Wembley paid an emotional tribute to the late Sir Bobby Charlton ahead of England’s Euro 2024 qualifying clash with Malta on Friday night.
Sir Bobby – who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to ever grace the game – passed away last month at the age of 86 following a battle with dementia.
The gifted footballer was born in Ashington, Northumberland, on October 11 1937 and played an integral role in England‘s 1966 World Cup glory.
He made 758 appearances for Man United while also earning 106 caps for his beloved country and has a stand named after him at Old Trafford.
And, ahead of kick off in London, Wembley honoured Sir Bobby with the matchday programme proudly displaying his face on the front cover, while the corner flags were also black in tribute to the Three Lions great.
Wembley paid an emotional tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton ahead of England’s clash with Malta
Sir Bobby (left) scored 49 goals 106 caps for his country and is England’s third highest scorer
Sir Bobby (right) also played a crucial part in England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team
His face was on the front cover of the matchday programme ahead of Friday night’s clash
The corner flags were also black, which was chosen by the FA as a tribute to Sir Bobby
A 90-second video was then played to the Wembley crowd before the players came out of the tunnel which was a poignant tribute to Sir Bobby.
It displayed plenty of his highlights from his England career, along with him meeting and speaking with Gareth Southgate at St George’s Park in recent years.
A minute’s applause then took place in darkness with a Sir Bobby tifo held up in the stands in a moving tribute as supporters all around the stadium cheered and clapped.
Sir Geoff Hurst – who is the last living member of the 1966 World Cup final victory – then laid Sir Bobby’s England shirt on the pitch alongside FA chair Debbie Hewitt, who placed a wreath down.
The applause continued as Sir Bobby’s name was produly displayed on the screen before the game got underway.
Sir Bobby netted 49 times for his country in 106 appearances and was England’s record goalscorer until he was surpassed by Wayne Rooney in September 2015.
However, he remains third on the all-time list, with no current player even within 20 goals of his astonishing record.
The tributes come after Sir Bobby’s funeral was held on Monday, with a long guestlist of United legends in attendance.
Thousands of supporters also came to Old Trafford – where Sir Bobby is immortalised in a statute – to pay their respects to United’s greatest ever player.
The club paid their own emotional tribute ahead of last month’s Champions League clash against FC Copenhagen with a special pre-match tribute held, which ended with a minutes silence.
This included Erik ten Hag walking out from the tunnel behind a bagpipe player before placing a wreath on the pitch.
He was joined on either side by Alex Stepney, who was a team-mate of Sir Bobby, and youth team captain Dan Gore.
A wreath was also placed on Sir Bobby’s seat within the Director’s Box, while he was remembered on the front cover of the matchday programme.
Players and staff of both sides similarly wore black armbands in memory of the United legend, while Copenhagen supporters could be heard singing ‘One Bobby Charlton’ ahead of kick off, while they also unfurled a banner which read: ‘Rest in peace Sir Bobby Charlton.’
At United’s Premier League game against Man City at Old Trafford a few days later, United again celebrated the life of Sir Bobby with a minute’s applause and expressions of fan remembrance with flags and surfer banners in the stadium.
Meanwhile, United manager Ten Hag and his squad also wrote personal messages in memory of Charlton after his death at their Carrington training ground, which were added to a book of condolence that was opened at Old Trafford.
More than a thousand fans signed the book within a day of his death being announced as supporters flocked to Old Trafford to pay their respects.
United paid tribute to their greatest ever player at games against Copenhagen and Man City
Thousands of fans gathered at Old Trafford to pay one final tribute after his funeral on Monday
Many United legends such as Bryan Robson (left) and Paul Scholes (right) went to the funeral
Speaking ahead of the aforementioned clash with Copenhagen, Ten Hag had paid tribute to Sir Bobby and said United would look to seek inspiration from the club’s Holy Trinity of him, George Best and Denis Law.
‘He (Sir Bobby) is in front of Old Trafford with Denis Law and George Best,’ said Ten Hag.
‘He is always with us. They are always a huge inspiration for us every day and every game.’
‘Bobby was a legend, a giant, not only for Manchester United but for football. So his legacy, the high standards, we have to live every day. What he meant for Manchester United, and the standards he set, they were emphasised in the last couple of days.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Daily Mail