Sir Bobby Charlton, one of Britain’s most gifted footballers who helped England win the 1966 World Cup, died at the age of 86.
Manchester United, the club where the attacking midfielder spent much of his career, issued a statement which read: “Manchester United are in mourning following the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton… [He] was a hero to millions, not just in Manchester, or the United Kingdom, but wherever football is played around the world.”
Telegraph readers have joined royalty, politicians and football stars past and present to share their heartfelt tributes and we invite you to share yours in the comments section below.
‘They were pure magic’
Malcolm Sargent: “As a kid I lived close to London. We lads used to catch the train simply to see Charlton, Best and Law in whatever match they were playing. They were pure magic. We weren’t even united supporters, we just loved football. Thank you sir Bobby for all of the pleasure over the years and especially for the joy of ‘66.”
‘I remember my friend finding Bobby Charlton in his card packet and dancing on the pavement with delight’
Mike Routhorn: “In the late 60s we used to collect those little cards for our football albums.
I remember going to the shop with my friend David Howard and him finding Bobby Charlton in his packet and him literally dancing on the pavement with delight. Sad, sad day.”
‘Legend is an often overused term, but in the case of Sir Bobby it could not be more accurate’
Colin Grimshaw: “Legend is an often overused term, but in the case of Sir Bobby it could not be more accurate. A true England and United legend. His two goals in the 1966 World Cup semi-final that took England to their greatest ever triumph, and his two goals that helped win the 1968 European Cup Final, ten years after Munich, illustrate the huge impact he had during his career.
‘A true gentleman and absolute hero’
Mark Hicks: “As an eight-year-old I remember watching Bobby Charlton scoring that wonderful goal against Portugal in the 1966 semi-final and have loved him ever since. A true gentleman and absolute hero – thank you, Sir Bobby.
‘Thank you Sir Bobby for all the joy you gave us’
Matthew Bull: “Had the great pleasure of meeting Sir Bobby and his wife many years back. What a gentleman. What a servant to Manchester United and England. Thank you Sir Bobby for all the joy you gave us. Condolences to his family.
‘As a nine-year-old I wished I could play like Sir Charlton’
Big Blue: “Very, very sad news, however inevitable. I remember watching the 1968 European Cup final on TV in black and white as a nine year old and wishing I could play like Sir Charlton. A great and humble man, who will be missed by all.”
‘Sir Bobby was one of the greats’
David Bromhall: “Liverpool fan here, Sir Bobby was one of the greats. It’s sad there aren’t many left of that 1966 team now. RIP Bobby. Reunited with Jack.”
‘Sir Bobby exemplified not only magnificent skill but also how to play the game with love’
Robin Wright: “True ‘gentlemen’ of football are too few and far between. But Sir Bobby exemplified not only magnificent skill but also how to play the game with love, courtesy and a genuine desire to help others to be the same. R.I.P. Sir Bobby and thank you for not only 1966 but also for a lifetime of devotion to our game, which is not as ‘beautiful’ as it was when you were playing.”
‘I was lucky enough to see Sir Bobby score a massive long range goal’
P Morgan: “I was lucky enough to see Sir Bobby score a massive long range goal against Chelsea 1968/69 season. At least 30 yards, quick look up between two defenders, then wham.. Bonetti got his fingertips to it but fell backwards. Sir Bobby in later years said it was his favourite goal. No TV that day, no video or photo as far as I know. RIP great man.”
‘An inspiration to millions of kids around the globe’
Darryl Haddaway: “RIP Sir Bobby, you were an inspiration to millions of kids around the globe . The finest English player ever. I only saw you play once and the excitement in the ground when you got the ball was palpable.”
‘The memory of seeing England’s greatest ever player is to this day a very warm memory’
Michael Prior: “As an American who came to England as a graduate student in the early 70’s and living in York I made a special effort to go to a match at Huddersfield in Bobby Charlton’s final playing year as player/manager for Preston North End. It was a cold, rainy miserable nil-nil draw that soaked me frozen to the skin.
“But the memory of seeing England’s greatest ever player still showing his skills in his last season is to this day a very warm memory.”
‘Remembered as both an excellent football player and an excellent human being’
David Halliday: “A legend of a man who will always be remembered as both an excellent football player and an excellent human being! RIP Sir Bobby”
‘Sir Bobby Charlton always looked classy and he would have been equally good playing today.’
Tony Birtwistle: “Sometimes when you see older footballers you know how good they would be in the modern game. Bobby Charlton always just looked classy and he would have been equally good playing today. His 49 goals for England is an unbelievable number. RIP Bobby, a life well lived.”
‘As a kid I was mad about Manchester United and Bobby Charlton’
Denver Mawhinney: “When I was a kid I was mad about Man Utd and Bobby Charlton, Dennis Law and George Best were my heroes. As I got older I changed my allegiance to Arsenal, but I still consider that we have lost not just an incredible footballer but also an I credible human being. Goodnight Sir Bobby.”
‘You were the singular reason why I have supported Manchester United ever since 1966’
John Wilkes: “Thank you Sir Bobby Charlton for all my childhood memories, as a ten year old, of 1966. You were the singular reason why I have supported Man Utd ever since.
Unerring and so powerful, shooting with either left or right foot. I spent hours and hours in the back garden trying to emulate you. Thank you again, from the ten-year-old me.”
‘In time we have the memories and they will endure’
Nigel Smith: “My father was a United fan all his life; he died on Tuesday aged 92, following his own battle with dementia. As a child in 1968, I was allowed to stay up with my brother to watch the European Cup Final.
“One of my abiding memories of my father is him celebrating wildly as the goals went in including the two from Bobby Charlton. The tears as he and my mother spoke of the Munich air crash as the players celebrated. I was lucky to be taken by my father to see him play. A marvellous two footed player with such a tremendous shot. I am numb from the loss of my father and can well understand his family’s loss at this time. My condolences to them.
“In time we have the memories and they will endure.”
‘I will never forget being at Stamford Bridge in April 1973 when Sir Bobby played his last ever professional football match’
Hercule Smith: “I will never forget being at Stamford Bridge in April 1973 when Sir Bobby played his last ever professional football match. It was almost irrelevant that Chelsea beat Man Utd 1-0; there was only one thing that mattered that day.
“When he left the pitch the Chelsea Shed end gave him the loudest standing ovation I ever heard then give to anybody, even Peter Osgood! And richly deserved it was too. What a legend and what a professional – everybody in that stadium knew it was the end of something very special. RIP.
‘We will not see the likes of him again.’
Jane Jinks: “An incredibly sad day for football. Sir Bobby Charlton was truly one of the greatest footballers to grace the pitch. I consider myself incredibly fortunate, to be of an age, that can say that I attended matches and saw Charlton, Best, Law and the incredible team that won the European Cup in 1968.
“Bobby was a true professional, a gentleman and we will not see the likes of him again. Thank you Bobby and may you rest in peace.”
‘He was my childhood hero’
Roy Gardiner: “As for millions of others he was my childhood hero. They seemed to be “the right stuff”. They still seem so to me. Thanks for the great memories, Sir Bobby. Better people in a better time.”