Jack Charlton, his last season, solid finish, 762 games and 95 goals for Leeds United

Jackie Charlton completed 762 games and 95 goals over a period of 20 years. What a fantastic achievement and of course also being handpicked by Sir Alf Ramsey to play in the 1966 World Cup and being the only Leeds United player in the Wembley final.

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Jackie made his debut for England just days before turning 30. The game was against Scotland, ended 2-2, after Three Lions had taken a 2-0 lead. The goalkeeper was Gordon Banks, with the back four being George Cohen, Jack Charlton, Bobby Moore and Ray Wilson. Nobby Stiles and Bobby Charlton were the two others who all played in that memorable World Cup win, a year later.

Jack was not always a first choice and Sir Alf Ramsey believed he was limited in his all over ability, not really being a great ballplayer, but in the air and as a front stopper he was phenomenal and World class. He was also one that read the game well and as we all know the one of the World Cup heroes that made it management, none of the others can be described as great managers, despite Alan Ball doing ok and staying in the trade for a long time.

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His partnership with Norman Hunter at club level was one that often decided the faith of the Leeds United team and the partnership lasted for almost a decade, but in that final one, the 1972-73, Jack didn’t partner Norman Hunter that much, finishing a total of 25 games and scoring 4 in all competitions.

He had been a stalwart in the Leeds United team and he was not A4 as we all could see, back in those days they even smoked during the photo shoots, would probably not be as ideal today, and not been tolerated and probably given the player a fine.

Jack didn’t play regularly but was handpicked by Don Revie for certain games and played his last game for Leeds United in the FA Cup semi’s against Wolves. He announced his retirement shortly after not being able to play in the final v. Sunderland, and as we all know the game was surprisingly lost.

The last goal Jack Charlton scored was away to Ipswich Town at Portman Road in a 2-2 league game draw. Leeds were going up and down between second and third place, but had no chance to beat Liverpool at the top.

Leeds finished third in the league, behind winners Liverpool and runners-up Arsenal. They also had to see themselves beaten in the UEFA Cup final v. AC Milan. We all know that Jack was a through winner, and with him in the team Leeds were always well organized and with leadership from the back.

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Strangely Sir Alf Ramsey did not see the use of Jack Charlton for the 1970 World Cup, and instead used Brian Labone from Everton. Jack played one game in Mexico, the winner in the group stages v. Czechoslovakia. He never played for England again.

Jack is the older brother of Sir Robert Charlton and his work as manager for Republic of Ireland has probably not been recognized enough, playing in World Cup and Euro tournaments during his days in charge.

 

 

 

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