Jack Charlton: England World Cup winner dies aged 85

11 July 2020, 09:04 | Updated: 11 July 2020, 13:44

England World Cup winner Jack Charlton has died aged 85
England World Cup winner Jack Charlton has died aged 85. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Jack Charlton, a football World Cup winner for England in 1966 and a former Leeds United defender, has died aged 85.

The one-club legend, who was one of football's more colourful characters, had been diagnosed with lymphoma in the last year and was also battling dementia.

Charlton spent his entire 21-year playing career at Yorkshire-club Leeds United, making a joint club record 773 appearances, before retiring as a player in 1973 and going on to enjoy a successful and illustrious managerial career at both club and international level.

One of English football's most popular and larger-than-life individuals, he had spells in charge of Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and the Republic of Ireland, who he guided to their first major finals at Euro '88 and two more in the space of 10 years.

Jack Charlton lifted the FA Cup with Leeds United in 1972
Jack Charlton lifted the FA Cup with Leeds United in 1972. Picture: PA

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."

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

The central defender, who was the older brother of former England and Manchester United hero Sir Bobby Charlton, 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.

He 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.

But Charlton's golden moment as a player came at Wembley in 1966 when he and brother Bobby were team-mates in England's World Cup win against West Germany after extra time.

Although he did not win his first England cap until the age of 29, in 1965, he played his 35th and final match for his country at 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.

Charlton 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 a 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 spell in charge of Newcastle lasted one season until he resigned in 1985 before becoming the first non-Irish manager of the Republic of Ireland later that year.

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.

Charlton had his critics as both a player and a manager but overcame any limitations through sheer force of character.

A big man with a bigger personality, he left a lasting impression on everyone he met.

Jack (R) and Bobby Charlton (L) playing against one another for Manchester United and Leeds United in 1969
Jack (R) and Bobby Charlton (L) playing against one another for Manchester United and Leeds United in 1969. Picture: PA
Jack Charlton holding aloft the Jules Rimet World Cup for England in 1966
Jack Charlton holding aloft the Jules Rimet World Cup for England in 1966. Picture: 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 tweeted that the club was "deeply saddened to learn club legend Jack Charlton passed away last night at the age of 85."

Leeds United Supporters' Trust tweeted: "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."

The English Football League tweeted: "We are saddened to learn of the passing of @LUFC and @England legend Jack Charlton at the age of 85.

"Charlton made a club-record 773 appearances for Leeds United as a player and was a World Cup winner with his country. We will never forget him."

Former England midfielder Peter Reid tweeted: "RIP Jack, great man."

Reid added that he "nearly signed for him" during Charlton's days as Sheffield Wednesday manager.

The England football team tweeted: "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 tweeted: "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"

Middlesbrough FC tweeted: "We're deeply saddened to report the passing of Jack Charlton, one of #Boro's greatest ever managers."

Another of Charlton's former clubs, Newcastle United, tweeted: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former #NUFC manager and England World Cup winner, Jack Charlton at the age of 85. RIP, Jack. A true legend of the game."

Lady Elsie Robson, the widow of former Ipswich, Barcelona and Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson and friend of Charlton, paid tribute to the former defender.

In a statement, she said: "Jack was a great friend and a wonderful supporter of our cancer charity. He'd come out to events and meet with fundraisers, and people were always so thrilled to meet a World Cup winner.

"He had such a way about him. He'd just make us all smile. I feel for Pat and the family after their great loss and they have our heartfelt sympathy."

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