Jack Charlton: in his own words and the stories of others


Charlton had a successful career as a player and manager

Football lost another big one with the death of England’s 1966 winner World Cup winner Jack Charlton and former coach of the Republic of Ireland.

In addition to his field skills, Charlton was known for his outspokenness.

BBC Sport returns to some of the greatest stories of the man affectionately nicknamed “Big Jack”.

Fear of failure

Born in the town of Ashhington, in Northumberland, Jack and his younger brother Bobby knew that football was a way to escape work in the local coal mines.

Jack had been offered a trial with Leeds United at the age of 15, but had briefly joined his father in the pit. He asked to join the police, but Leeds gave him another chance, which he took, and joined the club’s ground staff before obtaining a 17-year contract, before doing his national service with the ‘army.

“When the guys left to play football, if they didn’t succeed and had to come back, it was like a shame, they failed,” he told presenter Sue Lawley when he appeared on the BBC Desert Island Discs in 1996..

“I didn’t want to leave and fail. I think that was probably the reason. I did not think I would arrive, I did not think I was going to be good enough. “

L’influence Revie

Don Revie, who ran Charlton in Leeds, has been a key figure in his football career. He revolutionized club formation and it was he who convinced a skeptical Charlton that he had international potential.

“When he got the job for the first time, he said to me, ‘You have enough ability, if you had to screw the nut and do the job properly, you could play for England.’ I said, “Don’t be stupid. “. I had never seen myself in this light. “

Leeds defeated Arsenal 1-0 to win the FA Cup final 1972

Leeds went on to win the championship title in 1969 and the FA Cup in 1972, but despite his reputation as a tough tackle, Charlton denied he was a dirty player.

“If someone did something really nasty to you, and I mean really nasty, the kind of thing that had to be taken out of the game – I would get it back if I had the chance but I would do it in law of the game when the ball was there, “he said one day.

“People ask me who was in the little black book, and I say there was no one. I just had fond memories of people who had done nasty things to me. “

Celebrate a World Cup victory

Charlton was almost 30 when he made his debut in England in 1965 and a year later, with his brother, was part of the team that beat West Germany to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy.

After Geoff Hurst’s hat trick goal that sealed the 4-2 win at Wembley, Charlton recalled that he had run the full length of the field just to grab it.

“As I approached him, he fled and I was too stunned to follow him,” he said.

“I collapsed on my knees, completely exhausted, and my head fell forward on my hands. I don’t remember saying a prayer – I probably just said something like, “Thanks to the Lord, it’s over.” ”

After the team’s celebrations at the Royal Garden Hotel, Charlton ended up sleeping on the floor of a couple’s house in North London, but a woman was certainly not impressed by her lovemaking.

He remembers, “I took an elevator the next morning and my mom was playing hell because I hadn’t been in bed all night. I said, ‘Mother, we just won the World Cup!’ “

Outdoor activities

Far from football, shooting and fishing were Charlton’s passions

He starred in his own television series – Go Fishing with Jack Charlton – in the 1970s and then put his name on a computer game, Jack Charlton’s Match Fishing.

Charlton’s love for fishing was well known

Even when he took over Newcastle in 1984, there was nothing to stop him from engaging in his interests.

After a heavy midweek loss by Arsenal, Charlton announced to the team that he would see them next Saturday at Old Trafford.

“I’m not shooting the grouse,” he announced to the puzzled locker room, which included Peter Beardsley and Chris Waddle.

And true to his word, the next time the Newcastle players saw their manager, he entered the locker room on Saturday at 1:45 p.m.

Meeting with the Pope

Although his appointment as manager of the Republic of Ireland was not greeted by everyone, Charlton captured the hearts of the Irish people as his team reached their first major tournament – Euro 88 – before qualify for its first World Cup final in 1990.

Before the Republic’s quarter-final against Italy in Rome in 1990, the team had an audience with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.

Charlton was called “The Boss” by the Pope

“I thought we would go to a room, he would come and bless the guys and say a few prayers and we would take some pictures,” said Charlton in an interview.

“But the courtroom has 7,000 and there were people from all over the world there. ”

The long ceremony wreaked havoc on Big Jack who tried (and failed) to stay awake.

“The Pope was at the third moment of his blessing and he looked me straight in the eye. I thought he was waving my hand so I got up and waved back. “

No joy for Bonner

The Pope was a notable goalkeeper in his youth in Poland and during the audience had a special conversation with the goalkeeper of the Republic of Ireland Pat Bonner.

However, in the quarterfinals, Bonner was heartbreakingly beaten by Toto Schillaci as the Italians qualified for the final four.

After the match at the Olympic stadium, Charlton thanked his players for their efforts and told them to go and take advantage of the holidays, but Charlton was little comforted by his devastated goalkeeper.

“Oh and by the way, Packie, the Pope would have saved that!” ”

Who are you?

Jack’s inability to remember the names was legendary.

For 10 years, Paul McGrath played under Charlton for the Republic of Ireland, he was known to the manager under the name of James. And McGrath responded to his new name.

McCarthy was a key member of the Republic of Ireland defense during Italia 90

His own players and opponents were vaguely described as “your man,” “the big man,” or “him over there.”

In a match against the Netherlands, Mick McCarthy was ordered to “stay tight on Van Cleef”.

McCarthy told the boss that Lee van Cleef was a dead Hollywood movie star.

World Cups and water parks

It may be unorthodox by today’s standards, but Charlton’s management of his players has worked.

Two days before the 1990 World Cup quarter-final against Italy, there was a drinking session involving a Guinness truck with players having fun and Charlton in the middle.

“If he saw someone drinking a Coca-Cola, he said:” Why are you drinking this ****? Guinness is better for you, “said forward John Aldridge.

Four years later, in the 1994 US final, players relaxed in Orlando by visiting the water parks – with the blessing of their manager

Roy Keane, who was part of the team, remembered, “If you saw a player doing this now, you’d say,” It’s a little crazy, “but it was a great way to die.

“When you go down a slide in Orlando, you don’t think of a Mexican midfielder who is supposed to be playing against you.

“Jack has always had a relaxed attitude – when you don’t train, guys, you do what you want.

“A lot of the guys were experienced players who had the right balance – we went for a few pints and we went to relax. “

Check, mat

Much loved in Ireland, it was a popular belief for a time that Charlton paid his bar bills by check knowing that publicans and restaurants would not cash the check, but would frame it on the walls of their establishments.

But in an interview with the Guardian