In memory of Jack Charlton

Jack Charlton

The PFA are deeply saddened by the passing of former Leeds United defender and World Cup winner Jack Charlton, aged 85. 

Charlton joined Leeds United in the early 1950's, aged just 15, as a member of the of the ground staff, making his debut for the side in April 1953. He would stay with the club for his entire 23 year playing career, making a record 773 appearances and scoring 96 times for the side; the ninth highest goal scorer in the clubs history. 

Charlton was a part of a squad who gained promotion to the First Division in 1964 and was a key figure in the side reaching the 1965 FA Cup Final. Although they lost to Liverpool, they finally went on to win the coveted trophy after beating Arsenal in 1972, alongside a whole host of other silverware including the league Cup in 1968. The best was yet to come, when the side, with the help of Charlton, won the league title in 1968-69. 

Following his retirement from playing, Charlton was appointed manager of Middlesbrough in May 1973. It proved to be a huge success, winning promotion to the First Division. He stayed at Middlesbrough for four years before moving on to Shefflield Wednesday. During his time at the club, he took the Owls from the bottom of what was the Third Division to promotion, going on to take the side to the FA Cup Final in 1983. Following his departure from Sheffield he had a short spell at Newcastle in 1984-1985.

In February 1986, Charlton was appointed manager of the Republic of Ireland, in what many would deem his most memorable managerial work. He proved to be a hugely favourable choice, taking to the Ireland side to their first ever major finals, after qualifying for the Euro 1988, followed by the 1990 and 1994 World Cup. In the 1990 Italia World Cup, Ireland reached the quarter finals, qualifying from a group that included the Netherlands and England. Charlton was awarded the freedom of the city in Dublin in 1994 in recognition of his work for the country, stepping down from the role in 1996. 

Charlton was 29 years old when he made his debut for England at Wembley in 1965. It was this team that went on the become Champions of the World the following year. Charlton played every game in the Three Lion's 1966 World Cup Campaign, helping the side defeat West Germany in the final at Wembley. A poignant image from England's win shows an emotional Charlton falling to his knees, before embracing his younger brother Bobby. Charlton went on the win 35 caps for the Lion's, the last of these in the 1970 Mexico World Cup, aged 35. 

Gordon Taylor paid tribute to Jack: “As a player, a manager and a person - he was a giant of the game. He was the best of company. So very sad to lose him, our sincere condolences to all his family.”

The thoughts and condolences of everyone at the PFA are with Jack's family and friends.