Roger Hunt funeral: Liverpool legends pay tribute at service

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Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
People lined the streets as Roger Hunt's funeral cortege passed Anfield

Liverpool and England legends led the tributes to Roger Hunt at the funeral of the club's record league goalscorer.

Known as "Sir Roger" to Reds fans, he died at the age of 83 in September.

Hundreds of Liverpool fans gathered at Anfield as the funeral cortege paused outside the ground ahead of a service at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral at 11:00 BST.

Hunt scored 244 goals for the club and the striker was part of England's 1966 World Cup-winning side.

His wife Rowan, children David and Julie, stepchildren Katie and Wayne and extended family were joined by about 400 mourners.

Liverpool legends Roy Evans, Kevin Keegan, Ian Callaghan and Ian Rush also joined senior executives from the club for the hour-long service of celebration.

The coffin, draped in a red Liverpool flag, left the cathedral as the club's anthem You'll Never Walk Alone played before departing for a private ceremony at Anfield Crematorium.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Roger Hunt made 492 appearances for Liverpool

Ex-England manager Keegan said Hunt was part of the "exclusive" club of players who had scored more than 200 league goals for Liverpool.

"He was a World Cup winner in 1966. He was Liverpool's top scorer for eight years. He scored the first goal on Match of the Day. He scored five hat-tricks in a season. I could go on and on," he told the congregation.

Hunt's England World Cup strike partner Sir Geoff Hurst was not present at the service but his eulogy was read by Liverpool's club chaplain Bill Bygroves.

"Roger was a great player, a very special person and a class act who I was privileged to have as my strike partner but - more importantly - my friend," he said.

Comedian and Liverpool fan Jimmy Tarbuck, who was friends with Hunt, also paid tribute at the service.

"To be born a gentleman is an accident, to die one is an achievement," he said.

"Thanks for all the pleasure I got from watching you, it was just a joy. I am honoured to be called a friend of yours."

Media caption,
Roger Hunt: Watch Hunt's three 1966 World Cup goals

Liverpool fan Vince Tolley said he travelled from Southend in Essex to pay tribute to his "idol" Hunt.

"I used to have a Liverpool shirt in those days in the 60s it was just an ordinary red shirt with a white cuff and my mum actually put the number eight on the back for me," he said.

Paying tribute last month, Reds manager Jurgen Klopp said Hunt "comes second to no-one in his importance in the history of Liverpool FC".

"I am told the Kop christened him 'Sir Roger' for all his achievements. A goalscorer who never stopped working to help his team-mates, I believe he would have fitted well within our current team," he said.

At the scene

By BBC North West Tonight reporter Andy Gill at Liverpool Cathedral

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Former Liverpool players Ian Rush and Roy Evans were among the mourners

Scores of Liverpool fans have joined former players and family members at the funeral.

Among those paying tribute at the service was his England World Cup strike partner Sir Geoff Hurst.

In a message, he said: "What a player he was. Up there with Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, Kevin Keegan and Mo Salah."

Comedian and Reds fan Jimmy Tarbuck told me: "He was our Bobby Moore. I loved him."

Ex-Liverpool striker David Johnson said Hunt was his hero when he was growing up, adding: "If I scored it wasn't me scoring, it was Roger."

Former Liverpool player and England manager Kevin Keegan said the striker was one of his two favourite players of all time.

At the start of the funeral Rev Dr Neil Barnes described Hunt as a "national icon".

One fan said although he was never officially knighted, the Kop called him "Sir" Roger Hunt, and that probably meant more to him.

Born in Golborne in Cheshire on 20 July 1938, Hunt signed for Liverpool in 1958 and made his 492nd and final appearance for the club in 1969.

Under legendary manager Bill Shankly he helped the club out of the Second Division in 1962 by scoring 41 goals in as many games.

Liverpool then won the First Division in 1964 and 1966 either side of a first FA Cup win in 1965.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Liverpool anthem You'll Never Walk Alone was played at the service

Hunt also had a successful three seasons with Bolton Wanderers after leaving Anfield in 1969.

The forward won 34 England caps, scoring 18 international goals after making his debut in 1962 when Liverpool were in English football's second tier.

He played in every game of the 1966 World Cup and scored three times to help England out of their group.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The funeral took place at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral

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