Manchester City apologise to Sir Bobby Charlton’s family after fans mock legend’s death

23 October 2023, 12:38 | Updated: 23 October 2023, 13:14

Manchester City formally apologised to the family of Sir Bobby Charlton after fans were recorded singing offensive chants.
Manchester City formally apologised to the family of Sir Bobby Charlton after fans were recorded singing offensive chants. Picture: TikTok/Alamy

By Ana Truesdale

Manchester City have apologised to the family of football legend Sir Bobby Charlton after fans were recorded singing offensive chants at the Etihad Stadium.

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"A small number” of fans were recorded singing offensive chants about the football legend. He died on Saturday aged 86.

The fans sang the chant at Etihad Stadium after their team’s 2-1 win over Brighton. Dressed in ‘Man City’ merchandise, they chanted “Bobby’s in a box.”

Manchester City fans took to social media to brand the video “disgraceful”, with many saying they were “disgusted” by the actions of the other fans.

The club released a statement in response to the incident: “Manchester City FC are extremely disappointed to have learned of reports of offensive chanting from a small number of individuals about Sir Bobby Charlton in some of the concourses of the Etihad Stadium during half time of yesterday's Premier League fixture against Brighton and Hove Albion.

"The club condemns these chants in the strongest terms, and apologises unreservedly to the family and friends of Sir Bobby, and to all those at Manchester United.

Fans were recorded singing the offensive chants at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Fans were recorded singing the offensive chants at Etihad Stadium on Saturday. Picture: Tiktok

"On this day of all days, when the stadium stood to pay tribute to our own legend in Francis Lee, Manchester City supporters should understand and appreciate as keenly as anyone the need for respect in our game.

"Our security team are studying CCTV footage of the concourse areas."

The football club has promised to issue banning orders to the fans singing the chant.

David Bernstein reacts to offensive chants about Sir Bobby Charlton

In a statement, Manchester City said: "We are thankful to those who have already come forward to report this matter, and we continue to appeal for any information that can help us identify the individuals involved, so that we can take the appropriate action to issue banning orders.

"Fans who see or hear abusive behaviour are encouraged to text 0770 0151 894 to make our dedicated security team aware of what they have witnessed."

After Sir Bobby’s death, there has been an outpouring of tributes from fans and footballers alike.

Fans laid tributes to Sir Bobby Charlton at Old Trafford.
Fans laid tributes to Sir Bobby Charlton at Old Trafford. Picture: Alamy

Read more: 'Bobby and Jack were everybody's heroes': Last remaining Charlton brother pays tribute after England legend's death

Read more: 'A national hero’: David Beckham and Gary Neville lead tributes to Sir Bobby Charlton after his death aged 86

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will make a tribute to Sir Bobby when his team play against Manchester United on Sunday.

He said: "These types of players and personalities represent English football like no-one else can do it.

"Condolences from us for his family especially. Next week when we go there (Old Trafford), we will be present to make a tribute.

"I love this country for many things but one of the things is how they take care of the legends.

"They are part of the club and they travel. Sir Bobby Charlton represented United and English football unlike anyone else."

Sir Bobby at an unveiling in 2016 at an Old Trafford stand renamed in his honour
Sir Bobby at an unveiling in 2016 at an Old Trafford stand renamed in his honour. Picture: Getty

Manchester United are planning their own tribute tomorrow evening before their Champion League match against Copenhagen.

They 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.

Sir Bobby (furthest right) and the England team celebrate beating West Germany at the World Cup Final in 1966.
Sir Bobby (furthest right) and the England team celebrate beating West Germany at the World Cup Final in 1966. Picture: Getty

"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."

During his 17-year career at Manchester United, Sir Bobby played 758 games and scored 249 goals. His records were surpassed only by Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney.

In 1966, he won the Ballon d’Or, the same year he played for the England team that won the FIFA World Cup.

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