When Sir Bobby Charlton made sure young Man Utd fan got tickets to FA Cup final at Wembley

The Old Trafford and England legend has a reputation as a humble great - as this story shows.
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A Manchester United fan has recalled an incredible kind gesture from Sir Bobby Charlton ahead of the legend's funeral on Monday.

Barry Meacham, who grew up in Cheetham, has a special memory of the star dating all the way back to 1963 and United's 3-1 FA Cup final win against Leicester City at Wembley.

Barry, now 76 and living in Cleveleys, near Blackpool, said: "When I was 15 I used to play for Manchester Boys in the morning and watch Manchester United in the afternoon. In those days, you bought a programme and you'd get a token. If you had enough tokens, you were allowed to apply for an FA Cup ticket."

Sir Bobby Charlton, far left, celebrates winning the 1963 FA Cup with Manchester United Sir Bobby Charlton, far left, celebrates winning the 1963 FA Cup with Manchester United
Sir Bobby Charlton, far left, celebrates winning the 1963 FA Cup with Manchester United

Barry, who went on home, away and reserve games, was determined to get a ticket for the Leicester final, but found he was short of the required token number by just one.

Undeterred, two days after the token requirement was announced by the club, he went to watch a reserve match to get another programme and token, taking along an envelope containing all of the others and his application form. But when he went to hand it into the office, he found it was boarded up with a sign saying all tickets had been sold.

Barry with his grandaughter

Barry with his grandaughter
Barry with his grandaughter

What Sir Bobby Charlton did for young Barry

He said: "I don't remember crying, but I was very upset. I was stood there with my envelope in my hand when I saw Bobby Charlton walking towards the players entrance. In those days you were told to be polite, so I went over to him and said 'Mr Charlton, please can I have your autograph?', and turned the envelope over to the blank side.

"He started writing, then asked what the envelope was for. He turned it over and could see it was an application for a ticket. He said: 'Is everything in? The return address and everything in order? I said yes. Then he said to hang on, he'd be five minutes. When he came back he'd got me a signed picture and said he'd put my application on the top of the pile, and that I'd hear in two or three days."

Barry aged 6, the age when he started attending Manchester United games.Barry aged 6, the age when he started attending Manchester United games.
Barry aged 6, the age when he started attending Manchester United games.

Barry added: "I was absolutely gushing, and when I got home I explained to my father, who was a Manchester City fan. He said: ‘You've got about as much chance as pigs can fly, you're stupid’. But then three days later, an envelope came through the door”.

What happened in the 1963 FA Cup final

United won 3–1, with a goal from Denis Law and two from David Herd, lifting the trophy for the third time. Ken Keyworth scored Leicester's goal. Barry travelled down by coach and sat behind the goal where Dennis Law scored.

He said: “It was a great day. In those days it was amazing how well-behaved fans were. I was stood near some Leicester fans who had snuck in our end, and there wasn’t any trouble.”

The life of Manchester United and England great Sir Bobby Charlton will be celebrated in a memorial service at Manchester Cathedral on November 13.

The life of Manchester United and England great Sir Bobby Charlton will be celebrated in a memorial service at Manchester Cathedral on November 13.
The life of Manchester United and England great Sir Bobby Charlton will be celebrated in a memorial service at Manchester Cathedral on November 13.

Sir Bobby Charlton's memorial service

Sir Bobby’s funeral will be held at Manchester Cathedral on Monday, with 1,000 people expected to attend. His funeral cortege will pass Old Trafford on its way to the cathedral, with fans and members of the public invited to pay their respects along the route.

Barry said: "You hear on the TV about the nice things Bobby Charlton did, and it's true, that's the kind of man he was. He did all sorts of things for young people."