Remembering Jack Charlton's life and legacy as the sporting legend is laid to rest

Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 2:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd July 2020, 9:17 am
Jack Charlton was capped more than 700 times by Leeds United (Getty Images)
Jack Charlton was capped more than 700 times by Leeds United (Getty Images)

Tributes have poured in for Jack Charlton on the day of his funeral, with supporters lining the streets of his hometown, Ashington, Northumberland.

The funeral cortege passed through the town, where he and his brother Bobby spent their formative years, on its way to a private service with 20 close family members allowed to attend due to coronavirus measures.

A one-club man with Leeds United, and a World Cup winner with England, Jack Charlton carved out both a remarkable playing and managing career.

He died on July 10, aged 85.

One-club man 

Born in Northumberland in 1935, Charlton came from strong footballing stock. 

His uncles, Jack Milburn, George Milburn  and Jim Milburn all played for Leeds United, while Uncle Stan Milburn turned out for Chesterfield, Leicester City and Rochdale. 

Legendary Newcastle United centre forward Jackie Milburn was the cousin of his mother.

At 15, Charlton rejected a trial at Leeds United to work with his father in the mines which dominated employment in Ashington, before u-turning on his decision to swap Ashinton for Elland Road, launching a 23-year career with the club. 

An imposing centre back, Charlton would make his debut in 1953, subbed into defence for legendary Welsh defender and centre forward John Charles.

Charlton played a part in United’s promotion to the first division in 1956 making 34 appearances, with Leeds remaining in England’s top flight for four seasons. 

The club would return to the top division four years later, consolidating their place in the top flight with League Cup and Fairs Cup titles in 1968, followed a year later by their first ever First Division title. 

The title was sealed with a 0-0 draw at fellow title challengers Liverpool, with Charlton later recalling being labelled a “big dirty giraffe” by disgruntled supporters of the Reds.

During his time at Leeds, Charlton would also outline himself as a vital part of the international setup, appearing 35 times for England, including every game of the 1966 World Cup.

He would retire from playing in 1973, having racked up 773 appearances for Leeds United, a record that will likely never be broken. 

Much-loved manager

Charlton would return to the North East for his first spell in management, leading Middlesborugh to a second division title at the first time of asking, a feat that would earn him the title of Manager of the Year. 

After four years with the club, Charlton stepped down as manager, joining Sheffield Wednesday who sat at the foot of the Third Division. 

He secured promotion in 1980, departing the club three years later despite pleas from the board for him to remain at the club. 

Charlton’s final spell in club football would be a short-lived one, leaving Newcastle United after just over a year in charge due to a restless fanbase. 

Happier times as manager of Ireland would follow with Charlton leading the country to unprecedented finishes in major championship finals. 

He led the country to their first major finals at Euro ‘88 and guided the country to the quarter finals of the World Cup two years later, where they would lose to hosts Italy. 

The Englishman would win the hearts of Irish supporters during his spell in charge, with fans affectionately nicknaming themselves Jackie’s Army. Fan anthem Put ‘em Under Pressure featured several soundbites of the no nonsense manager.

Following the country’s failure to qualify for Euro 1996, Charlton retired from football for good, following ten years of managing the Boys in Green, bringing an end to a 44-year spell in the game.