England World Cup winner and former Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton has passed away at the age of 85.
Those two snippets of information alone are almost enough to ensure that Charlton’s contribution to football isn’t underestimated. Only eleven men have ever walked onto a field and won a World Cup for England. It is a feat that we still long to repeat to this day. His contribution to Irish football was equally as seismic. He took Ireland to their first ever major tournaments, to the peak of their footballing history and inspired the next generation and the millions who watched. Sport is about breaking boundaries and going beyond what has been achieved before. Jack Charlton did that on multiple occasions.
Charlton played for only one club, Leeds United, who have sadly lost a few of their former players this year.
My earliest memories of football are of Jack Charlton’s Ireland competing at an Englandless USA ’94 World Cup, hence my first football shirt was green not white!
The word legend can be thrown about all too easily but a one-club man, World Cup winner who then took a nation further than it had ever done before, brushing aside footballing giants along the way, deserves to be remembered as one.
Jack Charlton 1935-2020