What five United legends had to say about Sir Bobby

Tuesday 14 November 2023 19:00

Monday's funeral service for Sir Bobby Charlton was attended by a wealth of his fellow Manchester United legends, spanning different eras of the club's illustrious history.

The most famous club side that the late, great icon of English football played in - the 1968 European Cup-winning team - was represented by Alex Stepney, Paddy Crerand and Brian Kidd.

Lou Macari, who helped to win the FA Cup in 1977 - United's first major trophy after Charlton retired four years earlier, was also in attendance.

From the 1980s and 1990s, there were two of Sir Bobby's successors in the important role of club captain, Steve Bruce and Bryan Robson, as well as a player who shared his penchant for scoring spectacular goals from long range, Mark Hughes.

As for the Treble-winning squad of 1999, the likes of Peter Schmeichel, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Andy Cole and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were all among the congregation.

Below, you can read and watch what five of the aforementioned United legends had to say about the man who passed away last month, leaving the entire football world mourning one of its greatest ever players, advocates and ambassadors.

Crerand: Sir Bobby was beautiful to watch Video

Crerand: Sir Bobby was beautiful to watch

Paddy Crerand reflects on Sir Bobby's funeral, as well as the attributes and character of his former team-mate...


"He was a great lad, Bobby. On the field, he was the biggest moaner you've ever met in your life... he thought everybody could do what he could do, but obviously they couldn't! He had all of the things that I didn't have. He was an elegant runner, just beautiful to watch. I think my best memory of him [as a footballer] was when he scored a goal. It was as if he'd won the pools or something, every time he scored a goal. Off the pitch, he was a gentleman, the nicest of people. A lovely man, he was. He was so modest for somebody who had that ability. You know, he was so shy, you couldn't believe that somebody with the worldwide fame that he had was so shy."
Hughes: Sir Bobby was another level Video

Hughes: Sir Bobby was another level

Mark Hughes insists Sir Bobby Charlton was much better than him at scoring worldies for United...


"Sir Bobby was always a presence around the club. He never really pushed himself forward or passed an opinion of what was going on, good, bad or indifferent. But you always knew he was in the background and he was there to support everybody connected with the club. He was always great company. A very humble man, but a man that had his heart in Manchester United. Everybody knew obviously that he was such a great of the English game. But he was very much about the present and trying to support whoever was in charge or playing for United at that time. I'm nowhere near the level of Sir Bobby [in terms of scoring great goals], he was an outstanding player. I remember when I was about 18 or 19 and I went to his Soccer School. He was still in kit, still dropping his left shoulder and going to the right and knocking them in the net. So that was a pleasure just to be part of that."
Macari: What made Sir Bobby the best Video

Macari: What made Sir Bobby the best

Lou Macari recalls the advice he received from Sir Bobby and explains why he admired him so much as a player...


"From the day I arrived at Old Trafford [in January 1973], Sir Bobby was there to help me. He was there to give advice. And I was somebody who was coming to try and take his place in the team. But that didn't matter. That didn't matter to him. He knew everything about me because he knew everything about football. He knew everything about Celtic, who I had played for. And from that day, nothing changed with Sir Bobby. He was a great guy. He was always there if you needed a bit of advice from him and, as you can imagine, it was always good advice. It was always, 'Keep playing, keep your head up, do your best, play for the club, play for the team.' I was here 11 years and he lasted 17 years. It was just incredible how he did that alone. But in the church there, they read out all his records and everything about him and the games he played and the goals he scored. But there was a man there, a proper man.

"In his last year, at 36 years of age, I think I was 23 or 24 but he was non-stop. You just couldn't imagine how he had the stamina to get up and down the pitch. We know all about his shooting abilities, goalscoring ability, but that's what made him a standout player. That's what made him the best player, in my opinion, that's what made him the best English player in the world and made him the best player we've had at Old Trafford. And think of all the players we've had at Old Trafford. Not to mention the obvious ones, Law and Best. There's others down the years that have come and done okay, but Bobby stood head and shoulders above most of them."
Schmeichel: I have incredible memories Video

Schmeichel: I have incredible memories

Outside Manchester Cathedral, Peter Schmeichel shared a lovely story about Sir Bobby's character...


"I remember Sir Bobby for so many great things, great experiences. First of all, when I was very, very new to the football club, I took quite a large group of maybe 10, 12 people around Old Trafford. This is before the tours, you know, before the structured tours. I was very proud to be able to show my friends Old Trafford. And I came up to the Europa Lounge and he was having lunch with also quite a big group of people there. And I'm, like, very cautiously just waving. And he stood up, came up and introduced himself to every single one of my friends. With some of those guys who were in that group that day, we have been talking about him in the last couple of weeks.

"That just stands out as an incredible experience because here was a guy who'd won the Ballon d'Or, the World Cup, the championship and the European Cup with Manchester United. He had survived the Munich disaster and played one of the most important parts in rebuilding the football club, giving people of Manchester hope, all of that. And yet he came over to us and was just so dignified, so humble, so nice. So I've got incredible memories. He was always supportive. And you take lessons from that. So when you speak to players,  current players, as a former player, I always remember how he was. Always trying to be supportive, even in the worst of times, when he'd say, 'well, as a club, we do this or we do that.' He was always like that, before games and after games."
Stepney: Sir Bobby was magnificent Video

Stepney: Sir Bobby was magnificent

Alex Stepney says "I loved him to bits" as he arrives for the funeral of his late, great team-mate Sir Bobby...


"What a great man and a great member of Manchester United for all those years. What he did for the club was incredible. You can't say any more. He was just magnificent. The European Cup final [always comes to mind]. Bobby always said, 'we can score four'. We did score four and won it. And he scored two of them, two great goals. When you play for England, for your country, you know you're playing with other players [from different clubs]. But he loved Manchester United and he completed his mission after Munich.

"As a person, he was a great guy, just a great family man. He just enjoyed his life. He enjoyed playing cribbage and whatever we did in those days, when there were no mobile phones. I just loved him to bits. He was a modest guy. He wouldn't have wanted it, [all these people here today for him]. But his family will love it because what he did [in football], he did for them as well."

The day we said farewell:

  • Manchester's moving farewell to Sir Bobby


    The ordinary people of a city Charlton changed forever provided the most touching tribute of all, writes Joe Ganley.

  • The great and the good


    Steve Bartram explains how Sir Bobby Charlton's funeral 'ushered out the man behind the legend'.

  • Farewell, Sir Bobby Charlton Video

    Farewell, Sir Bobby Charlton

    Catch up on our broadcast from Old Trafford and Manchester Cathedral, where we said goodbye to a United icon...

  • Funeral procession at Old Trafford Video

    Funeral procession at Old Trafford

    The scenes at Old Trafford as we mourn one of its greatest heroes - Sir Bobby Charlton...