Thousands of UK football fans welcome Charlton funeral cortege in Manchester

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Thousands of fans welcomed the funeral cortege of Manchester United great Bobby Charlton at Old Trafford on Monday as it made its way past the stadium to Manchester cathedral for a private ceremony.

Charlton, a World Cup winner with England and one of United’s greatest players, died on October 21 at the age of 86.

Former United manager Alex Ferguson, former players Andy Cole and Paul Scholes, England manager Gareth Southgate, and Prince William were some of the early arrivals among the around 1,000 invited guests at the cathedral for the service.

A throng of fans, a dozen deep in places, braved the blustery weather to clap as the cortege made its way in front of the Trinity Statue of Charlton, George Best and Denis Law, where a ring of hundreds of bouquets and scarves encircling the statue’s base continued to grow.

Charlton was a key figure in England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team, playing alongside his brother Jack. He made 758 appearances for United, scoring 249 goals.

Bobby Charlton (L) and Ray Wilson during the 1966 World Cup. Photo: via dpa

Harry Maguire, Jonny Evans, Tom Heaton and Luke Shaw were among the current United players scheduled to attend the private service, with many absent due to international duties. Current manager Erik Ten Hag was not able to attend due to a commitment in the Netherlands.

The ceremony was expected to include tributes and eulogies from United chief executive David Gill, former Manchester United Foundation chief executive John Shiels and a personal tribute from Charlton’s family.

Hymns were to include “Abide With Me”, which is traditionally sung before the FA Cup final.

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