London (AFP) – Jack Charlton who has died aged 85, enjoyed World Cup success in 1966 with England and went on to record further exploits in the unlikely role as Ireland coach earning himself the sobriquet ‘Saint Jack’.
Tall and lanky he was as blunt with his defending as he was with his tongue – very much the opposite in both respects to his more media savvy brother Bobby.
The only similarity between them — aside from lifting the World Cup trophy — was a premature loss of hair.
Indeed the two brothers didn’t speak for several years because Jack felt Bobby’s wife Norma didn’t treat their mother Cissie with the respect she deserved.
Jack was especially angered that Bobby didn’t visit Cissie even when she was dying — mother and son didn’t speak from 1992 to the day she died in 1996 and he laid it bare in his 1996 autobiography much to Bobby’s digust.
“I don’t think anybody should feel sad about it,” Bobby told The Guardian in 2007.
“He’s a big lad, I’m a big lad and you move on. I’m not going to ruin the rest of my life worrying about my brother and I’ve no doubt he’s the same.”
It was very different back in 1966 when they warmly embraced after England had defeated the then West Germany 4-2 at Wembley.
Two weeks later the brothers were given a heroes reception in the mining town of Ashington — where their father Bob had toiled away — known as ‘Coalopolis’ in the north east of England.
They rode in the back of an open-topped car cheered on by 15,000 jubilant local residents.
Even with his memory fading Jack — who partnered captain Bobby Moore in defence — admitted he never thought they could win it but they made the most of the celebrations afterwards in a London nightclub.
“I was happy, I had cake on my plate and we’d won the World Cup,” Charlton recalled to the Newcastle Chronicle in 2016.
“Winning the World Cup is something that stays with you forever.”
– One club man –
Four years later after playing just once in the 1970 World Cup finals he decided it was time to quit international football — after 35 caps and six goals — and told Alf Ramsey not altogether coherently on the flight home.
“Great times … absolute privilege … getting older … slowing down … not sure I am up to it any more … time to step down,” said Charlton.