Jack Charlton dead at 85 – England 1966 World Cup winner, Leeds United legend and Ireland favourite passes away

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ENGLAND WORLD CUP legend Jack Charlton has died aged 85 after a long-term illness.

The former centre back was part of the legendary squad that won the World Cup in 1966 along with younger brother Bobby.

The legend – who also went on to be a hugely popular manager of the Republic of Ireland – died peacefully yesterday at his home in Northumberland with his family by his side.

In a statement, his family said: “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.”

Jack spent his entire club career at Leeds United from 1950 to 1973 – making 773 appearances.

The club today said they were “deeply saddened” by the news, saying the legend passed away after a “long-term illness”.

Central defender Charlton, older brother of former England and Manchester United midfielder Bobby, made his debut for Leeds in the old Division Two in 1953 and went on to become the bedrock of the great Leeds side built by former manager Don Revie.

The legend then went onto helped them win the First Division title in 1969 and the FA Cup in 1972.

He also raised the Jules Rimet Trophy with brother Bobby in 1966.

Throughout his career, he won a total of 35 caps for England, scoring six goals for his country and was appointed an OBE in 1974.

Charlton retired from playing at the end of the 1972/73 season having scored 96 times for Leeds to make him the club’s ninth highest scorer.

He went on to become the manager of Newcastle United for the 1984-85 season.

Charlton resigned in 1985 and in December of that year he became the first non-Irish manager of the Republic of Ireland.

He became an unlikely national hero as he steered the Republic to their first major finals at Euro 88 in West Germany and two years later led them to their first World Cup finals at Italia 90.

Charlton, already hugely popular for getting them there, won the hearts of a nation and the rest of the footballing world as his side reached the quarter-finals.

He went on to lead the Republic to the 1994 World Cup finals in the USA.

The tournament brought one of the most famous victories in Irish football history when they beat pre-tournament favourites Italy 1-0 in New Jersey.

Charlton made affectionate headlines around the world during his side’s game with Mexico as he passionately protested on the touchline to get his water bottles to his players in the searing June heat. 

Ireland eventually lost to Holland in the last 16 and Charlton was awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin. In 1996, he was awarded honorary Irish citizenship.

Jack and brother Bobby became involved in a long family feud and were seen together for the first time in years at the funeral of former team-mate Ray Wilson in 2018.

 The duo fell out 22 years ago as Jack accused his younger brother of failing to visit their mother Cissie ahead of her death, after Bobby’s wife Norma had argued with her.

In a book released in 2007, Bobby said comments that Jack made about Norma were “absolutely disgraceful” and “mistaken”.

Tributes today flowed in for the legend, with Gary Lineker saying: “Saddened to hear that Jack Charlton has passed away. World Cup winner with England, manager of probably the best ever Ireland side and a wonderfully infectious personality to boot. RIP Jack.”

Former Man Utd goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel added on Twitter: “Sad news of the passing of one of Football‘s greatest characters, Jack Charlton. As a player and as a manager you were fantastic.”

Lord Sugar tweeted: “R.I.P. Jack Charlton World Cup winner.”

Former Ireland international and TV pundit Eamon Dunphy also paid his respects, saying: “Profound sadness on hearing that Jack Charlton has passed away.

“A good man who did so much for Irish soccer and left an indelible mark on our national story. May he rest in peace.”

Jack married Pat Kemp in 1958 and they have three children together.

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