- Sir Alex Ferguson was present for Sir Bobby Charlton’s funeral in Manchester
- Speaking afterwards, Ferguson praised the football great as a ‘fantastic man’
- Sporting luminaries from past and present also attended the memorial service
Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson paid a touching tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton after attending the football legend’s funeral on Monday.
Charlton’s family and United supporters and players, both past and present, bid their final farewell to the all-time great alongside 1,000 mourners on an emotional day.
Crowds lined the streets to watch Charlton’s funeral cortege arrive at Old Trafford, where it was greeted with applause, before travelling on to Manchester Cathedral.
Charlton, who made 758 appearances for United, died aged 86 last month.
A host of leading figures from across the football world, including Ferguson, a close friend of Charlton, were present for the service and paid their respects.
Sir Alex Ferguson paid a touching tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton after attending his funeral
Charlton’s family and friends, as well as United players and supporters, paid their respects
‘It was very sombre,’ Ferguson told Sky Sports. ‘One of the tributes from his grandson, I thought was fantastic.
‘It’s not easy going up there and speaking. The speakers did a great job.
‘He was a fantastic man. I’m here at United because of Bobby Charlton.’
He added: ‘The day I came, he supported me 100 per cent, all the way. He was totally behind me and everything we tried to do with youth.
‘I’m here because of Bobby Charlton.’
The cortege moved past the East Stand at Old Trafford and the iconic United Trinity statue, which depicts Charlton, George Best and Denis Law.
Representatives of United’s youth sides formed a guard of honour around the statue.
A red, white and black scarf was draped around Charlton’s neck, the display representing the centrepiece of many floral tributes left by supporters.
The service at the cathedral was led by Canon Nigel Ashworth and featured eulogies by family members and club figures. It will remain private and was not filmed.
Among those offering tributes were former United chief executive David Gill, Manchester United Foundation CEO John Shiels and members of Charlton’s family.
Ferguson described Charlton as a ‘fantastic man’ and thanked him for his lengthy support
Charlton regularly offered his backing to Ferguson throughout his 26-year reign at United
Charlton’s funeral cortege passed the ‘Trinity’ statue of Charlton, George Best and Denis Law
Lady Norma Charlton and family left Manchester Cathedral following the funeral service
A red, white and black scarf was placed around Charlton’s neck outside Old Trafford
Bouquets on top of Charlton’s coffin in the hearse were visible as it passed Old Trafford
The hymns included Abide With Me, traditionally sung before the FA Cup final, Jerusalem and a rendition of How Great Thou Art by opera singer Russell Watson.
Tens of thousands of mourners signed a book of condolence opened at Old Trafford following Charlton’s tragic passing in the early hours of October 21.
Charlton, who battled dementia in his later years, died following an accidental fall in a care home in Knutsford, Cheshire, coroners later ruled.
He is survived by his wife Lady Norma, their two daughters and grandchildren.
Charlton had withdrawn from public life after his dementia diagnosis in late 2020.
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