Harry Redknapp calls Sir Bobby Charlton ‘England’s greatest ever player’ as mourners say goodbye to legend

13 November 2023, 19:06 | Updated: 13 November 2023, 19:23

Mourners gather for Sir Bobby Charlton's funeral

By Charlotte Frawley

Harry Redknapp has lauded Sir Bobby Charlton as "England’s greatest ever player" as he recounted praying for the Manchester United legend and other Munich Air Disaster victims as a schoolchild.

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The former Tottenham Hotspur and Portsmouth manager called Charlton an “iconic” footballer who “never had aggravation or badmouthed anybody”.

Speaking to LBC’s Andrew Marr this evening, Redknapp, 76, said: “The first time I ever saw Bobby Charlton was when I was ten years of age and my dad took me to watch Arsenal play Man United at Highbury."

The 1958 match in North London was the last game in England for the ‘Busby Babes’ before the tragedy of the Munich Air Disaster that led to the death of 23 players, staff, journalists, and crew.

“I remember being at school and every day we said prayers for the players. Everybody in the country was in mourning at the time,” Redknapp continued.

“Bobby luckily survived and went on to become not only Man United’s greatest ever player, but England’s greatest ever player.”

Redknapp reminisced about playing against Charlton’s Manchester United side while he was at West Ham.

“He was just a fantastic footballer. He just played the game and was skillful. He never had aggravation or badmouthed anybody, or kicked anybody. He was just and incredibly talented footballer who glided over the turf and could hit shots from 30 yards like you’ve never seen.”

Read More: What we should all learn from Sir Bobby Charlton: Celebrating the enduring legacy of a footballing legend

Harry Redknapp before the Soccer Aid for UNICEF match at The London Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday June 12, 2022.
Harry Redknapp before the Soccer Aid for UNICEF match at The London Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday June 12, 2022. Picture: Alamy
England Team With World Cup. Bobby Charlton, England
England Team With World Cup. Bobby Charlton, England. Picture: Alamy

It comes after football giants including Sir Alex Ferguson joined Prince William in saying goodbye to Sir Bobby as the Manchester United legend was laid to rest on Monday.

Up to 1,000 mourners arrived to pay their respects at Manchester Cathedral as Old Trafford was draped with tributes to the World Cup-winning ex-England star.

Gareth Southgate, the national team boss, and a host of Man Utd icons including Roy Keane and Steve Bruce arrived alongside current players like Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw.

William, who is also president of the Football Association, joined them.

Thousands lined the streets of the city to honour one of England's greatest ever players.

Read more: Sir Bobby Charlton died after accidental fall at care home where he was battling dementia, inquest hears

Charlton's imaged was draped at Old Trafford
Charlton's imaged was draped at Old Trafford. Picture: Alamy
Charlton's cortege passed Old Trafford en route to Manchester Cathedral
Charlton's cortege passed Old Trafford en route to Manchester Cathedral. Picture: Alamy
Charlton is considered one of England's greatest ever footballers
Charlton is considered one of England's greatest ever footballers. Picture: Alamy

Charlton, who died last month, won 106 caps for his country and scored 49 goals.

His crowning achievement was the 1966 World Cup, when he won England's first and only title at Wembley alongside other greats like Bobby Moore.

He made more than 600 appearances for Man Utd, in which he won the league, the European Cup and the FA Cup.

Read more: What we should all learn from Sir Bobby Charlton: Celebrating the enduring legacy of a footballing legend

Sir Alex Ferguson led mourners at Bobby Charlton's funeral
Sir Alex Ferguson led mourners at Bobby Charlton's funeral. Picture: Alamy
England boss Gareth Southgate was in attendance
England boss Gareth Southgate was in attendance. Picture: Alamy
Prince William joined mourners
Prince William joined mourners. Picture: Alamy

Charlton's funeral cortege passed Old Trafford en route to the cathedral, where his relatives and Man Utd representatives were due to give eulogies.

In a statement, his club said he was "one of the finest footballers this country has ever produced".

He died on October 21 after an accidental fall at his Knutsford care home just 10 days after his 86th birthday.

Relatives asked for donations to Children's Adventure Farm Trust, Alzheimer's Society, Alzheimer's UK or the Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation instead of flowers.

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