Soccer fans flock to Old Trafford to pay tribute to Bobby Charlton following his death at age 86

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Old Trafford was a scene of mourning and commemoration Sunday as soccer fans of Manchester United and other teams flocked to the storied stadium to pay tribute to Bobby Charlton following his death at the age of 86.

Charlton died Saturday surrounded by his family, sparking an influx of tributes from around the world — and from people inside and outside soccer — for someone United described as a “hero to millions.”

Soccer fans laid flowers and scarves outside Old Trafford and left messages as a tribute to Charlton. One of the messages, from fan group The 1958, said: “History, dignity and integrity is what you gave to our great club. Our promise to you is to make sure it stays.”

A wreath was laid at the base of the statue of Charlton, George Best and Denis Law — the so-called “Trinity” of former United players — in the forecourt of the stadium.

A book of condolence was opened on Sunday morning in a suite at Old Trafford and will remain open until Friday. A digital version has also been created.

Charlton, an attacking midfielder with a ferocious shot, was the leading scorer for both United (249 goals) and England (49 goals) for more than 40 years until being overtaken by Wayne Rooney.

Charlton survived the 1958 Munich plane crash that killed 21 people, including eight members of the celebrated “Busby Babes” team, and helped United win the European Cup 10 years later.

He was also a member of England’s World Cup-winning team in 1966.


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