England 1966 WC hero Jack Charlton dies

Afp, London

12 July, 2020 12:00 AM printer

England 1966 WC hero Jack Charlton dies

Jack Charlton, a member of the England 1966 World Cup winning side who went on to become a cult hero in Ireland, has died aged 85, his family announced on Saturday.

Charlton -- elder brother of his fellow World Cup winning team-mate Bobby -- was an integral part of the great Don Revie managed Leeds United side that won the 1969 League title and the 1972 FA Cup.

English football's governing body the Football Association (FA) said they were "devastated" by the news.

Charlton also enjoyed a fairytale spell as manager of the Republic of Ireland guiding them to several major finals -- advancing to the 1990 World Cup quarter-finals.

Such was his achievement with Ireland that he was awarded the Republic's most distinguished award, honorary Irish citizenship in 1996.

"He was an iconic figure on and off the pitch, in England and Ireland," wrote Irish prime minister Micheal Martin in a fulsome tribute.

"He came to personify a golden era in Irish football at a European and World level from the late 1980's onwards.

"The Italia '90 campaign was more than just a football tournament for us all, it was a time of unbridled joy and celebration throughout the nation."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid tribute with a tweet: "Jack Charlton was a football great whose achievements brought happiness to many".

His family had earlier released a statement announcing his passing.

"Jack died peacefully on Friday, July 10 at the age of 85. He was at home in Northumberland, with his family by his side," read a family statement.

"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."

Leeds issued their own tribute to 'Big Jack' whose uncompromising style as a defender epitomised the rugged side to the Revie era.