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Jack Charlton passes.


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I used to fish in Ireland and heard the same story a few times that in every pub in Ireland there would be a cheque behind the bar from Jack Charlton (to pay for his drinks). No-one ever cashed them as they wanted his autograph, so in effect he never paid for any drinks!



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The man brought unprecedented success to Irish team. Though his style of play was and continues to be knocked, he qualified for three major tournaments - his successors managing just three between the five of them - and that included an 8-team Euros rather than the 24-team behemoth it is today.


As a measure of how associated he is with Ireland - and probably how used we are to hearing English accents wearing green on the field - I remember watching a game with friends a good while back and hearing Jack talking, referring to England as "we".


"What's he on about, 'we'?", I asked.


"He's English."


"Oh fuck, yeah."


He'll always be celebrated.

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A great footballer and a wonderful manager.

Italia 90 was the first international tournament that I really got into. The energy he gave to the Irish team, the hope that somehow Ireland might just do something, Kevin Sheedy with the equaliser against England, that penalty shoot out against Romania. He inspired the fans and that legacy lives on in the fans following them around the world today. It was magical. 

Nobody has really come close to those highs with Ireland and I don’t know if anyone ever will. A real giant of the game. RIP Jack. 

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The cheque thing was because he was a tight sod. But a lovely, spiky irascible man.


Supported the miners strike and went on marches too. Probably did more for Anglo-Irish relations in the late 80s than anyone else you can mention. Won a World Cup. Took Ireland to Italia 90. Discovered Paul Gascoigne.


That’s a life well lived. RIP.


From Gazza 



After taking the Ireland job he'd asked me if I had an Irish wolfhound?


I said no, I hadn't - but why was he interested?


'If you had an Irish wolfhound, you could qualify to play for Ireland.



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Completely underrated footballer and thinker too. He won the footballer of the year in 1967 and scored 90 odd goals for Leeds from centre back. He's something like 10th on the list of the clubs all time scorers. 


Ireland had a reputation for being a long ball team but it was more nuanced on that. The whole "put em pressure" was effectively proto gugenpressing. 

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I thought gegenpressing is counter pressing, just with a bit of Klopp/Liverpool branding added.  Regular pressing was a thing in the 80s, Graham Taylor sides did it too.  It fell out of favour for a while because of it's vulnerability to pace and I guess the increased difficulty of explaining triggers and routines before video analysis was easily available.  

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I remember how at the 1994 World Cup in the USA he was insistent that his players would get water breaks, even though FIFA specifically prohibited it. He did it and got threatened with being banned, but FIFA eventually saw sense when it was clear it was as hot as fuck when pretty much all the games were on and they backed the fuck down.


Also the absolutely best bit about him was when he tried to sub a player for John Aldridge and the FIFA official insisted on paperwork first. An argument ensued live on TV with him and Aldridge escalating it further to the point of swearing at the official while Aldridge continued to insist on going on. Brilliant!



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  • 2 months later...

Mick McCarthy on Jack Charlton.



On the day of the match we went to the stadium to watch Argentina v Yugoslavia on the big screen, knowing if we won we’d be playing the winner in the semi finals.


That's just such a surreal quote, looking back. Ireland were a game away from the semi-finals of the World Cup and it took a single goal from the tournament's top scorer to deny them it.


Despite never actually winning a match.

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