Jack Charlton: A World Cup hero with England and Ireland

Jack Charlton, who has died at the age of 85, was one of football's great characters.

Not the most naturally gifted of players, he nevertheless collected a World Cup winners' medal alongside his younger and more celebrated brother Bobby as England triumphed in 1966, and was a key member of the Leeds side which threatened to take both the domestic and European game by storm during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

But if Bobby enjoyed the greater share of the limelight – they fell out later in life before reconciling – it was Jack who proved more suited to management.

England's Jack Charlton in pictures
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England's Jack Charlton in pictures

Jack Charlton, Leeds United
762 matches, 95 goals

File photo dated 06-05-1972 of Leeds United's Jack Charlton celebrates with the FA Cup after his team's 1-0 win
(L-R) Manchester United's Bobby Charlton takes on Leeds United's Jack Charlton (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Jack Charlton’s career in pictures
File photo dated 09-07-1985 of Newcastle United manager Jack Charlton.
Jack Charlton’s career in pictures
World Cup winner Jack Charlton dies aged 85
Jack Charlton has died at 85
Former England player Jack Charlton arrives for the funeral service of former goalkeeper Gordon Banks at Stoke Minster, in Stoke on Trent, England, Monday March 4, 2019. Banks died on Feb. 12 aged 81. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
File photo dated 07-06-2015 of Jack Charlton.
England 1966 World Cup winner & Leeds United legend Jack Charlton dies aged 85
World Cup winner Jack Charlton dies aged 85
World Cup winner Jack Charlton dies aged 85
Jack Charlton: A World Cup hero with England and Ireland
World Cup winner Jack Charlton dies aged 85
Jack Charlton: A World Cup hero with England and Ireland
Jack Charlton: A World Cup hero with England and Ireland
Jack Charlton: A World Cup hero with England and Ireland
Jack Charlton’s career in pictures
Jack Charlton’s career in pictures
Jack Charlton’s career in pictures
Jack Charlton’s career in pictures
Jack Charlton’s career in pictures

Jack Charlton, the former Leeds and England defender who won a World Cup winner’s medal in 1966, has died of lymphoma aged 85. Charlton, diagnosed with lymphoma in the last year, had also been battling dementia. He spent his entire 21-year playing career at Leeds, making a joint club record 773 appearances, before retiring as a player in 1973 and going on to enjoy a successful and colourful career as a manager.

The England team to play Portugal in the World Cup semi final: (back row, l-r) trainer Harold Shepherdson, George Cohen, Martin Peters, Gordon Banks, Alan Ball, Bobby Moore, Nobby Stiles; (front row, l-r) Bobby Charlton, Roger Hunt, Geoff Hurst, Ray Wilson, Jack Charlton
File photo dated 01-08-1967 of Leeds United first team squad. Back Row: Paul Madeley, Alan Peacock, Jack Charlton, Norman Hunter, Mike O'Grady. Centre Row: Rodney Johnson, Rodney Belfitt, Willie Bell, Gary Sprake, D. Harvey, Albert Johanneson, Eddie Gray. Front Row: John Giles, Jimmy Greenhoff, Paul Reaney, Terry Cooper, Billy Bremner, Mike Bates, Terry Hibbett, Peter Lorimer.
Jack Charlton is the subject of a new feature documentary from the producers of “Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager.” Charlton was part of England’s 1966 World Cup winning team and is also hugely popular in Ireland after a stint managing its national team. Noah Media has teamed with Charlton and his family on the […]
Bobby and Jack Charlton
The two teams line up before the match: (l-r) West Germany's Horst-Dieter Hottges, Wolfgang Overath, Siggi Held, Helmut Haller, Wolfgang Weber, Lothar Emmerich, Willi Schulz, Franz Beckenbauer, Karl-Heinz Schnellinger, Hans Tilkowski and Uwe Seeler, linesman Tofik Bakhramov, referee Gottfried Dienst, linesman Karol Galba, England's Bobby Moore, George Cohen, Alan Ball, Gordon Banks, Roger Hunt, Ray Wilson, Nobby Stiles, Bobby Charlton, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Jack Charlton
Perhaps it is the passage of time. Perhaps it was the drama of extra-time, penalties and playing against Germany, but there is also still something rather British in how the one major international semi-final that England have actually won is also the least remembered of all. And yet there it will forever stand in the record books: July 26, 1966. Wembley Stadium. England 2 Portugal 1. And three goals shared by two of the greatest footballers of any era in Bobby Charlton and Eusebio. Most of those involved will also tell you that it was not just the highest quality match of the entire 1966 tournament, but also England’s best performance. Perhaps, even, ever. Portugal have still never had a team better their eventual third place at a World Cup and, with Eusebio in his absolute prime in a competition that ended with him scoring nine goals and winning the Golden Boot, there was a sense that he was poised to surpass Pele as the world’s greatest player. Portugal had already emphatically dispatched Pele’s Brazil – who had won the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and would do so again in 1970 – in the group phase. It was a day, though, when Manchester United midfielder Nobby Stiles was inspired in patrolling the space in front of England’s defence. Two incidents in the years leading up to the match were especially significant. England had played Portugal to a 1-1 draw in Sao Paulo in the 1964 Nations’ Cup and Stiles, says team-mate Terry Paine, had left a psychological scar on Eusebio. Bobby Charlton scores England's second goal against Portugal Credit: Getty Images “The modern-day equivalent of Nobby would be N’Golo Kante,” says Paine, who himself was part of the 1966 squad and played in the 2-0 group win against Mexico. “Nobby was what you would now call a midfield destroyer. He didn’t take any prisoners and, to be completely honest, I think Eusebio was a little bit afraid. I think there was a part of him that didn’t fancy it.” England World Cup 2018 | Latest news What would not be fully revealed until years later was also how administrators at the Football Association had been putting pressure on manager Alf Ramsey not to pick Stiles. Some of his tackling had prompted criticism among pundits and Ramsey had been urged by members of the selection committee to drop him for a game. The England manager simply responded by saying that they would need to find a new manager, mid-tournament, if there was any interference.  Speaking in 2002, Stiles recalled how Ramsey’s handling of the situation had deepened the squad’s loyalty to their manager. “I got slaughtered in the papers, absolutely slaughtered,” said Stiles. “You can’t play if you haven’t got the ball. My job was to win it, give it to Bobby [Charlton] and let him get on with it. The criticism never put me off.  “It wasn’t until going on the coach to the semi against Portugal that I realised something was going on in the country. The atmosphere was unbelievable. Fans everywhere, crowding the bus. The adrenalin kicked in and you started doing things you never thought you could.”  Among the placards, says George Cohen, that greeted the players as they arrived through the swathes of England fans was, “Nobby Stiles for Prime Minister”. There were 94,493 people inside Wembley for what was a 7.30pm kick-off. England, who were in their usual white shirts, took the lead after 30 minutes, when left-back Ray Wilson passed the ball over the Portuguese midfield towards Roger Hunt. In surging for goal, Hunt was challenged by goalkeeper Jose Pereira and the rebound landed in the worst possible place for Portugal: at the feet of Bobby Charlton. Utterly deadly from that range, he finished crisply with his right instep. The 50 minutes that then followed were tense but of the highest quality. Stiles was immense in shadowing Eusebio, but also Jack Charlton in containing striker Jose Torres. It was, according to Paine, a pleasure to have a touchline seat. “Even allowing for Cristiano Ronaldo now, I have not seen a more formidable Portugal side,” he says. “As well as Eusebio, they had a giant striker in Torres but we had Jack, who matched him. It was two exceptional sides; both had genuinely world-class players. To win would confirm just what a good team we had.”  England fans' songbook | Russia 2018 The 80th minute proved decisive. Cohen chipped a 40-yard pass deep into the Portugal half to Geoff Hurst. The West Ham striker turned and took a touch before rolling a pass to the edge of the area, where Bobby Charlton blasted a trademark rising finish inside Pereira. The Wembley crowd broke into a chorus of “Oh when the Saints go marching in”. The mutual sportsmanship was such that several Portugal players shook Charlton’s hand.  And yet two minutes later it was 2-1. Torres finally did get the better of Jack Charlton who, in desperation, used his arm to prevent a certain headed goal. The penalty, scored by Eusebio, was the first goal that a formidable England defence of Gordon Banks, Cohen, Charlton, Bobby Moore and Wilson had conceded in more than seven hours of football. It ensured a dramatic finale, with Banks then making a wonderful save from Mario Coluna to ensure England’s place in their first and – until perhaps Sunday at least – only World Cup final. Eusebio was crying as he left the pitch and, rather like Paul Gascoigne in Turin 24 years later, the match would become forever known in Portugal as the “game of tear”’.  World Cup whatsapp promo Bobby Charlton duly received most headlines but, writing only two years ago in the book, 1966: My World Cup Story, he remained graciously convinced about the identity of England’s match-winner. “Nobby Stiles was handed the job of containing the force and talent of a player who was moving towards the zenith of his powers,” wrote Charlton.  “Some said it was the finest game I ever played in an England shirt, but nobody needed to tell me that all my efforts would have come to nothing if Nobby hadn’t made himself the embodiment of our determination. He kept safe all our ambition and the hopes of all his countrymen.”  WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article  

También conquistaron el Mundial los Charlton en 1966. En su caso, con Inglaterra. Bobby era la gran estrella de aquella selección, mientras que Jack, dos años mayor, jugaba como defensa central. (Foto: Getty Images).

It remains perhaps the most iconic photograph in the history of British sport. England captain Bobby Moore is holding aloft the Jules Rimet trophy while on the shoulders of Sir Geoff Hurst and Ray Wilson after England had won the 1966 World Cup at Wembley. Wilson, who was 83, on Wednesday became the third member of that team to die after Moore and Alan Ball following what has been a 14-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The left-back and oldest member of Sir Alf Ramsey’s iconic team, Wilson was not well enough to attend the 50th anniversary dinner two years ago, but had been living with his wife Pat in Yorkshire and regularly attending matches at Huddersfield Town with his two sons, Russell and Neil. News of Wilson’s death emerged just as Gareth Southgate named his England squad for the forthcoming World Cup in Russia and, 52 years on, just simply the passage of time remains sufficient to underline the magnitude of what Wilson helped to achieve. Tributes poured in for a player who never courted the limelight and was among the lesser known of England’s World Cup-winning team, but was regarded by many good judges as the best left-back of his time and the finest in English history. “In many people’s eyes, the best English left-back ever,” said Jimmy Greaves. “We had some laughs and late nights through the years and even with your illness you carried on coming with us and keeping us on our toes until about six years ago. Goodbye old friend.” Ray Wilson (right) celebrates with the Jules Rimet trophy alongside Bobby Moore (left) and Jack Charlton (centre) Credit: PA Sir Bobby Charlton said he was “deeply saddened by the awful news”, describing Wilson as “a great man, an excellent team-mate and a close friend”. Wilson was born in Shirebrook, a Derbyshire mining village in 1934, and was working on the railways when he was signed by Huddersfield at the age of 18. It was there that he was converted from wing-half to full-back by Bill Shankly, then Huddersfield manager, and he broke into the England team from the second tier of English football. Wilson was one of the first of the modern and more mobile full-backs who could influence both ends of the pitch, and this mobility helped to inspire Ramsey’s ‘Wingless Wonders’ system. At the time, most full-backs were physical defenders, but Wilson could match opposing wingers for pace, skill and vision. Ray Wilson (top row, second right) with the England World Cup-winning team Credit: HULTON ARCHIVE He was also selected in the 1962 World Cup squad in Chile and, by the time he had moved to Everton in 1964, he was established in Ramsey’s England team. During the 1966 finals, Wilson was ever-present, providing the incisive pass which allowed Martin Peters to create Hurst’s winner in the quarter-final against Argentina before reaching his 50th cap in the semi-final against Portugal. In the final, his early header fell to Bologna striker Helmut Haller, who duly put West Germany into a 12th-minute lead, but he was among England’s best performers thereafter in the eventual 4-2 victory. Wilson would later joke that he was grimacing in pain in the photograph with Moore as he was shouldering most of his team-mate’s weight and a bronze statue of the four players – Moore, Hurst, Peters and Wilson – stands just yards from West Ham’s old Upton Park stadium. He later also played at Oldham Athletic and Bradford City, where he spent a short period coaching, before working as an undertaker and living just outside Huddersfield in Slaithwaite. As with so many of the 1966 team, the authorities were slow to celebrate Wilson’s achievements. He received an MBE some 34 years after the World Cup win and was inducted into English football’s Hall of Fame in 2008. He sold his World Cup-winning medal in 2002 for £80,750 after deciding it was better to share the funds between his children, rather than simply leave it as a memento. Ray Wilson slides in to take the ball away from France's Philippe Gondet in 1966 Credit: HULTON ARCHIVE Wilson was only 69 when he was diagnosed with dementia in 2004. His England team-mates Nobby Stiles and Peters are also suffering with the disease, while Jack Charlton has been experiencing problems with his memory.  Numerous other former footballers have been diagnosed with various neurological diseases at a worryingly young age and, following a Telegraph campaign, the Football Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association are now funding a research project into the potential link with football. It is, though, 16 years since former England international, Jeff Astle, died from a type of dementia – chronic traumatic encephalopathy – that is caused by head trauma. World Cup winners Roger Hunt, left, and Ray Wilson of Liverpool and Everton, champions and FA Cup-winners respectively, show the Jules Rimet trophy a fortnight after England's victory to the Goodison crowd before the Charity Shield Credit: PA Photos In recent interviews, Wilson’s family have described how he remained happy even during his illness and spent much of his later years drawing and walking their dogs. The unexpected passion for art was prompted when his son’s partner bought him a colouring book and he has sketched thousands of detailed pictures of fantastical creatures on A4 sheets of card. For their promotion-winning 2016-17 season, Huddersfield released a new second-change kit in Wilson’s honour. It was designed with the tag line ‘Legends Are Rarely Made’ and, 50 years on from England’s greatest football triumph, was in the same red of the 1966 World Cup winning kit. The kit had Wilson’s signature in white, beneath the collar on the back, and below the white badge on the front. An old pair of his football boots are also on display in the boardroom. Joe Royle, who made his Everton debut in the same year that Wilson helped them also win the FA Cup at Wembley in 1966, said last night that Wilson had played “in the last England team that had four, maybe five, world class players”. He added that Wilson “was certainly one of those - a maestro”. When poised to win his 100th cap, Steven Gerrard explained even more succinctly how Wilson shared the most elevated possible platform in English football. “Hero status is given out far too easily,” he said. “As far as playing for England goes, there are 11 heroes. The rest haven’t really delivered.”  
Tommy Charlton is looking to follow in his older brothers footsteps and represent his country
File photo dated 15-06-1966 of Jack Charlton (centre).
File photo dated 14-12-2008 of Jack Charlton arrives for the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year 2008 at the Echo Arena, Liverpool
File photo dated 18-05-1967 of Leeds United's England international Jackie Charlton, elected Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers' Association, is pictured with the trophy, presented to him at the Association's annual dinner at the Cafe Royal, London.
File photo dated 10-04-1965 of Brothers Bobby Charlton (centre) of Manchester United and Jackie Charlton of Leeds United (right) on the field at Wembley Stadium, where both were in the England team which drew 2-2 with Scotland.
File photo dated 26-06-1966 of England's Charlton brothers, Jack (l) and Bobby (r), relax at a pre-tournament function.
File photo dated 02-02-1985 of Newcastle manager Jack Charlton at the start of their game against West Ham United.

Revered in Middlesbrough after guiding the club into the old first division as champions, it was on the international stage that he rose to prominence with the Republic of Ireland.

Charlton's love affair with his adopted country and its football fans proved a marriage made in heaven as a nation which came to know him simply as 'Big Jack' revelled in the success he brought, the Republic establishing themselves as a force in world football and their manager as a household name all over again.

Born in the Northumberland colliery village of Ashington on May 8, 1935, the eldest child of miner Bob and his wife Cissie, a cousin of north-east football royalty Jackie Milburn, he learned his football with Ashington YMCA and Ashington Welfare before joining the ground staff at Leeds in 1950.

Jack Charlton was an FA Cup winner with Leeds
Jack Charlton was an FA Cup winner with Leeds (PA)

It was an association which was to prove both lengthy and hugely successful as he went on to make a record 629 league appearances for the Elland Road club before eventually hanging up his boots just weeks before his 38th birthday.

During more than two decades at Leeds, punctuated by a spell on national service with the Horse Guards, he won the First and Second Division titles, the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Inter Cities Fairs Cup twice and was named the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year in 1967.

However, it was with England, for whom he earned 35 full caps, that he wrote himself into the history books.

Jack Charlton played alongside his brother Bobby for England
Jack Charlton played alongside his brother Bobby for England (PA)

He was fast approaching 30 when he made his full debut in a 2-2 Home Championship draw with Scotland in April 1965 and, a little more than a year later, played his part in what remains perhaps the most famous day in the nation's sporting history.

One of the abiding images of the 4-2 World Cup final victory over West Germany on July 30, 1966 is that of the 6ft 3in defender sinking to his knees at the final whistle before embracing his younger brother, although he would later admit he did not remember too much about it.

He said: "There's a picture of me at the end down on my knees. I don't remember if I was saying a prayer or just knackered.

"I had chased after Geoff Hurst to give him a hug and chased our kid (Bobby) to give him a hug and then collapsed to my knees, so I suppose I must have been knackered."

Following his retirement as a player, he was appointed manager at Division Two club Middlesbrough in May 1973 and won promotion at the first attempt before ending his four-year spell on Teesside and then taking up the reins at Sheffield Wednesday.

He spent almost six seasons at Hillsborough and later had brief spells back at Boro and with Newcastle before Ireland came calling in February 1986.

In almost a decade at the helm, Charlton built a side to be reckoned with as he made use of the qualification rules to boost his squad with players born outside the country and moulded them into a team which feared no one, even while sometimes struggling to remember their names.

Mercurial midfielder Liam Brady recalled: "Jack Charlton's first words to me were, 'You're number eight, Ian'. I said, 'Ian Brady was the Moors murderer, Jack'."

Jack Charlton managed Republic of Ireland at two World Cups
Jack Charlton managed Republic of Ireland at two World Cups (Martin McCullough/PA)

It was at Italia '90 that Charlton enjoyed his finest moment as a manger, Ireland eventually bowing out to the hosts in the quarter-finals. They were at it again four years later as Ray Houghton fired them to a glorious 1-0 win over the Italians at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, Charlton's men making an impression at a second successive finals, although his resignation in December 1995 brought an end to a remarkable era.

Awarded the OBE in 1974, he was made a freeman of the city of Dublin 20 years later, and the affection in which he was held on both sides of the Irish Sea was reflected in the rapturous reception he received when he was presented to the crowd at the Aviva Stadium ahead of the friendly between Ireland and England in June 2015.

A man who combined his football with a love of outdoor pursuits – Charlton was as happy fishing and shooting as he was in the dug-out – he suffered ill-health in later life but remained a charismatic and popular figure with football fans across the generations.

He is survived by wife Pat, whom he married in 1958, and their three children, John, Deborah and Peter.

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