Books: St Jack reveals his sins and omissions

BOOK OF THE WEEK; Jack Charlton - the Autobiography with Peter Byrne (Partridge Press, pounds 16. 99)
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The Independent Online
But for some indecision by the great Matt Busby, Jack Charlton could have been lining up alongside Johnny Giles in the Manchester United team of the early 1960s - a thought too awful for most Leeds supporters to contemplate. Ten years before Busby let Giles go to Elland Road in 1963, he delayed too long over signing the young Charlton and the rest is a story of one of the great one-club careers.

Apart from his time at Elland Road, Charlton is mainly associated with three other things: England and 1966, management (club and international) and the metamorphosis into Saint Jack and his relationship with his more famous brother - the media selling point of this autobiography - which has recently become strained.

After initial problems with Revie (first his team-mate and then manager), to whom he dedicates the book, Charlton slowly blossoms into one of the key figures in the rise of the Yorkshire side. With the club he won and lost almost everything, made a few enemies and got into the England team just in time to win a World Cup winners' medal.

He does not whitewash over Leeds' renowned "professionalism'' and breaks the code of loyalty among the Revie clan by criticising some of the on- field antics of Allan Clarke and Giles. Coming from the man with the mental "black book'' on players this is pretty rich and there is surprisingly no mention of his legendary bust-ups with the Leeds goalkeeper Gary Sprake.

Charlton has strong views about everyone and everything but he is also big enough to take the occasional blame, notably for Chelsea's equaliser in the 1970 FA Cup final replay where he is conspicuous by his absence in defence as Osgood heads past David Harvey. Charlton says he was caught out of position as he tried to exact revenge on an unnamed Chelsea player who had just nobbled him.

Charlton went straight into club management when he retired from playing in 1973 but never gave the impression he was happy with the daily grind.

The Irish job, of course, was different. A flexible routine turned into a 10-year love affair which put him firmly in the public eye. But before the plaudits came the rows over tactics with senior pros such as Stapleton, Brady and O'Leary. Renowned for getting his Irish players' names wrong, this book continues in the same vein. We have Jim Porterfield scoring the winner for Sunderland in the 1973 FA Cup final and there is Willie Johnson, of 1978 drugs fame, and many more.

At the back of the book his first spell at Middlesbrough is completely omitted from his managerial record. He resigned twice at Ayresome Park, once at Sheffield Wednesday and then quit Newcastle after only a year when a few supporters calling for his head proved too much for one of the strongest personalities the game has known.

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