Former Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton dies aged 85

Englishman guided Ireland to Euro 88 and the 1990 and 1994 World Cups

Leeds United fans have gathered to lay floral tributes to former Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton, who made a club record 629 league appearances for Leeds between 1952 and 1973. Video: Reuters

 

Former Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton has died aged 85.

He had been diagnosed with lymphoma in the last year and was also battling dementia.

Charlton was appointed Ireland manager in 1986 and will always be remembered as one of the greatest to ever hold the role. Under his management Ireland qualified for a major tournament for the first ever time by reaching Euro 88 where Ray Houghton’s goal provided a historic win over England.

Two years later Charlton was at the helm as Ireland qualified for the World Cup for the first ever time, going on to reach the quarter-finals after beating Romania on penalties in the last 16.

Another World Cup would follow in the USA in 1994 where Houghton again provided one of the most memorable moments of Charlton’s tenure when his strike gave Ireland a famous 1-0 win over Italy at the Giants Stadium.

Two years later, after failing to qualify for Euro 1996, Charlton left the job but his place in the annals of Irish sporting history will always be remembered. He was later awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin and, in 1996, he was awarded honorary Irish citizenship.

As a player he spent his entire 21-year playing career at Leeds, making a joint club record 773 appearances, before retiring as a player in 1973 and going on to enjoy a successful and colourful career as a manager.

One of English football’s most popular and larger-than-life characters, he had spells in charge of Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough, Newcastle.

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

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.

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 team-mates in England’s World Cup win against West Germany after extra time.

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 spell in charge of Newcastle lasted one season before he resigned in 1985 and shortly afterwards took up the Ireland job.

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

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

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