THOUSANDS of mourners will line the streets today to say farewell to England legend Sir Bobby Charlton.
The world champion died last month aged 86 as a result of a fall in a nursing home where he was in the midst of battling dementia.
Fans and members of the public were invited to play their part in celebrating the football icon’s life at a private memorial service at Manchester Cathedral today.
Thousands are expected to line the streets as the funeral procession arrives at Old Trafford.
Sir Bobby will be celebrated alongside his former team-mates Denis Law and George Best at the United Trinity statue at around 1.30pm.
The squad will then pass a guard of honor made up of members of the club’s youth teams and the statue before making their way to the cathedral via the A56, Trinity Way, Chapel Street and Victoria Bridge.
Sir Alex Ferguson, members of the club’s 1968 European Cup-winning team and former and current players are expected to attend the service.
But United coach Erik Ten Hag will not attend the ceremony due to an “unbreakable and long-standing personal commitment to Holland”.
The memorial service is scheduled to begin at 2pm and will be led by Canon Nigel Ashworth.
The ceremony, which will not be filmed or broadcast, will include eulogies and tributes from former United boss David Gill, as well as a personal tribute from Sir Bobby’s family.
Anthems include ‘Abide With Me’, traditionally sung before the FA Cup final in Jerusalem, and a rendition of ‘How Great Thou Art’ by opera singer Russell Watson.
A club statement said: “Up to 1,000 guests are expected to come to the cathedral to pay their respects to Sir Bobby and celebrate his incredible life as a husband, father, grandfather and of course one of this country’s greatest footballers. “ has ever produced.
“The Charlton family and Manchester United would like to thank everyone for the love and respect towards Sir Bobby.”
Sir Bobby’s family have asked for donations in lieu of flowers to a number of charities close to Charlton’s heart – the Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation, the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust, the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s UK.
The midfielder made 758 appearances and scored 249 goals for the Red Devils in his illustrious 17-year playing career.
He survived the 1958 Munich air disaster, which killed eight of his Busby Babes colleagues, and won the 1966 World Cup with England alongside his older brother Jack.
His illustrious career also included winning the European Cup with United two years later.
Charlton returned to the club as director in 1984 and served as a much-admired ambassador for it and football in general until his final years.
His importance in the game was reflected in the tributes that poured in after news of his death was announced.
Sir Alex described it as a “tower of strength” during his 26 years in charge.
In a eulogy published on the matchday show ahead of the derby against Manchester City, he wrote: “It is no surprise to me that we have seen tributes to Sir Bobby from all over the world, on every television channel and in every newspaper, because…” he was without question the greatest English player of all time.
“People loved him for all those lightning goals, but it was more than that. My father used to say that humility in success is a sign of greatness, and that was Bobby.”
“He never bragged about his own achievements, it was always about the team and the club.”