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Jack Charlton (1935-2020)

11 July 2020

'Big Jack' Charlton, who sadly passed away on Friday 10 July 2020, will be remembered as a giant of the English game.

A true one-club man, Charlton made a club-record 773 appearances for Leeds United as a player and famously became a World Cup winner with his country in 1966.

He joined the Yorkshire club in 1950 at the age of 15, initially as part of the ground staff, before signing professional terms. His debut, against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday 25 April 1953, would be the beginning of 23 memorable years at Elland Road.

In the two decades that he represented Leeds, he would gain a reputation for becoming one of the game's all-time great central defenders, playing a key role in the Whites' most successful era. 

Following two promotions to the First Division, 1968 saw Charlton lift the League Cup with victory over Arsenal, and he added to his personal collection with the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, First Division title, Charity Shield and FA Cup in subsequent seasons.

A shining light for club and country, Charlton won his first England cap against Scotland in April 1965 and was part of Sir Alf Ramsay’s England World Cup squad a year later, playing every match during the 1966 tournament as the Three Lions went on to defeat West Germany in the Final.

A year later, the defender was named as the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year. His retirement came at the end of the 1972/73 campaign, following a record total of appearances and just shy of a century of goals for his beloved club.

Charlton was appointed an OBE in 1974, and would step into management with Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle United and the Republic of Ireland.

His place in Leeds and England folklore is undisputed and he will rightly be remembered by the entire football family.

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