Sir Bobby Charlton, former Manchester United footballer and World Cup winner, dies aged 86 – latest reaction

Sir Bobby Charlton in 1968 a few months after Manchester United won the European Cup – Getty Images/Popperfoto

Sir Bobby Charlton, one of Britain’s most gifted footballers who helped England win the 1966 World Cup, has died.
Widely considered as one of the greatest players of all time, he has died at the age of 86.

The attacking-midfielder, central-midfielder and left-winger played much of his career with Manchester United, having survived the Munich Air Disaster when he was only 20 years old.

He played 758 games and scored 249 goals – setting long standing records – for the team.

Follow latest reaction and tributes below and offer your favourite Sir Bobby Charlton memories in the comments.

04:42 PM BST

Tom Charlton on Bobby and Jack

04:41 PM BST

How Charlton’s Manchester United career started

By Steve Bird

Sir Bobby, nephew of the Newcastle United striker Jackie Milburn, joined Matt Busby’s Manchester United as a schoolboy in 1953 and turned professional with the club in October 1954.

He was in the team that won the FA Youth Cup in 1954, 1955 and 1956. But, his first-team debut for Manchester came on October 6, 1956, against Charlton Athletic at Old Trafford.

He scored twice in the Reds’ 4-2 league victory, despite suffering a serious injury.

He later recalled how the then manager asked if he was in pain.

“Mr Busby asked me if I was okay,” recalled Sir Bobby. “I actually had a sprained ankle, but I wasn’t going to admit to it and I crossed my fingers and said ‘yes’.”

Bobby Charlton of Manchester United at 1959

In 1958, Charlton scored twice in United’s 3-3 draw against Red Star Belgrade as Busby’s Babes secured a place in the semi-finals of the European Cup.

However, the aeroplane taking the squad home crashed in Munich after refuelling. Twenty-three people, including eight of his team-mates, perished. Charlton was among the survivors.

Despite minor injuries he returned to match fitness within a month, eventually helping United reach the FA Cup final.

04:37 PM BST

Charlton with the Jules Rimet trophy after the 1966 World Cup final

The greatest day in the history of the English men’s national team, and they are still waiting for a major trophy 57 years on.

Bobby Charlton raises the Jules Rimet trophy in the air following England's 4-2 victory

04:33 PM BST

Our readers’ tributes

04:32 PM BST

How triumph and tragedy forged Sir Bobby Charlton

This Jim White piece explores on how Charlton became English football’s great gentleman, having survived the 1958 Munich Air Disaster.

For United Charlton, the noble, dignified, exemplar of fair play, was more than just verbal shorthand. He was a living embodiment of everything the club believed they represented. His story was inextricably linked with the story of the club. A tale of redemption, recovery and ultimate triumph over tragedy, this was a narrative as romantic as any in the game. And the way he represented it – invariably with dignity, humility and understatement – served to underpin and reinforce its meaning.

04:27 PM BST

A statement from the Football League

The EFL is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton. One of the greatest players in English football history, Sir Bobby was an absolute great on and off the pitch. A hugely sad day for the world of football.

04:25 PM BST

Telegraph Sport’s Jamie Carragher pays tribute

04:21 PM BST

Discussions taking place about a tribute at Sheffield United vs Manchester United tonight

By Ben Rumsby

Telegraph Sport has been told talks are taking place about paying tribute to Charlton at United’s Premier League game at Sheffield United tonight. Discussions are complicated by the fact a minute’s silence and black armbands were already planned as a mark of respect for all those affected by the ongoing crisis in Israel and Gaza.

A tribute will also be paid at the tea-time kick-off between Chelsea and Arsenal. An address to the crowd will be made at half-time of the game, with a picture of Charlton shown on Stamford Bridge’s big screen.

The image of former Manchester United and England player Sir Bobby Charlton
Sir Bobby Charlton show on the big screen at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium today – PA/Will Matthews

04:18 PM BST

Charlton’s former team-mate Sir Geoff Hurst pays tribute

Hurst is the one surviving member of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team.

04:17 PM BST

One of the great England goals

Charlton’s powerful strike from distance against Portugal in the 1966 World Cup semi-final.

04:13 PM BST

Charlton the only Englishman to win the World Cup, European Cup and Ballon d’Or

04:10 PM BST

Gary Neville on Man Utd’s ‘greatest ambassador’

04:10 PM BST

Gary Lineker pays tribute

04:07 PM BST

Arsenal’s statement

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton. Our thoughts are with Sir Bobby’s family, friends and everyone connected with Manchester United at this time. May he rest in peace.

04:04 PM BST

Premier League have released a statement

04:02 PM BST

Sir Bobby Charlton dies aged 86

Former Manchester United football and 1966 World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton has died aged 86.

A statement from the Charlton family said: “It is with great sadness that we share the news that Sir Bobby passed peacefully in the early hours of Saturday morning. He was surrounded by his family. His family would like to pass on their thanks to everyone who has contributed to his care and for the many people who have loved and supported him. We would request that the family’s privacy be respected at this time.”

In a statement the club said: “Manchester United are in mourning following the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the greatest and most beloved players in the history of our club. Sir Bobby was a hero to millions, not just in Manchester, or the United Kingdom, but wherever football is played around the world. He was admired as much for his sportsmanship and integrity as he was for his outstanding qualities as a footballer; Sir Bobby will always be remembered as a giant of the game.

“A graduate of our youth Academy, Sir Bobby played 758 games and scored 249 goals during 17 years as a Manchester United player, winning the European Cup, three league titles and the FA Cup. For England, he won 106 caps and scored 49 goals for England, and won the 1966 World Cup. Following his retirement, he went on to serve the club with distinction as a director for 39 years.

“His unparalleled record of achievement, character and service will be forever etched in the history of Manchester United and English football; and his legacy will live on through the life-changing work of the Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation. The club’s heartfelt sympathies are with his wife Lady Norma, his daughters and grandchildren, and all who loved him.”

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