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Taoiseach leads tributes for Irish football giant Jack Charlton who 'changed Irish football forever'

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Tributes have been paid in Ireland to former national football team manager Jack Charlton (PA)

Tributes have been paid in Ireland to former national football team manager Jack Charlton (PA)

Tributes have been paid in Ireland to former national football team manager Jack Charlton (PA)

Tributes have poured in this morning for Irish football legend Jack Charlton, who passed away aged 85.

One of English football's most popular and larger-than-life characters, he had spells in charge of Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough, Newcastle before taking over the Republic of Ireland, who he guided to their first major finals at Euro 88 and two more in the space of 10 years.

He is survived by his wife Pat, his children John, Deborah and Peter, his grandchildren, his extended family and friends.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin led tributes, saying that Mr Charlton brought "honesty and joy" to the football world.

"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," he tweeted.

President Michael D Higgins paid his sympathies, saying that he left a legacy of "outstanding leadership".

"He leaves a legacy of outstanding leadership of a group of players of many diverse talents, which he moulded into the successful team that captured the imagination of the nation. It was not just the success on the field of play, Jack’s endearing popularity also had much to do with the warmth and personality of the person who quickly became such a legendary sporting icon," he said in a statement.

"From a family that loved soccer, he had many connections with Ireland, which he chose for one of his quietest recreations -fishing. Sabina and I send our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and his legions of Irish fans."

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald also paid tribute to the giant, calling him the country's "most beloved English man".

"Jack Charlton was Ireland's most beloved English man. Sorry to hear of his passing. He kept 'em all under pressure and kept us all cheering the boys in green on," Ms McDonald tweeted this morning.

Footballer Paul McGrath called Mr Charlton a "father figure".

"Absolutely gutted. Father figure to me for 10 years, thanks for having faith in me. Sleep well Jack, Love ya . Thinking of Pat, John and Peter at this sad time," he tweeted.

The FAI also extended its sympathies: "The FAI is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jack Charlton, the manager who changed Irish football forever. Our thoughts are with Pat and the family at this sad time."

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said that he was "upset" to hear of the news.

"I hope he realised how much we loved him. The ovation he received at the Ireland-England friendly in 2015 clearly touched him. He lifted us when we needed it. We’re all part of Jackie’s army," he wrote on Twitter.

Ex player John Aldridge said he was "gutted".

"Absolutely gutted that BIG JACK has passed away [sic]," he tweeted.

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Jack Charlton played alongside his brother Bobby for England (PA)

Jack Charlton played alongside his brother Bobby for England (PA)

PA

Jack Charlton played alongside his brother Bobby for England (PA)

"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 was priceless ! My thoughts are with Pat and the family! RIP my good friend. Never Forgotten !!"

Sinn Féin TD Chris Andrews TD remembered some of Mr Charlton's finest moments.

"We remember in particular the unprecedented success of the senior international team under his stewardship, reaching Euro '88 and two world cups in 1990 and 1994. They were days of great joy and national pride, and Jack Charlton's role in these successes was unquantifiable.

"His career as a player was equally impressive, winning a World Cup with England in 1966 and - to this day - holding a record number of appearances for Leeds United," he said in a statement.

Online Editors