Jack Charlton (1935 – 2020)
Leeds United legend and England World Cup winner Jack Charlton has sadly passed away last night at the age of eighty-five following a long-term illness. Jack Charlton made a club record 773 appearances for Leeds United over a twenty-three year period, as a player he became one of the all-time great central defenders in the game.
He joined the club at the age of fifteen in 1950 as part of the ground staff, before signing professional terms and was handed a debut against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday 25th April 1953 in a 1-1 draw at Elland Road. ‘Big Jack’ was part of the club’s most successful era to date, first helping win promotion from the Second Division twice, as runners-up in 1955/56 and champions in 1963/64. Following this, he was part of the side which won the League Cup in 1968, the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1968 and 1971, the First Division in 1968/69, the Charity Shield in 1969 and the FA Cup in 1972.
Charlton, won his first England cap against Scotland on 10th April 1965 and was part of Sir Alf Ramsay’s England World Cup squad in 1966 with the Three Lions, he played in every match during the 1966 tournament which England went on to win, against West Germany 4-2 in the final at Wembley Stadium, England’s only World Cup success to date.
A year later, he was named as the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year, before retiring from playing fiveyears later at the end of the 1972/73 season, with his final game coming against Southampton on 28th April 1973. Along with his record total of 773 appearances, Charlton scored 96 times for Leeds United making him the club’s ninth highest scorer in our history. He also won a total of 35 caps for England, scoring 6 goals for his country and was appointed an OBE in 1974.
Following his playing career, Charlton went into management, with spells in charge of Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle United and the Republic of Ireland, who he lead to two the 1988 Euro Finals and the 1990 World Cup Finals. Jack Charlton’s contribution to the game and Leeds United will never be forgotten.