By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner has spoken poignantly after the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton last Saturday.
Skinner – a relative of the family – will be in the home dugout on Saturday when Ashington take on Pontefract Collieries and it is sure to be an emotional afternoon.
Before kick off a minutes applause will be held and the club have asked supporters to wear something red as they will be dedicating the game to the memory of Sir Bobby.
Red is to symbolise both Manchester United – where Sir Bobby enjoyed 17 years as a player with the club – as well as it being the colour of the shirts which he and the England players wore when they lifted the World Cup final at Wembley Stadium in 1966.
Skinner said: “I got a phone call just before midday from my dad who let me know the sad news that Sir Bobby had passed and we got a couple of hours to get our heads around it as a family. Everybody is fully aware that he was Manchester based but probably the only time I saw him in recent years was at family funerals. You just need to look at the outpouring grief and condolences from all around the world to show what a gent Sir Bobby was and I think Manchester United display a banner in their stadium about him which reads ‘Born in Ashington – Made in Manchester.’
He continued: “Sir Bobby left Ashington as a 15 year old and made a life for himself in Manchester – but he never forgot his roots. In 1989 he brought the Manchester United team to Ashington to help out financially and he did a talk-in at the Comrades club in the town where all of the proceeds went to Ashington Football Club. His passing is a big loss to the family and to the footballing world. I’m sure Sir Bobby will be remembered – he was one of our own.”