The life of one of football’s most popular and down-to-earth figures is illuminated in this fascinating, funny, poignant and deeply moving documentary of football legend Jack Charlton, who sadly died this summer.
From winning the World Cup with England to managing Middlesbrough and the Republic of Ireland, ‘Big’ Jack was a highly competitive, uncompromising, honest and passionate talent whose appeal was rooted not only in his success, but also his work ethic, charm and sense of humour.
Filmed during the last 18 months of his life and charting his struggle with dementia, this respectful and compelling account is released to coincide with an awareness raising campaign for the suspected impact of brain damage caused by playing the beautiful game.
Made with full cooperation and intimate contributions from his wife Pat and son John, it’s desperately sad to see this once most vigorous of men unable to remember his sporting exploits, and tragically it was confirmed last week his brother Bobby also suffers from dementia.
There’s room to touch upon Jack’s difficult relationship with Bobby, as well as exploring in some depth how his tenure of the Irish national side helped fuel a rise in national confidence and contributed to the peace process.
Among the excellent footage is the moment he describes his coaching style as simple and direct, which football aficionados might consider overstating the case, and as a coach he admitted to having a distrust of ball-playing centre-halves – so Lord knows what he thought of his England partner Bobby Moore then.
But there’s not enough time spent exploring his time as manager of my team, the uniquely stylish Middlesbrough – a job which would be the crowning glory of anyone’s career.
Although never denying his blunt manner was capable of ruffling feathers, Jack always delivered, was true to himself and always gave 100%, and that’s why he will always remain an inspiration.
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