Bryan Robson recalls touching Sir Bobby Charlton moment at icon’s funeral

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    More than a few tears will be shared as the football world honours Sir Bobby Charlton, not least because of Bryan Robson's emotional tribute.

    The Red Devils ambassador was in attendance for Monday's funeral, along with many other major names from the football world and beyond. But it was shortly prior to the ceremony that club icon Robson gave a touching account of Charlton's first words to him after signing for United:

    "It's really important that you have icons like him heading up the front of the club," the 66-year-old told Sky News when asked how important Charlton was to him personally. "When I first came to Manchester United [as a] record signing, he was the first person to come up and say, 'Look, enjoy it. It's a great club, Bryan, just enjoy your time here.'"

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    Those words appear all the more poignant after 1966 World Cup-winner Charlton died last month at the age of 86. And Robson is far from the first to praise Charlton for his knack in making an impact both professionally and personally.

    The 90-cap former England international went on to underline his affection for Charlton, who scored 249 goals in 758 appearances for United. Former Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson, England manager Gareth Southgate and a litany of club stars from down the decades also showed up to honour the man.

    "It's a sad day for football, for Manchester United, and the family," Robson continued. "But Sir Bobby, he was a great player [to have] won the World Cup, the European Champions League, and then have the career that he had.

    "He was not just a fantastic player; he was a great person. [He] had time for everybody and did a lot of charity work."

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    Prince William also appeared at Manchester Cathedral to attend Monday's service, having previously referred to Charlton as "a true great who will be remembered forever." Thousands of fans lined the streets to pay their respects as a hearse carried Charlton's body through parts of the city, past Old Trafford and then to the funeral venue.

    Steve Bruce – who spent seven years as a team-mate to Robson at the Theatre of Dreams – was also in attendance and described Charlton as 'arguably the greatest English footballer' of all time. Echoing Robson's unilateral praise of Chalrton as a person, Bruce added the club icon was 'class as a man, too'.

    • Manchester United FC
    • Premier League

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