Miner to major: TV show gives a fond farewell to ‘Big Jack’

The former Ireland manager's success will be the focus of the next episode of Cloch Le Carn on RTÉ tomorrow, Tuesday, December 8, at 7pm.
Miner to major: TV show gives a fond farewell to ‘Big Jack’

LEGEND: Jack Charlton autographing a soccer ball for Glen Creedon from Mayfield while he was in Cork to open Harry Ramsdens in Douglas

THE life journey of Jack Charlton is remarkable to behold.

Born in a working-class mining town in the north-east of England, he went on to achieve global fame as a soccer star, win a World Cup medal with his home nation — and transform the sporting fortunes of Ireland.

His latter success will be the focus of the next episode of Cloch Le Carn on RTÉ on Tuesday at 7pm.

The programme includes contributions from Des Cahill, Seán Bán Breathnach and former Galway hurler and footballer Alan Kerins, as it tracks how ‘Big Jack’became the most famous Englishman in Ireland during his spell as manager of the soccer team.

He and his teams were responsible for some of the most fondly remembered days we had as a nation, and Charlton was looked upon him as one of our own.

He was also a decent player in his day, a tough uncompromising defender, who won the 1966 World Cup alongside his brother Bobby for England and played 763 games for Leeds United.

Charlton, who died in July, was appointed manager of the Republic of Ireland team in February 1986, a role he held until December, 1995. During his time at the helm, he brought the team to the 1988 European Championships in West Germany and to the finals of two World Cups — Italy in 1990 and the USA in 1994. Who will ever forget those halcyon days as ‘Jackie’s Army’ travelled the world, fans who were admired for their conduct and sense of fun wherever they went cheering on the Boys in Green?

Not everyone was a fan of his style of play, but Jack was his own man, who could be abrupt with the media at times, but his players always gave him 100% and he instilled an unbreakable spirit amongst the squad, akin to a club side.

When his time was up as Ireland manager his love affair with the country and people continued. He was a regular visitor to his holiday home in Ballina, County Mayo, and was at his happiest rambling the countryside and trying to land a big salmon.

Des Cahill spent a lot of time in Jack’s company as well as Seán Bán Breathnach, who was lucky enough to go to the World Cup for Raidió na Gaeltachta.

Áine Hensey recalls the great times she had as a supporter in Italia 90 while we also get the thoughts about that era from former player and manager Charlie McGeever.

And former Galway hurler and footballer Alan Kerins recalls the many times Jack Charlton used to come and stay in his parents B&B in Clarinbridge.

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