Jackie’s Army: tributes to Jack Charlton

Ireland fans are being urged to wear green and play their favourite Italia ’90 song Tuesday 21 July to pay tribute to Jack Charlton, on the day of his funeral.

Big Jack’s funeral will take place in his native Northumbria Newcastle and fans across Ireland  have come up with a brilliant way of paying their respects to the former manager.

The FAI have also backed the campaign and have asked all Irish radio stations to play Italia ’90 anthem ‘Put ‘Em Under Pressure’ at 12.30pm on Tuesday afternoon, the time Jack’s funeral will end.

FAI President Gerry McAnaney said: “We have all mourned Jack Charlton and many tears have been shed since his death last Friday – Tuesday is our chance to say goodbye with a smile on all our faces.

“Because of COVID-19 we cannot give Jack the send-off he deserves. We are talking to Jack’s family and looking at ways to commemorate his service to Irish football in the future but for now, I think it would be magnificent if we could make some noise for Jack one last time next Tuesday.”

Charlton passed away on July 10 at the age of 85, following a battle with dementia and lymphoma.

He spent twenty one years as a player for Leeds, making a  joint club record of 773 appearances before retiring in 1973.

A larger than life character, he had an extremely successful managing career, with spells at Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough and Newcastle before taking over Ireland in 1986.

Charlton led the Republic of Ireland soccer team to their first major tournaments, firstly qualifying for Euro 1988, and the World cup in 1990 and again in 1994.

In 1990, They reached the quarter finals of the World Cup, which had never been achieved by an Irish team at any level.

Although the boys in green were beaten 1-0 in the quarter final game against Italy, it still was a major celebration.

Much of the late 70s and 80s in Ireland was associated with negativitity, as a result of The Troubles. However this era, referred to as the golden years of Irish football, changed it all. All because of Jack Charlton.

‘’Italia 90’’ and ‘’Put ‘Em Under Pressure’’ are two phrases which have been said time and time again over the years recalling this moment, but now their meaning really has become much more significant.

Leona Kenny

Image Credit: Offtheball.ie