Thousands to line the streets for funeral of Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton

Sir Bobby died in October at the age of 86 after falling at his care home. Credit: PA Images

Thousands of people are expected to line the streets of Manchester for the funeral of footballing legend Sir Bobby Charlton.

The former Manchester United football player died at Macclesfield Hospital on 21 October, at the age of 86, after an accidental fall at his care home in Cheshire.

His funeral cortege will pause outside Old Trafford ahead of a private service at Manchester Cathedral, led by Canon Nigel Ashworth at 2pm.

Around 1,000 people are expected to attend, including the Charlton family, friends of Sir Bobby, and leading figures from across the football and sporting communities.

Manchester United will be represented by Sir Alex Ferguson and numerous club legends from across the generations, including teammates of Sir Bobby from the club’s 1968 European Cup-winning team.

The ceremony, which will not be filmed or broadcast, will include eulogies and tributes from former United chief executive David Gill, former Manchester United Foundation chief executive John Shiels and a personal tribute from Charlton’s family.

Hymns will include Abide With Me, which is traditionally sung before the FA Cup final, Jerusalem and a rendition of How Great Thou Art by opera singer Russell Watson.

Sir Alex Ferguson is set to attend the funeral of his friend Sir Bobby. Credit: PA Images

The route of Sir Bobby Charlton's Funeral Procession - from Old Trafford to Manchester Cathedral

  • The funeral cortège will arrive at Old Trafford at 13:30 from Chester Road and proceed slowly across the stadium forecourt, passing in front of the Trinity Statue and fans congregated to say farewell, before continuing to Manchester Cathedral.

  • At Old Trafford, the cortège will pass through a guard of honour made up of representatives of Manchester United’s Under-18 and Under-21 Academy teams.

  • The cortège will then procced to Manchester Cathedral via the A56, Trinity Way, before turning onto Chapel Street and across Victoria Bridge.

  • Members of the Charlton family will arrive via the South Entrance shortly before the service begins at 14:00.

  • All other invited guests will arrive and leave via the North Entrance and there will be a private wake at Old Trafford after the ceremony.

Sir Bobby Charlton was part of the Busby Babes. Credit: PA Images

The family has requested donations to a series of charities close to Charlton’s heart, the Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation, the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust, the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s UK.

The Ashington-born midfielder, who made 758 appearances and scored 249 goals for the Red Devils in a glittering 17-year playing career, died at the age of 86 in October.

He survived the 1958 Munich Air Disaster which claimed the lives of eight of his fellow Busby Babes and went on to win the World Cup with England in 1966 alongside older brother Jack and the European Cup with United two years later.

Charlton returned to the club with which he had made his name as a director in 1984 and continued to serve both it and football in general as a much-admired ambassador until his latter years.

His stature in the game was reflected in the tributes which poured in after the news of his death was announced.

Sir Bobby Charlton and his brother Jack Charlton. Credit: PA Images

Ferguson, who guided the club back to the pinnacle of European football under his watchful gaze, described him as a “tower of strength” during his 26-year spell at the helm.

In a eulogy published in the matchday programme ahead of the derby against Manchester City, Ferguson wrote: “It’s no surprise to me that we’ve seen tributes to Sir Bobby from everywhere in the world, on every TV channel and in every newspaper, because he was without question the greatest English player of all time.

“People loved him because of all those thunderbolt goals, but it was more than that. My dad used to say that humility in success is a sign of greatness, and that was Bobby.

“He never used to boast about his own achievements; it was always about the team and the club.”

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