Book Review : Jack Charlton – The Autobiography

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It was such a shame to hear the news that Jack Charlton had passed away. During the Lockdown here in this country recently I had been rereading his excellent autobiography.When I really started to get interested in football in the mid 1980s, it was around the same time as Jack Charlton became Republic of Ireland manager. I can remember reading about that in Shoot! Magazine at the time. I already knew all about Jack being the Brother of Manchester United Legend Bobby Charlton and how they had both won the World Cup in 1966. My Gran was a big football fan and especially of the Charlton Brothers, and she used to tell me lots about them.

As Republic of Ireland manager, Jack Charlton had Manchester United players Paul McGrath, Kevin Moran and Frank Stapleton playing for him, so I took an interest in how they were doing. Over the next 10 years he would go on to have great success as manager of the Republic of Ireland. It was great to see how well they did at the European Championships in 1988 and the World Cups of 1990 and 1994. In these later years it was especially pleasing to see Denis Irwin and Roy Keane being a big part of Jack’s team as well.

The book covers his time as Republic of Ireland manager in great detail and brought back great memories.
Jack Charlton, as a player, had great success for club and country playing for a very successful Leeds United side, and winning the World Cup with England, which Jack talks about in the book.

However, for me the most interesting parts of the book are about his life growing up in Ashington, Northumberland and all that he says about his brother Sir Bobby. A few years ago, during a holiday in the area, I got to visit Ashington where they grew up and saw their old family home.

Like many families, as brothers Jack and Bobby had their disagreements and differences of opinion which went on for a long time. Jack is very honest and open about this in the book, which was good to read from him. In their personalities Jack and Bobby were both very different people and Jack was clearly the more outgoing of the brothers. Throughout this book you can see what a great character Jack was.

I was fortunate to have met Jack on a number of occasions. The first was after Sir Matt Busby’s Testimonial at Old Trafford in 1991, then at a book signing he did in Manchester and also a couple of occasions at Old Trafford where he was doing After Dinner Speaking. Away from matches, Jack did really well with his After Dinner Speaking and I found him really entertaining to listen to.

Jack Charlton will be missed a lot by his family, friends, former players and staff that he worked with and football supporters who got to see all he achieved as a player and manager.

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