Jack Charlton dies: Player, manager, pundit - a football life lived to the fullest

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Obituary: 'Few have blended courage and charisma quite like Jack Charlton'

Jack Charlton, who has died aged 85, will always be remembered as one of the group of 11 England players who won the World Cup against West Germany in 1966.

And yet there was so much more to the rounded, wonderful career of one of football's legendary characters - as a player with Leeds United, manager at club and international level and also as one of the first generation of television pundits, going on to enjoy a long and distinguished career in broadcasting.

Playing alongside younger brother Bobby, the Ashington-born centre-half was the late developer who went on to the greatest glory with his country.

The man simply known as 'Big Jack', of great football stock as a cousin of Newcastle United legend 'Wor Jackie' Milburn, also won the game's major club honours as part of Don Revie's Leeds United side and was a fine manager with Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle before his wonderful spell in charge of the Republic of Ireland.

Charlton's spiky, outspoken nature was allied to a genuine, humorous, honest personality which ensured him iconic status not just as an Englishman but also as an honorary Irishman.

The giant Charlton, nicknamed 'the Giraffe' because of his long neck and the stature that made him the scourge of forwards and goalkeepers alike - almost inventing the ploy of standing in front of keepers at corners - had a slow-burning playing career.

And rather like his great Leeds central defensive partner Norman Hunter, who also sadly died recently, his no-nonsense approach often disguised the great ability he had as a footballer.

Charlton's career, if not exactly going nowhere, was lacking in direction until he fell under the guidance of Revie, who was able to harness the more maverick nature of his personality with his talent to make him an essential element of a wonderful side, going on to make a record 773 appearances for Leeds over a 23-year period as a player.

He also scored 96 goals for the club, making him ninth on their list of all-time scorers.

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Mark Lawrenson reflects on his time with former manager Jack Charlton with Republic of Ireland

Revie brought together a group of young players and experienced hands such as Charlton alongside Hunter, Billy Bremner, Peter Lorimer and shrewd signings such as the veteran Bobby Collins and John Giles, signed from Manchester United for a paltry £33,000.

After gaining promotion to the former First Division in 1964, Charlton helped Leeds reach the 1965 FA Cup final, where they lost to Liverpool, but success was just around the corner and after another losing final, the brutal two-game affair against Chelsea in 1970, they finally won the coveted trophy by beating Arsenal in 1972.

The Holy Grail, the league title, was won in 1968-69, and there was silverware elsewhere such as the League Cup in 1968 and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (the forerunner of the Uefa Cup and Europa League) in 1967-68 and 1970-71.

Charlton was never bound by the usual conventions, making him an even more colourful presence in the game.

He once courted trouble with the authorities by revealing he had "a little black book" of players he intended to, shall we say, meet again on the pitch, if they had ever crossed him - one of whom was believed to be former Everton hard man Johnny Morrissey, a tough Scouser who even his ruthless team-mate Giles suggested was an adversary best avoided.

The great Leeds team, and this was a great team, was somewhat overshadowed by their reputation for a physical approach, and should have won more than the honours that came their way - but his presence ensured Charlton still became one of the most decorated players of his era.

Jack Charlton
Jack Charlton, here playing against brother Bobby, spent his entire 21-year playing career at Leeds, making a joint club record 773 appearances, before retiring as a player in 1973

It was with England, however, that Charlton wrote his name indelibly into the history books. And, like his development at Leeds, his emergence as an international came later in his career.

Charlton had turned 29 when he made his England debut in a 2-2 draw with Scotland at Wembley in April 1965.

He was so surprised at his call-up he subsequently asked manager Sir Alf Ramsey why he had picked him. Charlton revealed Ramsey's deadpan response was: "I pick the best team for my pattern of play, Jack - I don't always pick the best players."

It was a team that became champions of the world on 30 July the following year, with one of the enduring images of England's 4-2 win after extra time against West Germany a picture of Charlton sinking to his knees, overcome by emotion, before embracing his tearful brother Bobby.

"People say to me 'was that the most memorable day of your life?' and I say 'not really' because unlike our kid [brother Bobby] and Bobby Moore, I hadn't been with them for years and years aiming for this," Charlton told Desert Island Discs in 1996. "I'd just come in , done it and gone. The most joy as a player was winning the league championship with Leeds at Liverpool."

Charlton, who won the Footballer of the Year award in 1967, went on to win 35 caps for England, the last of which came in a 1-0 win over Czechoslovakia in a group game at the Mexico World Cup in June 1970, aged 35.

Following his retirement from playing at Leeds, Charlton was appointed manager of Middlesbrough in May 1973, his character proving more suited to the job than his quieter and more reserved brother, who had an undistinguished spell in charge of Preston North End.

Legend has it he declined to be interviewed, simply handing the Middlesbrough board a list of what his responsibilities would be and warning any interference on the playing side would not be tolerated.

Charlton was an instant success, winning promotion to the First Division with a top-class Middlesbrough side boasting a host of very fine players such as Graeme Souness, Willie Maddren, David Armstrong and many others.

He stayed at Middlesbrough for four years before moving on to Sheffield Wednesday, during which time he took the Owls from the bottom of the old Third Division to promotion, reaching the FA Cup semi-final in 1983, only for defeat to soon be followed by his departure.

Charlton had a short spell back at Middlesbrough as caretaker before taking over at Newcastle in June 1984 but it was unproductive and he left in 1985 - before what many consider to be the crowning glory of his managerial career.

He had applied for the England job when his old boss Revie resigned in 1976 but never received a reply - instead he was appointed manager of the Republic of Ireland in February 1986.

What followed was a glorious thrill ride that provided a thousand tales of Charlton's eccentric approach (although he was perhaps wily enough to use some of that to cover up an incredibly shrewd tactical mind and superb knowledge) and a period of success that still brings a warm glow to Ireland whenever it is recalled.

Jack Charlton
Charlton wore an iconic white cap while managing the Republic of Ireland at the 1994 World Cup

Charlton made good use of eligibility rules to build a formidable side with players born outside the Republic of Ireland, such as central defender Mick McCarthy and forwards Tony Cascarino and John Aldridge.

The first sign of things to come was delivered at the 1988 European Championship when, despite losing world-class players such as Mark Lawrenson after his retirement through injury, Charlton's side beat Bobby Robson's England 1-0 in a group game.

Ireland just failed to make it out of the group but Charlton masterminded a run to the quarter-finals of the Italia '90 World Cup, qualifying from a group that included England and the Netherlands, both games drawn 1-1, before a win on penalties over Romania and then a narrow 1-0 defeat against hosts Italy in the last eight.

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Archive: Jack Charlton explains his football philosophy while Republic of Ireland boss

The Irish squad had an audience with Pope John Paul II in Rome during the tournament (when the football fan Pontiff allegedly referred to Charlton as "the Boss") and such was the pleasure Charlton's team had brought to the country a crowd of more than 500,000 welcomed them back to Dublin.

Charlton guided his team to the last 16 at the next World Cup in the United States four years later, including a win over eventual finalists Italy in the group, before losing to the Netherlands. He was also awarded the freedom of the city of Dublin that year. He was awarded honorary Irish citizenship two years later.

And it was the Netherlands who brought the curtain down on his time in charge when they beat the Republic of Ireland 2-0 at Anfield in a play-off to reach Euro '96.

If the art of management is to extract the maximum from the players at your disposal, Charlton and his trusted lieutenant Maurice Setters did that and more with Ireland.

Charlton had also built a career as a skilled pundit, starting as a member of ITV's revolutionary World Cup 'panel' in 1974, and the recent revisiting of Euro '96 demonstrated his charismatic style as a standout analyst.

For a career that came late to prominence, Charlton lived the fullest of football lives and is guaranteed his place in the game's Hall of Fame.