Hundreds line the streets to pay respect to England World Cup winner Jack Charlton

21 July 2020, 11:10

By Maddie Goodfellow

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Ashington today to pay their respects to World Cup winning hero Jack Charlton.

The funeral cortege slowly passed through the town where he and his brother Sir Bobby spent their formative years, spending countless hours in back lanes and parks, honing their skills which took them to the top of the game.

Charlton, who went on to become a successful manager most notably with the Republic of Ireland, died earlier this month aged 85.

Tributes came in from across the football world for the one-club Leeds United legend, famed for his uncompromising defensive work.

He went on to be revered in Middlesbrough after guiding the club into the old first division as champions, but it was leading the Republic of Ireland which sealed his managerial reputation as one of the greats.

Irish fans took Big Jack to their hearts, and the feeling was mutual, as he led the country to two successful World Cup campaigns in 1990 and 1994.

Charlton was the eldest son of miner Bob and his wife Cissie, who went on to have three more boys.

He followed his father at the pit for a brief spell before leaving Northumberland to join the Leeds United ground staff aged 15.

He stayed there for a remarkable 23 years, a spell broken only by National Service, playing a major part in the club turning from also-rans into a major European force.

He was almost aged 30 when he made his England debut, but the late developer turned good at the just the right time, and was one of the Wembley heroes on that famous day in 1966.

Outside football, Charlton loved his country pursuits and was a keen fisherman.

He remained a hugely popular figure in his retirement, with many fans sharing stories of how he always had time for supporters when he was out and about in his beloved North East.

He is survived by wife Pat and their three children, John, Deborah and Peter.

Charlton had been diagnosed with lymphoma in the last year and was also battling dementia.

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

"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.

"He was a thoroughly honest, kind, funny and genuine man who always had time for people.

"His loss will leave a huge hole in all our lives but we are thankful for a lifetime of happy memories."

A private family service will be held in Newcastle with a limited number of mourners due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

Local residents Margaret and Joan said that Jack "never forgot his roots" and "everybody loved him."

"It's an honour to stand here for him and it's an honour for Ashington."

Ray Young, who lives in Jack's childhood home, said that he was "well liked" and "deserves a big turnout".

"He had no airs and graces, he never changed, he was just the sort of person you would meet and want to have a drink with," he continued.

"When he used to come round, the last time he came he had the Alzheimer's, but he still never changed, he was the type of person that when you met him, you always remembered him."

Footballing legends and public figures led the tributes to Jack Charlton when news broke of his death.

England captain Harry Kane tweeted: "Very sad to hear the news about 1966 World Cup winner Jack Charlton. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. Rest in peace."

His teammate, defender Harry Maguire tweeted: "Sad to hear @England 1966 World Cup legend Jack Charlton has passed away. Condolences to his wife Pat, Sir Bobby and the Charlton family."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also paid tribute on Twitter, where he said: “Jack Charlton was a football great whose achievements brought happiness to so many. My sympathies are with his family and friends.”

Former England striker Gary Lineker wrote: "Saddened to hear that Jack Charlton has passed away. World Cup winner with England, manager of probably the best ever Ireland side and a wonderfully infectious personality to boot. RIP Jack."

Sir Geoff Hurst, the hat-trick hero of the 1966 final, paid tribute on Twitter to his former England team-mate.

He said: "Another sad day for football. Jack was the type of player and person that you need in a team to win a World Cup.

"He was a great and lovable character and he will be greatly missed. The world of football and the world beyond football has lost one of the greats. RIP old friend."

Former England captain Wayne Rooney posted on Instagram: "Sad to hear that legend Jack Charlton has passed away. Condolences to Bobby and family."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer paid tribute to Charlton at the start of his press conference on Saturday morning.

"It's very sad news and a legend of football and a gentleman," he said.

"I watched Norway play Ireland in the World Cup '94, but he was always so passionate when he was speaking and it's sad to hear."