RIP Jack Charlton OBE 1935-2020
Jack Charlton, who was a Leeds United, England and Republic of Ireland footballing legend as a player and manager, has sadly passed away aged 85 after a long-term illness. My own life has long been dominated by Formula 1 motor racing, but during my teenage years my sporting passion was to stand on the Kop at Elland Road supporting Leeds when Jack was very much still playing.
Jack Charlton was a true legend for club, country and beyond (photo: Leeds United)
The older brother of Sir Bobby Charlton, Jack spent his whole playing career as a loyal servant of the club, making a record 773 appearances across a 23 year period and scoring 96 goals. He liked to joke that his sibling was the one who could play the game, whereas he was simply good at stopping others doing so, but such modesty belied his true talents.
Affectionately known as “Big Jack”, he was a key member of the Leeds squad which won the 1968 League Cup, the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1968 and again in 1971, the First Division Championship in the 1968/69 season, the Charity Shield in 1969 and the FA Cup in 1972.
His England debut didn’t come until 1965 when he was almost 30, but he and his brother will forever be remembered as influential members of the World Cup winning team a year later. He went on to earn a total of 35 caps for his country, popping in six goals along the way.
His playing career ended in 1973, but his love of the game meant he went to manage at Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle United and then the Republic of Ireland, taking the latter to the last eight of the World Cup in 1990.
A husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, he will be very much missed by so many both within and well beyond his own family.