1966 World Cup Winner and Leeds United legend, Jack Charlton died on Friday 10 July at the age of 85.
Charlton enjoyed an extraordinary playing career for Leeds United, appearing a record breaking 773 times in 21 years.
Charlton went onto forge a successful managerial career and become an Irish hero by transforming Ireland’s national team.
Despite coming into the England squad late at the age of 29 Charlton appeared 35 times, playing alongside his younger brother Bobby Charlton.
The popular player, often know as “Big Jack” was part of the 1966 World Cup – winning England team.
Speaking in tribute fellow 1966 World Cup winner Geoff Hurst said: “Another sad day for football. Jack was the type of player and person you need in a team to win a World Cup”.
Charlton, a centre half, scored 96 goals for Leeds making him the club’s ninth all time highest scorer. One club man Charlton played solely for Leeds, he helped the club secure promotion from the Second Division in 1956 and 1964. In their successful glory days Charlton won the First Division with Leeds in 1969.
Asserting themselves as power houses this Leeds side also won the FA Cup in 1972, the League Cup in 1968 and two Inter – Cities Fairs Cups in 1968 and 1971. Charlton was awarded Footballer of the Year in 1967.
Enriching football with his humorous, honest and outspoken nature Charlton announced his retirement in 1973.
The highlight of his club managerial career was when he won promotion to the First Division with Middlesbrough in 1974. The Boro stormed to the title with a record 15-point margin and the club went onto to spend a decade in the top flight. In the stunning campaign Middleborough achieved their highest ever points total at 65, their longest unbeaten run of 24 games and their best defensive record of just 30 goals against.
In his tribute Charlton’s champion Stuart Boam said: For me, Jack Charlton put Middleborough on the map, no doubt about it”
For his achievements, he has to be a Boro legend because he took the club from nowhere to the top” said Boam.
In 1974 Charlton won the Manager of the Year award after his first season as manager.
Charlton guided Sheffield Wednesday to promotion from the Third Division in 1980. In an iconic tie the Owls took First Division Arsenal to a five game marathon in the FA Cup in 1978/79 signalling that Wednesday were on the up.
Charlton also enjoyed a spell in charge of Newcastle United.
Charlton’s managerial career reached its climax when he was announced as Republic of Irelands first foreign manager in 1986 and got them to three major tournaments. He led Republic of Ireland to their first major tournament at the 1988 Euros.
World Cup winner with England Charlton plotted their downfall in an epic win for the Republic of Ireland as they beat England 1-0. Two years later Ireland qualified for the World Cup for the first time.
In their 1990 World Cup campaign Charlton famously reached the quarter- finals with the Irish after beating Romania on penalties in the last 16.
One of the most memorable moments in Charlton’s tenure occurred in the 1994 World Cup when Ireland beat Italy 1-0 in New Jersey, Italy went on to reach the final.
Charlton won the hearts of the Irish Republic and was awarded an honorary Irish citizenship.
Irish Prime Minister Michael Martine tweeted: “He personified a golden era in Irish football- the Italia 90 campaign being one of pure joy for the nation’ He gave us magical memories. Thank you Jack.”
Football great Jack Charlton will be sorely missed and his legacy will live on through his impact on football.
Featured Image Credit – Leeds United