WHEN Manchester United legend Bobby Charlton died last weekend there was an outpouring of love for the footballer who was regarded as one of England’s greatest.

Tributes have poured in throughout the last week after the World Cup, European Cup and Ballon d'Or winner passed away at the age of 86 on Saturday, October 21.

Sir Bobby made 78 FA Cup appearances for Manchester United with one of them being in a 1958 tie against Workington, which saw 21,000 fans descend on the ground for what some regard as the Reds' greatest ever game.

And it’s one Sir Bobby remembered well, according to former Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham who recalled a meeting with the football legend while he was serving in the European Parliament.

Sir Tony said: “I met him in Strasbourg, and he was with Geoff Hurst who scored the hat trick for England when they won the World Cup and they were promoting the idea of England getting a future World Cup.

“What impressed me was he was a lovely bloke and he was a proper gentleman. He had time for you, but his memory... I said to him: 'You played at Workington'.

"He must have played over 700 games for Man United but he said: ‘Yes I remember, I think Workington were leading at half time and Dennis Violett got a hat trick in the second half’.

“It was just amazing that he remembered a game against Workington when he had won the European Cup with Man United, the World Cup with England... but he could remember playing against Workington.

“When you talk about great players you talk about Pele, Maradona, George Best and Bobby Charlton was up there with them.

“What made Bobby Charlton was that he could kick with both feet, there are people playing today who are on £300,000 a week and are one footed. When buying a centre half you're buying a left sided centre half or right sided centre half. When Bobby Charlton was running at you, you didn’t know which way to send him.”

In February 1978, Sir Bobby returned to the pitch at Borough Park aged 40 in a Workington Reds strip for an unforgettable guest appearance in a charity fundraiser against Fort Lauderdale Strikers, which attracted 6,000 to Borough Park.

Club Historian Steve Durham was there on the unforgettable evening. He said: "It was a proud moment for the club obviously. There was a tenuous link with the 1958 game when Manchester United came to town, this was 20 years on.

"What happened was Reds were playing a friendly against an American touring team called Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The reason that came about was that Dave Irving, one of our former players, was playing for them and they were coming to England.

"They were going to play Workington because of his connection to the club. So the directors thought we could spice this up, get a guest player in.

"Lo and behold, they invited Bobby Charlton to come and play for Workington which he did! The match took place on February, 10 1978. Bobby Charlton was playing for the Reds and Gordon Banks, who was an England international with Charlton, Banks was playing for the opposition.

"They had this wonderful match up of two England World Cup winners playing against each other at Borough Park.

"At that time we were getting about 500 people attending our games, but on this cold February evening there was 6,000 turned up. It was quite a response!"