THE GREAT JACK CHARLTON DIES AGED 85. Memories by Concetto La Malfa

(Photo by Eric Luke)
We learn of the death of Jack Charlton, aged 85. Apart from being a famous footballer, he was for a good number of years the most loved Coach of the Republic of Ireland, as he was one who got the Irish National Team to qualify for the very first time to major championships, the European Championship in 1988 and two World Cups, Italia ‘90 and USA ’94.
As a journalist and correspondent in Dublin for the Italian daily Sports paper Corriere dello Sport-Rome (1972-1995)I had the privilege of interviewing him a couple of times. I remember that on one of these occasions, in 1993, I dared telling him something which he took sportively, you may say, with a shrug of his shoulders, cigar in his mouth.
While admiring the great achievements of the Republic of Ireland in those years, I always thought that Charlton’s success was primarily due to a fine tuned long ball system and English style crosses into the area. He could have had the opportunity to train an attacking little and large pair, namely- say – little David Kelly a refined dribbler with a tall partner like Quinn or Cascarino. As an Italian I could give an example of this, quoting little Sivori the dribbler and gigantic Welsh Charles, the attacking duo, destroyers of any defense, in the history of Juventus,.
And it was the knowledge of this famous duo which prompted me on the mentioned occasion to ask Charlton whether he had ever thought to replicate something like that in the Republic of Ireland. “Well that’s the way it is for now…” – he replied – shrugging his shoulder.
Farewell, Mr Charlton, you will be dearly missed. To his family my greatest sympathy.

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