BIRMINGHAM: Jack Charlton, an uncompromising central defender who won the 1966 World Cup with England alongside his brother, Bobby, before coaching Ireland to its first major tournaments, has died. He was 85.
Nicknamed “Big Jack,” and celebrated for his earthy “beer and cigarettes” image, Charlton was Footballer of the Year in England in 1967. He spent all his club career at Leeds from 1952-73, tying its all-time record of 773 appearances. He won every domestic honor, including the league title in 1969.
Charlton died at home in his native Northumberland in northeast England, surrounded by his family.
“As well as a friend to many, he was a much-adored husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather,” the family said in a statement on Saturday. “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.”
Premier League games will be preceded by a minute’s silence this weekend as a tribute to Charlton and players will wear black armbands.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remembered Charlton as a “football great whose achievements brought happiness to so many.”
The England team Twitter account said “we are devastated.” Charlton was one of the players who helped to deliver England’s first and only major international title, featuring at the heart of defense alongside captain Bobby Moore as Germany was beaten 4-2 after extra time in the 1966 World Cup final.
“Jack was the type of player and person that you need in a team to win a World Cup,” said Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat trick in the final. “He was a great and lovable character.”