Maguire (middle) headed a delegation of existent United players, which besides included Tom Heaton (left) and Luke Shaw (right) 

One banner from nan anti-Glazer group, The 1958, paid a pointed tribute to nan United legend, referencing Busby's 'red flag' quote to his adjunct Jimmy Murphy arsenic he laic earnestly injured successful nan Rechts der Isar Hospital successful Munich.

'Sir Bobby, nan bequest you near america with. History, dignity and integrity. Our committedness to you. We will protect that bequest and support nan reddish emblem flying high.'

Whatever becomes of this awesome nine successful nan months and years ahead, 1 point is clear: location will ne'er beryllium different Bobby Charlton.

As he near Old Trafford for nan past clip connected his last travel towards Manchester Cathedral, you knew that we won't spot his for illustration again.


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