Jack Charlton’s granddaughter has paid tribute to the 1966 World Cup winner as a campaign grows for him to receive a posthumous knighthood.
Emma Wilkinson told of her ‘extremely warm, very tactile’ grandfather who died on Friday aged 85 after battling dementia and lymphoma.
The ITV reporter, based in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, fought back tears as she recalled how the former Leeds star was competitive ‘no matter how old he was’.
She told GMB: ‘The person they’ve described is the person we know, and that’s testament really to how genuine and real he was.
‘Although we were always aware of his achievements, to me and my siblings and my cousins he was always our granddad, he would do anything for all of us.’
When asked if he was competitive, she added: ‘Yes and that really applied to, even at home, no matter how old he was he would never let us win.
‘He was extremely warm, very tactile, extremely present in our lives and he would have done anything for us. It will be hard him not being there anymore.’
Emma Wilkinson told of her ‘extremely warm, very tactile’ grandfather (pictured) who died on Friday aged 85
Charlton (pictured winning the World Cup), who played for Leeds with distinction for 21 years and later managed the Republic of Ireland , was the brother of fellow England great Bobby
It comes as Charlton’s grieving brother Tommy joined calls for him to be knighted posthumously.
The honours system would have to be overhauled for him to receive the award because the current rules ban the awarding of knighthoods after a person dies.
Only two of the 1966 World Cup winning heroes were made sirs – Geoff Hurst and Bobby Charlton – while the manager Alf Ramsay was also later honoured.
But Tommy said it would be a ‘fitting tribute’ to his older brother who died peacefully at his home in Northumberland surrounded by his family.
The 74-year-old told the Mirror: ‘He was a well-respected, well-loved Englishman. I think a knighthood would be a fitting tribute to him after all he achieved.
‘It would be the finishing touch to his life wouldn’t it? I think that Jack is every bit as good as one or two of those who have been knighted recently. He was loved wherever he went.’
His calls were echoed by celebrities and politicians, with former Liverpool star Ray Houghton branding it a ‘disgrace’.
The former defender passed away at his Northumberland home on Friday after suffering from dementia and lymphoma. PIctured: Charlton waving at supporters in at the World Cup in 1990 after his Republic of Ireland side’s quarter final defeat against Italy
A statement from the Charlton family announcing his death expressed their pride at their ‘much-adored husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather’
He said: ‘The word legend is used too much in football but not for Jack, for what he’s done domestically with Leeds, winning the World Cup, which he should have been knighted for, I’ve still never understood that, I think that’s an absolute disgrace and the fact that he did so well with Ireland.’
Ian Lavery, who represents ‘Big Jack’s’ home constituency of Wansbeck in Northumberland, is calling for the government to award the honour posthumously.
He tweeted: ‘I’ve submitted a Parliamentary Early Day Motion Calling on the Govenment to award a Posthumous Knighthood to the legend that is Big Jack Charlton. We’ll be launching a petition very soon.’
There have been various calls over the years for the entire 1966 team to given the top honour.
Sir Bobby Charlton had to wait until 1994 before he was finally knighted and Sir Geoff Hurst until 1998.
Which members of the 1966 World Cup winning team were knighted?
- Gordon Banks: OBE
- George Cohen: MBE
- Ray Wilson: MBE
- Nobby Stiles: MBE
- Jack Charlton: OBE
- Bobby Moore: OBE
- Alan Ball: MBE
- Bobby Charlton: Knighted, CBE
- Martin Peters: MBE
- Geoff Hurst: Knighted, MBE
- Roger Hunt: MBE
- Alf Ramsey: Knighted
Despite being the team’s captain – and one of England’s greatest ever footballers – Bobby Moore was never knighted before his death in 1993.
A campaign in 2016 for him to be knighted posthumously failed, despite the support of the then FA chairman Greg Dyke and a cross-party coalition of MPs.
Last year it was reported goalkeeper Gordon Banks missed out on a knighthood because officials lost key paperwork.
Friends were sure he was due to be made a sir in the 2019 New Year Honours, but although nomination papers had been submitted two years earlier, it was claimed they were then mislaid in a blunder by the Government’s honours committee. Banks died in February 2019.
All the members of the team were made MBEs, although farcically, five ‘forgotten’ players – Nobby Stiles, Alan Ball, Roger Hunt, Ray Wilson and George Cohen – did not receive theirs until 2000.
Jack Charlton, Moore and Banks were also made OBEs. In stark contrast to Britain’s failure to honour him, Charlton was awarded honorary Irish citizenship in 1996.
Charlton, who played for Leeds United with distinction for 21 years and later managed the Republic of Ireland, was the brother of fellow England great Bobby. The pair both played in the side which won the World Cup.
A statement from the Charlton family announcing his death expressed their pride at their ‘much-adored husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.’
They added he died peacefully with his loved ones by his side. The footballing legend is survived by his wife Pat Kemp and their three children.
Born in the coal-mining village of Ashington, Northumberland, in 1935, Charlton was the eldest of four brothers and his father was a miner.
The siblings at one point had to share the same bed because of the family’s tight finances.
Jack played alongside his brother (right) for England. The pair are pictured above shortly before the 1966 World Cup got underway. Pictured: The pair enjoy a celebratory drink with their mother Cissie after the World Cup victory
His granddaughters, Kate and Emma Wilkinson, shared their own heartfelt tributes and photos on Twitter, with both saying he was a ‘kind and genuine’ man.
Tributes also poured in from the footballing world. His former teammate Sir Geoff Hurst, who scored three goals in the 1966 World Cup final to help England win the trophy, said he was a ‘great and loveable character and will be greatly missed.’
Leeds said it was ‘deeply saddened’ by his death and the England football team tweeted it was ‘devastated’ by the news.
Premier League players wore black armbands and held a minute’s silence before kick-off during the weekend’s games in tribute.
The statement from the Charlton family continued: ‘We cannot express how proud we are of the extraordinary life he led and the pleasure he brought to so many people in different countries and from all walks of life.
‘He was a thoroughly honest, kind, funny and genuine man who always had time for people.
‘His loss will leave a huge hole in all our lives but we are thankful for a lifetime of happy memories.’
Charlton’s granddaughter Kate Wilkinson said in her Twitter tribute: ‘Beyond sad to have to say goodbye to my beloved Grandad, Jack Charlton.
‘He enriched so many lives through football, friendship and family. He was a kind, funny and thoroughly genuine man and our family will miss him enormously.’
Charlton’s granddaughter Kate Wilkinson posted a moving Twitter tribute following his death on Friday
Her sister Emma added: ‘Yesterday was a very sad day. My grandad, Jack Charlton, died peacefully at home. ‘He was kind, playful and genuine, and I’ll miss him so much’
Sir Geoff Hurst said in his tribute: ‘Another sad day for football. Jack was the type of player and person that you need in a team to win a World Cup.
‘He was a great and loveable character and he will be greatly missed . The world of football and the world beyond football has lost one of the greats. RIP old friend.’
Other leading figures in football also payed tribute to the star on Saturday – a day after he passed away.
Former England striker and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker tweeted: ‘Saddened to hear that Jack Charlton has passed away.
‘World Cup winner with England, manager of probably the best ever Ireland side and a wonderfully infectious personality to boot. RIP Jack.’
The England football team tweeted: ‘We are devastated by the news that Jack Charlton, a member of our World Cup-winning team of 1966, has passed away.
‘Our deepest sympathies are with Jack’s family, friends and former clubs.’
The victorious England team celebrate with the Jules Rimet Trophy after their World Cup victory against West Germany at Wembley Stadium. England won 4-2 after extra time. Back row (left-right): Peter Bonetti, George Eastham, Harold Shepherdson, Jack Charlton, Gordon Banks, Roger Hunt, Bobby Moore, George Cohen, Bobby Charlton. Front row: Nobby Stiles, Martin Peters and Ray Wilson
Outside Leeds’s stadium, Elland Road, floral and written tributes to Charlon were left by adoring fans
Mick McCarthy was appointed Republic captain by Charlton and went on to succeed the former defender as manager of the national side in 1996.
‘It’s a real shock that he’s passed away and I’m very, very sad,’ McCarthy told talkSPORT.
‘It was the happiest time of my career, he made it simple for me and I’ll always remember him for that.
‘I wasn’t the best player in that team, nowhere near. But he saw something in me and I’ll never forget him for that.’
John Aldridge, Houghton and McCarthy’s former Republic team-mate, tweeted: ‘Absolutely gutted that Big Jack has passed away!
‘What a football man, loved and adored, specially in Ireland. The best manager I was lucky to play for.
‘The times we had on and off the pitch were priceless! My thoughts are with (wife) Pat and the family! RIP my good friend. Never forgotten!’
Charlton spent his whole playing career at Leeds United and later managed the Republic of Ireland
A delighted Charlton lifts the FA Cup at Wembley after Leeds United beat Arsenal in 1972
In action for Leeds against younger brother Bobby, of Manchester United in January 1969
Paul McGrath, who played as a defender for Ireland when Charlton was manager, wrote: ‘Absolutely gutted. Father figure to me for 10 years, thanks for having faith in me. Sleep well Jack, love ya.’
In a further written tribute released by the Republic of Ireland’s Twitter account, McGrath added: ‘I am truly heartbroken at Jack’s passing. It is difficult for me to articulate what Jack meant to me both on and off the football field.
‘He gave me his full support when I needed it most and for which I am forever grateful. He has been a hugely important person in my life.’
He added: ‘The Irish people warmed to him because of his big character and he gave us the belief in ourselves to compete in the big tournaments.’
In another stirring tribute, John Anderson, who played under Charlton for both Newcastle and the Republic of Ireland, said his former manager was so humble that he kept his World Cup winner’s medal in a coal bucket.
He said: ‘I remember myself and Kenny Wharton going up to see him and, remember the World Cup coins that you used to collect with the players’ faces on?
‘He had a gold set of them and they were in a coal bucket, and beside them in the coal bucket was his World Cup winner’s medal.
Charlton managed the Republic of Ireland for a decade and was also in charge of Middlesbrough for four years. Pictured left: Charlton during his time as Ireland manager. Right: The manager shouts encouragement at his Middlesbrough players in 1974
Charlton guided his Republic of Ireland team to the Italia 90 World Cup quarter-finals
Jack and Bobby (right) became England’s greatest sporting siblings by winning the World Cup
‘He didn’t blink an eye. ‘They’re in there’, he said, nodding at the coal bucket beside the fire.’
He added: ‘He’s held in such high esteem in Ireland, Jack. He might have been born and bred in England, but he’s an honorary Irishman.
‘What he did for football – and not just football, what he did for the country – was remarkable, it really was.’
Middlesbrough FC, whom Charlton managed for four years from 1973 until 1977, tweeted: ‘We’re deeply saddened to report the passing of Jack Charlton, one of Boro’s greatest ever managers.’
Another of Charlton’s former clubs, Newcastle United, tweeted: ‘We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former NUFC manager and England World Cup winner, Jack Charlton at the age of 85. RIP, Jack. A true legend of the game.’
Lady Elsie Robson, the widow of former Ipswich, Barcelona and Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson and friend of Charlton, paid tribute to the former defender.
In a statement she said: ‘Jack was a great friend and a wonderful supporter of our cancer charity.
‘He’d come out to events and meet with fundraisers, and people were always so thrilled to meet a World Cup winner.
‘He had such a way about him. He’d just make us all smile. I feel for Pat and the family after their great loss and they have our heartfelt sympathy.’
Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin was among the first to tweet his reaction.
‘So saddened to hear of the passing of Jack Charlton who brought such honesty and joy to the football world.
‘He personified a golden era in Irish football – the Italia 90 campaign being one of pure joy for the nation. He gave us magical memories. Thank you Jack.’
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: ‘Jack Charlton was a football great whose achievements brought happiness to so many. My sympathies are with his family and friends.’
Charlton made a club record 773 appearances for Leeds over a span of 21 years between 1952 and 1973 and was regarded as one of the game’s finest defenders.
He helped the Yorkshire club win the second division title in 1963-64 and then the first division in 1968-69.
This successful Leeds side also won the FA Cup in 1972, the League Cup in 1968 and two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups in 1968 and 1971.
Despite not being called into the England team until days before his 30th birthday, Charlton won 35 caps and, playing alongside younger brother Bobby, lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy at Wembley in 1966.
He also helped England finish third at the 1968 European Championship and in between was voted the Football Writer’s Association Footballer of the Year in 1967.
After hanging up his boots, Charlton worked as a manager, taking Middlesbrough into the top-flight in 1974 before moving on to Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle United.
But he is fondly remembered as Ireland’s manager. He led them to the quarter-finals of the 1990 World Cup and they qualified for Euro 1988 and the 1994 World Cup.