#TBT Sports Blog: England’s Giraffe: Jack Charlton

The Giraffe Jack Charlton

Soccer’s The Giraffe Jack Charlton

This British athlete carried a distinct advantage every time he ran onto the soccer pitch. He easily heads his way into today’s #TBT sports blog.

The leg up Jack Charlton easily enjoyed over the competition was actually his neck.

The 6’3″ Charlton towered above most opponents on the soccer pitch. The nickname Giraffe was born when a rival English coach remarked that the red haired, freckle faced Charlton kicked like a mule and headed the ball like a giraffe.

Along with legendary Dutch star footballer Marco Van Basten, the lean and long necked Jack Charlton is considered the best header of the soccer ball to have ever taken the pitch in international football.

Charlton’s lengthy playing career spanned an incredible 21 years, all with the same Leeds club in England. During his days with Leeds as center back, the lanky Charlton scored 70 goals in 629 appearances. Leeds eventually named Charlton as one of the club’s best eleven players ever. The Giraffe also accumulated 35 international caps for England and put the ball in the back of the net six times.

Charlton’s greatest accomplishment as a player occurred in 1966. Teaming with his more famous and athletically gifted brother Bobby who played for Manchester United, the Giraffe played an integral part on England’s World Cup Championship squad. They defeated West Germany 4 – 2.

After retiring in 1973, Charlton was voted into the England Football Hall of Fame. He continued his success in soccer, but next as a team manager. In his first foray into football coaching, Charlton excelled at the helm of Middleborough. He was named Manager of the Year.

Charlton Once Managed the Republic of Ireland Squad

The Republic of Ireland eventually offered the Giraffe the opportunity to manage the Irish National Team. Charlton guided the small Irish nation to an incredible #6 position in the 1990 FIFA rankings. They earned a first ever World Cup appearance. The country endowed their beloved Charlton with Honorary Irish Citizenship, Ireland’s highest award.

A little known, yet noteworthy, fact is that Jack Charlton quit his job in a coal mine as a teenager in order to give football a shot. For a guy who left work in the depths of the mining industry, Jack Charlton flourished above ground.

The Giraffe’s revered stature as a manager and soccer statesman after his retirement has stood just as tall off the pitch as this long necked footballer’s accomplishments towered above the soccer pitch.

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MIKE Sports Comic: Soccer Footer


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