The news that one of football’s greatest characters had passed away would have saddened everyone whether they were attached to football but it will make tomorrow’s visit of Leeds United to the Liberty just a little more poignant.
It was April 1953 when Charlton made the first of what was to be a record 773 appearances for Leeds, a record that seems almost certain never to be beaten. 96 goals also place him in the top 10 of the club’s all time goalscorers so it is fair to say that whilst football lost a legend today, Leeds lost quite possibly their greatest legend.
Charlton was a World Cup winner, he was a manager who took the Repulic of Ireland to the quarter finals of Italia 90 as well as the finals of both Euro 88 and USA 94. He resigned shortly after they failed to qualify for Euro 96. A First division, FA Cup and League Cup winner it was a career that was marked by 35 England caps having earned his first cap just short of his 30th birthday. An international career marked of course by a certain day at Wembley in 1966.
It is no surprise then, when you consider all of that, why the tributes have flowed so freely today and why games were marked with a period of silence for the loss of one of football’s greatest sons. A tribute that will be matched at the Liberty tomorrow for a club that will feel the loss more than any other.
We are devastated by the news that Jack Charlton, a member of our World Cup-winning team of 1966, has passed away.
Our deepest sympathies are with Jack’s family, friends and former clubs. pic.twitter.com/eSGjbOpo7Y
— England (@England) July 11, 2020
#LUFC are deeply saddened to learn club legend Jack Charlton passed away last night at the age of 85
— Leeds United (@LUFC) July 11, 2020
Rest in peace Jack.