Jack Charlton death: World Cup winner dies, aged 85

Leeds United great had been battling lymphoma and dementia in the last year and passed away on Friday night with his family by his side

Jack de Menezes
Sports News Correspondent
,Mark Walker
Saturday 11 July 2020 10:04 BST
World Cup winner Jack Charlton dies aged 85

World Cup winner Jack Charlton has died, aged 85.

The Leeds United great played alongside his brother Bobby in the 1966 World Cup final, helping England to a 4-2 victory over West Germany at Wembley Stadium.

He had been diagnosed with lymphoma in the last year, and was also suffering from dementia, and passed away on Friday with his family by his side at his home in Northumberland.

A family statement read: “Jack died peacefully on Friday, 10 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.”

Jack Charlton passed away on Friday night at the age of 85 (Reuters)

Charlton made a club record 773 appearances for Leeds during his 21-year playing career between 1952 and 1973, before moving into management with Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle United. He also spent 10 years in charge of the Republic of Ireland national team, guiding them to their first major finals at Euro 88, before retiring from the game in 1996.

The 35-time capped international was a much-loved figure in the English game, and news of his death triggered an outpouring of emotional tributes on Twitter from all corners of the game.

The England football team said: “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.”

The Football Association of Ireland added: “The FAI is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jack Charlton, the manager who changed Irish football forever.

“Our thoughts are with Pat and the family at this sad time. #RIP”

Jack Charlton celebrates with the Jules Rimet trophy following England’s 1966 World Cup final triumph (PA)

Charlton’s granddaughter, journalist Emma Wilkinson, tweeted: “Beyond sad to have to say goodbye to my beloved Grandad, Jack Charlton. He enriched so many lives through football, friendship and family. He was a kind, funny and thoroughly genuine man and our family will miss him enormously.”

Leeds United said that the club was “deeply saddened to learn club legend Jack Charlton passed away”, while the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust said: “Another massively sad day for the fans and club as we lose another legend. RIP Big Jack. If there was ever a more prominent year for us to go up it’s now, let’s do it for Jack, Norman and Trevor.”

Flowers, scarves and football shirts had been laid around Charlton’s personalised floor tile outside Leeds’s Elland Road stadium.

Central defender Charlton, older brother of former England and Manchester United midfielder Bobby, made his debut for Leeds in the old Division Two in 1953 and went on to become the bedrock of the great Leeds side built by former manager Don Revie.

Michael Normanton, co-editor of Leeds United fanzine The Square Ball, said: “Jack bridged the gap between the old Leeds, a side that once contained John Charles and not much else, and Don Revie’s legends.

“Pushed to levels he had never imagined possible, Jack will always be remembered as one of the greats, notching up a number of appearances that will probably never be surpassed.”

Charlton won the 1968-69 league title with Leeds, the FA Cup in 1972, the League Cup in 1968 and two Uefa Cups, in 1968 and 1971.

His golden moment as a player came at Wembley in 1966 when he and brother Bobby were teammates in England’s World Cup win against West Germany after extra time.

Bobby Charlton (left) takes on older brother Jack Charlton in a game between Manchester United and Leeds (PA)

Charlton did not win his first England cap until he was 29, in 1965, and played his 35th and final match for his country in the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico in a group game against Czechoslovakia.

A towering, uncompromising centre-half, he won the Football Writers’ Association’s Footballer of the Year award in 1967.

He announced his retirement as a player aged 38, soon after missing out on Leeds’ 1973 FA Cup final defeat to Sunderland through injury, and was made an OBE the year after for his services to football.

In his first job as manager, Charlton won promotion to the top flight with Middlesbrough in 1974 and narrowly missed out on repeating the feat at Sheffield Wednesday, who he had guided from the bottom of the third tier.

Charlton’s last honour as a player came in 1972 when Leeds beat Arsenal in the FA Cup final (PA)

Charlton’s spell in charge of Newcastle lasted one season before he resigned in 1985 and in December of that year he became the first non-Irish manager of the Republic of Ireland.

He steered the Republic to their first major finals at Euro 88 in West Germany and two years later led them to their first World Cup finals at Italia 90.

Charlton, already hugely popular for getting them there, won the hearts of a nation and the rest of the footballing world as his side reached the quarter-finals.

After leading the Republic to the 1994 World Cup finals in the USA – they lost to Holland in the last 16 – Charlton was awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin. In 1996, he was awarded honorary Irish citizenship.

Additional reporting by PA

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