Manchester United has announced it will honour Sir Bobby Charlton by naming Old Trafford’s South Stand which contains the only original part of the 1910 stadium infrastructure, after the England World Cup winner.
Sir Bobby Charlton is one of Manchester United and England’s greatest players ever. This honor is coming 60 years on from his debut for the club.
The unveiling of the new name will take place at the home game against Everton on 2 April 2016 which will be attended by key figures from Sir Bobby’s life, 75,000 fans and the world of football.
78-year-old Charlton, now a United director at old Trafford, joined the club as an apprentice in 1953 and made his debut in October 1956. The 1966 World Cup winner and Ballon d’Or made 758 appearances for the club, scoring a record 249 goals.
Until recently, Sir Bobby also held the honour of having scored the most goals for England, with 49 in his 106 appearances, until United captain Wayne Rooney broke the record against Switzerland in September 2015.
Charlton won three league titles, an FA Cup and the club’s first European Cup in 1968. He was also a member of England’s 1966 World Cup winning squad, scoring three times in the tournament as the Three Lions went on to beat West Germany in the final at Wembley.
The former attacking midfielder was also one of the survivors of the Munich Air Disaster which claimed the lives of eight of his team-mates in 1958.
“This is a great honour and I am very proud – for myself and my family – that the club has chosen to name the South Stand after me,” Charlton told United’s official website.
“Manchester United has been such an important part of my life and I have so many wonderful memories of this Theatre of Dreams.”
“As a player, I remember the goals and the marvelous players I played with. As a director, I have seen some outstanding matches and players. It is a special place indeed.”
“I would like to thank everyone connected with Manchester United. So many people work so hard to keep us at the top; their effort should never be forgotten.”
“But most of all, I would like to thank Norma, my wonderful wife, and my family for the support and encouragement they have always provided. This is for them.”
United’s Executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, added: “Bobby is, quite simply, the most iconic figure in English football history.”
“A player, a diplomat, a gentleman and a tireless worker for charity, he represents everything that is good about football and Manchester United.”
“It has been a privilege to know him and humbling to work alongside him for the last 10 years.”
“Renaming the South Stand, which contains both the Directors’ Box and the old players’ changing rooms, is a fitting tribute to all that Bobby has contributed to the club both as a player and a director.”
In 2011, the North Stand was named after the Manchester United most successful manager Alex Ferguson to mark his 25 years in charge.
A statue of the ‘United Trinity’ which consists of Charlton, George Best and Denis Law, the players who helped United become the first English club to win the European Cup in 1968 already stands outside Old Trafford.