United rename stand in honour of club great Charlton

 03 Apr 2016 - 18:35

United rename stand in honour of club great Charlton
A picture shows the newly renamed Sir Bobby Charlton Stand during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on April 3, 2016. AFP / OLI SCARFF

London: Manchester United have renamed the south stand at Old Trafford in honour of club great Bobby Charlton.

A key member of the England team that won the 1966 World Cup, Charlton scored a club record 249 goals in 758 appearances for United from 1956 to 1973.

The newly renamed stand was unveiled before United's Premier League match at home to Everton on Sunday.

Charlton, 78, appeared visibly moved as he received a huge ovation from fans when he took the field alongside his wife as the sign above the stand bearing the words the 'Sir Bobby Charlton Stand' in big red letters was revealed to the crowd. 

Widely regarded as one of world football's best attacking midfielders, Charlton helped United win three domestic league titles, the FA Cup and the club's first European Cup trophy in 1968.

United's defeat of Portuguese giants Benfica in a final at London's Wembley stadium was especially poignant for Charlton and then manager Matt Busby as they were both among the survivors from the 1958 Munich air disaster that killed 23 people, including eight United players, as they returned from a European tie.

One of the most respected figures in English football, Charlton also served as a United director after his playing days were over.

He was instrumental in United's decision to hire and then retain legendary manager Alex Ferguson, who needed several years to win the first of 28 trophies he eventually brought to Old Trafford. 

"The great attribute of Bobby -- and it's a great example to anybody who has been successful -- is how he has kept his feet on the ground and retained his humility all his life," Ferguson told MUTV, the club's in-house television station.

Sunday's match will also serve to mark the 60th anniversary of Charlton's United debut, which saw him score twice in a 4-2 win over Charlton Athletic.