WORLD CUP WINNER and former Republic of Ireland football manager Jack Charlton has died at the age of 85.
The Leeds United legend spent his entire 21 year playing career at Elland Road as part of the 1969 League Title and 1972 FA Cup winning teams. Alongside his brother Bobby, he was in the England team which beat West Germany 4-2 at Wembley to lift the World Cup in 1966. He also held the the joint record with 773 club appearances for the English giants.
In the last year the hugely popular character was diagnosed with dementia and lymphoma. A statement from Jack Charlton’s family reads:
“Jack died peacefully on Friday, July 10th 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.”
Big Jack became an Irish folk hero after being handed the reigns of a much unfancied and underrated Republic of Ireland team. He brought together a team of talented journeyman, mainly English based players with Irish ancestry, to take them out of the shadow of Northern Ireland. He led the Irish to their very first major football finals at Euro 88 and the World Cup quarter-finals at Italia 90 where the team met the Pope. Further success followed with the team also qualifying for USA 94.
A tweet on behalf of the England national teams read, “We are devastated by the news that Jack Charlton, a member of our World Cup-winning team of 1966, has passed away. Our deepest sympathies are with Jack’s family, friends and former clubs.”
Fellow World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst, Jackie’s England team mate, also tweeted his thoughts: “Another sad day for football. Jack was the type of player and person that you need in a team to win a World Cup. He was a great and loveable character and he will be greatly missed. The world of football and the world beyond football has lost one of the greats. RIP old friend.”
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