Thousands of mourners line the streets ahead of the funeral of legendary World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton.

Ahead of his funeral this afternoon, Sir Bobby Charlton’s only sibling paid tribute to the 1966 hero, declaring: 'He was an icon to me, but he was my big brother.’

Tommy Charlton, 77, believes the Manchester United and England midfielder has been reunited with his older sibling Jack Charlton in heaven.

Today Manchester will say goodbye to Sir Bobby, who died last month after collapsing in a care home after suffering from dementia.

The miner’s son from Northumberland became a global icon after winning the World Cup, European Cup, three English league titles and the FA Cup and the Ballon d’Or – one of only six England players to do so. His achievements are most notable because he almost died in the Munich air disaster in 1958.

Thousands will line the streets ahead of a memorial service at Manchester Cathedral this afternoon, where sporting greats and his loved ones will gather. The funeral procession to the cathedral will pass through his beloved Old Trafford.

Tommy Charlton told the BBC: 'He was my big brother. My fond memories when he was my brother. You’ll meet him at the game, and Bob will straighten your tie, make sure your jacket fits, and tell you that you should be wearing a different color shirt. It was a brother and I loved it.

A service celebrating the life of Sir Bobby Charlton is being held at Manchester Cathedral today.

Bobby Charlton (R) celebrates England’s 1966 World Cup victory. Left to right: Jack Charlton, Nobby Stiles, Gordon Banks (back), Alan Ball, Martin Peters, Jeff Hurst, Bobby Moore, Ray Wilson, George Cohen and Bobby Charlton
Sir Bobby and his brother Jack – who died three years ago – embraced after the England v West Germany game in 1985. The brothers had a bitter feud, but reconciled later in life.
Sir Bobby Charlton pictured with his wife Norma at an event in Germany in September 2014

Sir Bobby is survived by his wife Lady Norma, their two daughters Suzanne and Andrea and grandchildren.

Born in Ashington on October 11, 1937, the footballer is widely regarded as one of England’s greatest ever players, scoring 49 goals in 106 appearances and playing a key role in the 1966 World Cup triumph.

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The son of a miner, he joined United as a schoolboy and was part of the iconic Busby Babes team.

He survived the Munich air disaster when the plane taking them to Manchester crashed, killing 23 people, including 8 soldiers and three staff.

A decade later, he was part of the great United team that won the European Cup in 1968.

Manchester United said today’s service would provide a 'moment of reflection’ and give fans the chance to 'say a final farewell to a true Manchester United legend’.

In a statement released after his death last month, Prince William said Sir Bobby was 'a truly great man who will be remembered forever’.

The FA chairman added: 'Sir Bobby Charlton. First division champion. European champion. World champion. Virtuous. Purana. A true great who will be remembered forever. Thank you Bobby sir. W.’

Manchester United have invited representatives from every Premier League club to attend Sir Bobby Charlton’s funeral.

The club and England legend died last month aged 86 and a service to celebrate his life will be held at Manchester Cathedral on Monday.

Mail Sport understands United have contacted each of their top rivals with an invitation to what promises to be an emotional event.

Each is expected to send a senior official to pay their respects to World Cup winner Sir Bobby.

Sir Bobby Charlton representing his country against Wales in April 1970
A tribute to the late Sir Bobby Charlton near his statue outside Old Trafford
Bobby Charlton with his wife Norma and two daughters Suzanne and Andrea in the garden of their home in the 1960s

The procession will then be taken from the grounds to the cathedral in the city centre.

Every living United captain has been invited to the service, which will not be broadcast. Around 1,000 people are expected to attend, including players from the United era including the Class of 92. Other legends from different sports like Sir Ian Botham are also expected.

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There will be many tributes from family members, those who worked with Sir Bobby at United and current staff.

Since news of Sir Bobby’s death was announced in the early hours of October 21, tens of thousands have signed a book of condolences.

A minute’s applause was held at the Manchester derby the following day, while Sir Alex Ferguson delivered a 1,000-word eulogy on the match programme.

Sir Bobby accidentally fell to his death at a care home where he was battling dementia, an inquest heard earlier this month.

Cheshire Coroner’s Court heard the 1966 World Cup winner lost his balance after standing up from his chair and hit the window and 'could have been a radiator’.

At the time staff checked the entire body and noted there were no visible injuries, and initially the 86-year-old’s mobility appeared to be unaffected.

A minute’s applause was held at the Manchester derby at Old Trafford the day after his death.

But then they noticed swelling in his back and paramedics were called to The Willows in Knutsford, Cheshire, where he has been receiving respite care since July.

Sir Bobby was taken to hospital before being transferred to Macclesfield General Hospital.

A chest X-ray and CT scan revealed that he had broken ribs and possible pneumonia.

The doctors agreed that he should be given final treatment at the hospital. He died at the age of 86 on October 21, five days after his fall.

As a result of living with dementia, Sir Bobby is said to be unsteady on his feet, particularly when standing from a sitting position.

The inquest at Warrington heard Sir Bobby had an extensive medical history that included appendectomy, gout, urinary infections and chest infections.

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On investigation, it was revealed that he was also infected with Covid in September.

Tamara Simmons, manager of the care home, said Sir Bobby 'requires support in all aspects of daily living’.

Ms Simmons said her bed was as close to the floor as possible and her restlessness was fitted with crash mats and motion sensors that would cause her to roll off the bed.

Senior Coroner for Cheshire Jacqueline Devonish ruled Sir Bobby’s death accidental, citing shock to the lungs, a fall and dementia as the cause of death.

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