A true footballing legend passed away July 10th at the age of 85, with his family by his side.
John ‘Jack’ Charlton OBE played an integral role for England in their legendary 1966 World Cup winning team. He partnered Bobby Moore at centre-back, with Gordon Banks in goal, as part of a famous defence widely considered to be the greatest England team to ever grace the pitch. Called up by Sir Alf Ramsey just one year before the World Cup, he went on to play 35 times for England, scoring 6 goals.
Not only was Jack an England icon, he was undoubtedly one of the most lauded and loved Leeds players of all time. Known as ‘Big Jack’ to the fans, his time with Leeds actually started when he was 15, as part of the ground staff. After signing professionally, he spent his entire 23-year career at the Peacocks, amassing 773 appearances; a club record unlikely to ever be surpassed.
After cementing himself as a true footballing legend for club and country, Jack retired in 1973 and one year later was appointed an OBE.
He will also be remembered as one of the most successful Republic of Ireland managers of all time. He led them to their first major finals in Euro 1988, and in 1990 to the World Cup quarter-finals. The Irish FA tweeted the morning after he passed that he was a ‘manager who changed Irish football forever’. In 1996, Jack was awarded honorary Irish citizenship, the highest honour that is given by the Irish state.
It is not just for his actions on the pitch that he will be remembered for, however. Jack has been universally acknowledged as one of the brightest lights off the pitch. Jack is survived by his wife Pat and three children.
A statement from the Charlton family reads as follows:
“Jack died peacefully on Friday 10th July at the age of 85.
He was at home in Northumberland, with his family by his side.
As well as a friend to many, he was a much-adored husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
We cannot express how proud we are of the extraordinary life he led and the pleasure he brought to so many people in different countries and from all walks of life.
He was a thoroughly honest, kind, funny and genuine man who always had time for people.
His loss will leave a huge hole in all our lives but we are thankful for a lifetime of happy memories”.
As tributes continue to flood in from all over the footballing world this, we remember Jack Charlton as a loving family man and true great of the game.