What they said about big Jack...
Published 22/01/2011 | 05:00
Mick Byrne: You just wish that every sportsman in the country would get the same enjoyment from their game that we did with Jack.
We had a fantastic time with that man, that legend. This country will never forget him. He was absolutely fantastic.
What Jack had, I'd love to be able to bottle it up somehow. The communication skills and leadership skills that gave us responsibility. We all fought with him. We all had battles with him. I remember coming in after we beat England in '88, after I thought I'd had a fantastic game, and he slaughtered me.
But when we had the battles, we would sit down, chat about it and we always fell back in together. It made us into a unique team. He had confidence in us, that we could take on the world. We can be hard on ourselves, but he made us believe we could take on any team in the world, and win things.
It will be 25 years ago next month when Jack came to watch me play for Oxford against Aston Villa. Dave Langan mentioned to a reporter that my Dad was from Buncrana, that I could play. Jack said I'll ring you in a few days. I think it was the next morning at 9.0 the phone rang, "Well, have you made your decision yet?" I think Jack will be the first to tell you that he had a real good bunch of players, but the players have to respect the manager, and the manager has to respect the players. He got the balance spot on. It didn't matter who you were; we were a group. We went out as a group, we played as a group, and we enjoyed ourselves as a group afterwards.