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'Ireland was a great fit for Grandad' - Family pay tribute to Jack Charlton in touching eulogy

By James Fenton

July 21, 2020 at 4:24pm

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Jack Charlton was laid to rest in his native Ashington today as thousands lined the streets to pay respects to their local hero.

Located in the north east of England, Ashington was thronged with people who wanted to pay a final farewell to the man that won the World Cup as a player with England before taking Ireland to three major tournaments as a manager.

While thousands turned out for Jack's final journey, he was remembered at a private family service, during which mourners were told that Jack was "a proud Englishman, a proud northerner and a proud honorary Irishman."

In a shared eulogy, Jack's grandchildren Emma, Kate and Tom Wilkinson said: "The footballer, the friend and the family man we all knew was born in Ashington during a happy childhood with the parents and three brothers he always loved dearly."

They went onto speak of Jack's time growing up and playing football in the area before recalling his pride at being called up to play for England, which was "an honour he never expected."

Speaking about their grandfather's connection with Ireland, they continued: "Managing England is a job he would have been proud to do, but it wasn't to be. He later reflected that had he had that opportunity he never would have found himself in charge of the Irish team which gave him 10 extraordinary years. Ireland was a great fit for Grandad. The people, the craic, the salmon fishing, the Guinness, and a bit of football thrown in. We've been overwhelmed with the kindness from Ireland. One that really stood out said that Grandad did the near impossible and transcended politics. Some called him the English Irishman, but why recognise the divide that he so affably rose above? He was simply both man and the man."

Earlier today, radio stations around Ireland joined forces to play Put 'Em Under Pressure while people in Dublin gathered for a celebration of his life at Walkinstown Roundabout.

He'll never be forgotten.

READ NEXT: Jack Charlton - My thanks to the man who taught Ireland how to give it a lash

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