Jack Charlton made a record 773 appearances for Leeds United.
By Michael Lewis
Jack Charlton, a regular on England’s 1966 World Cup championship team who played in a record 775 matches for Leeds United, has passed away.
He was 85.
The older brother of fellow England international Bobby Charlton, Jack was suffering from lymphoma and dementia and died with his family by his side at his Northumberland, England home on Friday night.
“Jack died peacefully on Friday, 10 July at the age of 85. He was at home in Northumberland, with his family by his side,” a family statement read. “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.”
Charlton played alongside Bobby, helping England captured its only World Cup, at home, in 1966.
In the book, World Cup Winners 1966, Charlton remembered when he heard the final whistle at the end of the 4-2 triumph over West Germany in the championship game at Wembley. After Geoff Hurst completed his hat-trick, Charlton slumped down to his knees and said a prayer in thanks.
“I am not a strictly religious person, but I am a God-fearing man. I always say a prayer before we go out onto the pitch. I don’t pray for success or glory; just that all my teammates will be able to do their best and come off the field free from injury.
“It was thanks for these things that I was murmuring down there on the Wembley turf while everyone else was dancing their jigs.
“Then I suddenly realized just how exhausted I was. I don’t know whether it was that final run the length of the field that did it or the effort and concentration that had gone into the 90 minutes, plus extratime. At any event, I had given everything and so had my mates.”
Charlton played 36 times for England, scoring six goals, playing as a center back.
Domestically, he made a record 773 appearances for Leeds United, an astounding total, in all competitions, including 629 league matches while scoring 70 goals. He played only for Leeds during a 21-year career that spanned from 1952 to 1973.
He was a member of 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.
Charlton also distinguished himself as a coach, first directing Middlesborough, Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle United. He then guided the Republic of Ireland national team for a decade, leading the squad to its first major tournament at Euro 88 and to the 1990 and 1994 World Cup finals.
“We are devastated by the news that Jack Charlton, a member of our World Cup-winning team of 1966, has passed away,” the England national team said on Twitter. “Our deepest sympathies are with Jack’s family, friends and former clubs.”
Added the Football Association of Ireland: “The FAI is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jack Charlton, the manager who changed Irish football forever. Our thoughts are with Pat and the family at this sad time. #RIP”
Leeds United said that the club was “deeply saddened to learn club legend Jack Charlton passed away.”