Football lost a legendary character in July of this year when Jack Charlton died. A centre-half with the legendary Leeds side of Leeds United and Don Revie, he became a national hero when he, together with his younger brother Bobby Charlton, lifted the World Cup with England.
He then went into management and achieved success with the Irish national team, converting them from perennial also-rans into one that qualified for two World Cups and the European Championships.
A larger than life figure in all respects, he endeared the love of players and fans with his many quotes. Here are some of the best Jack Charlton quotes.
During a post-match press conference following a 3 – 0 defeat to Portugal during a European qualifying campaign – “Can we go now please? I’d like a beer”.
In 1990, Jack Charlton guided the Irish team to the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history. Prior to playing the Italians in Rome, the Irish team were granted an audience with the Pope, although what he thought would be a private affair turned into a mass gathering featuring hundreds of people.
Charlton drifted off as the Pope read a blessing in various languages, and when he woke up he later recalled “The Pope was on the third bit of his blessing and he was looking right at me and he had his hand in the air like that (raises hand).
“As I woke up, I thought he was waving at me, so I stood up and waved back at him.”
Ireland went on to lose the game 1 – 0 due to an error by goalkeeper Paddy Bonner. Charlton consoled Bonner after the match before lighting up a cigarette and telling him “By the way, the f****** Pope would have saved that!’
Speaking about the fact that he did not have many players to choose from as Ireland manager “We never had a huge squad and we never had a great deal of choice. But, in many ways, that helps because you’ve got to make do with what you’ve got”.
Responding to Ray Houghton, who complained after he was substituted during a 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifier that he was the only one getting any chances, Charlton told the Liverpool midfielder “You’re the one missing chances”.
Charlton’s geography was also a little hazy as the following remark shows “We probably got on better with the likes of Holland, Belgium, Norway and Sweden, some of whom are not even European”.
He was not always impressed with his brother’s choice of club “Man United have shops all round the world. It’s a big money spinner plus the fact that they change their strip every five minutes”.
He also had problems with names “Jack had beseeched our captain Mick McCarthy to stay tight on Van Cleef. Mick had to tell him that Lee van Cleef was a dead Hollywood Film Star”.
On his adopted nation “I was very proud to be made an honorary Irishman”.
Charlton did not approve of his Irish team drinking coke telling John Aldridge “What are you drinking that sh*t for? Guinness is better for you.”
During the World Cup final;, in the last minute of extra time with England hanging on to a narrow 3 -2 lead, Bobby Moore, instead of clearing the ball into the stands, provided a long through ball which Geoff Hurst collected and scored the fourth. Charlton was not impressed with his defensive partner though “I still wanted to b*****kh him. I still wanted to tell him don’t ever do that again. But then I realised: he could do that, and I couldn’t. He was different from me. I could never be as good as Bobby Moore.”
After the World Cup final “I suddenly realised that I was knackered. I put my head in my hands. I don’t think I actually said a conscious prayer, it was just relief after two hours of football”.
On leaving the Irish job “I just cried. I’d been there for 10 years. It was time for me to leave”.
On never having to pay for a drink in Ireland “If I am at a bar”, he said, “a pint of beer will appear in front of me, even if I already have one.”
And finally, some tribute to the man. Here are the best quotes on Jack Charlton.
Gay Byrne: “He became the greatest man in Ireland without a shadow of a doubt”.
Niall Quinn: “Footballing force of nature. He showed care and attention to players on and off the pitch, he was so human and caring”.
Ray Houghton: “He was a larger than life character. The word legend is used too much in football but not for Jack, for what he’s done domestically with Leeds, winning the World Cup, which he should have been knighted for, and the fact he did so well with Ireland.
“He changed everything about Irish football because there was a stage where we hadn’t qualified for tournaments, we had some great players and very good managers but didn’t quite over the line. Jack came in and changed that mentality. His legacy within Ireland is absolutely huge.”
Geoff Hurst: “Another sad day for football. Jack was the type of player and person you need in a team to win a World Cup. He was a great and loveable character and he will be greatly missed. The world of football and the world beyond football has lost one of the greats. RIP old friend.”
Paul McGrath tweeted: “Absolutely gutted. Father figure to me for 10 years, thanks for having faith in me. Sleep well Jack, Love ya. Thinking of Pat, John and Peter at this sad time. #thanksforthememories”
Jason McAteer: “Can’t speak … heart’s just broke. Love you Jack.”
Joh Aldridge: “Absolutely gutted that BIG JACK has passed away!What a football man. Loved and adored,specially in Ireland. The best manager I was lucky to play for.The times we had on and off the pitch was priceless !my thoughts are with pat and the family!RIP my good friend Never Forgotten !!”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “He was a legend of football, a gent, I watched Norway play Ireland at World Cup 94 but he was always so passionate when he was speaking and sad to hear.”
Boris Johnson: “Jack Charlton was a football great whose achievements brought happiness to so many. My sympathies are with his family and friends.”
Andy is an exiled English football fan living in Cyprus. He loves all sports but football is his abiding passion, and he still has dreams every now and then about scoring the winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final, even though his playing days are long gone. He follows most major leagues, across Europe at least, and has a favoured team in each. When he’s not watching, listening, reading or downloading podcasts about football, he spend his time worrying about his beloved Arsenal.