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Jack Charlton: I'll Never Forgive John Aldridge

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A LITTLE more than 18 years after Ireland lost a World Cup quarter-final to Italy, there might be a little less skin on his bones but Jack Charlton has barely changed in any other way as he relives the occasion, apportions blame and wonders what might have been on that summer night at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.

 

The former Republic of Ireland manager recently returned to the venue for a documentary, Italia 90 Revisited , and, he admitted yesterday the trip brought the memories flooding back. Certainly, as he replays the game over coffee and recalls how his side was undone by what he reckons was poor refereeing and a single mistake by John Aldridge, there is no shortage of detail with every kick of the ball recounted once more.

 

"To be fair," he says, "we weren't under any pressure from the Italians in the whole game. It was just that one time when they scored the goal and the rest of the time we were trying to get within striking distance of their goal and the referee kept blowing his whistle and giving us free kicks from a long way out."

 

All was well, he sighs, until somebody who should have known better went momentarily off message. "I'll still never forgive John Aldridge," he says with a hint of agitation before recalling how the striker, playing out wide on that occasion, lost the ball while turning inside when he was supposed to play it forward so that a team-mate could run at a defender.

 

The occasional fallibility of even his trusted servants crops up more than once. The 73-year-old has rock-solid faith in the plan he employed during his time in charge of the Irish team, even if many within the game have embraced a less direct approach, particularly in the wake of Spain's success in this summer's European Championships.

 

"It's just common sense in football that when you need a result you've got to get the ball into the 18-yard box," he maintains without the slightest hint of doubt. "You've just got to get the ball in there as often as you can, knowing that something will happen for you as long as you're working hard to as to make sure their lads aren't winning the ball comfortably."

 

Charlton still remembers with particular fondness the players who played his way most wholeheartedly. The rock on which he built his success, he insists, was the central defensive partnership of Mick McCarthy and Kevin Moran; the best team he ever fielded, he reckons, was the one that beat Scotland at Hamden with Paul McGrath at right back and Mark Lawrenson alongside Liam Brady in midfield.

 

The latter pair, he describes as "two of the best players in Europe", at that stage but that's not to say that the Englishman has any regrets now about his eventual treatment of the Dubliner.

 

Andy Townsend is another favourite. "When we lost him we lost games," he says. "I put Roy Keane in his place once when we went to play in Austria and I said to him 'Roy, just sit in midfield, don't go charging off, anchor the midfield in front of the back two'."

 

Instead, he recalls with consternation, "he ran all over the place. He was overlapping right and left, running through the middle. Then all of a sudden the ball goes bump, bump, bump, there's a volley and it's in the back of the net while he's still coming down the field.

 

"He was only a young lad at the time but I gave him a right bollocking at the end of the game."

 

He is rather unenthusiastic now about Roy the manager, suggesting that he has spent too much money at Sunderland before admitting: "To tell you the truth I've never followed Roy. Had it been somebody that I got along with or liked . . . but I've never forgiven him for what happened over in Japan."

 

Still, when asked if he was surprised that the Corkman chose to pursue a career in management, he is a little more conciliatory. "I think anyone who has worked with Alex (Ferguson) as a player," he says, "will come away thinking they'd like to stay in the game. And if Roy wants to stay in the game then okay, I wish him well."

 

He goes on to mention that another part of his problem with assessing the job being done by Keane is his inherent disinterest in the club that employs him, revealing that he declined countless invitations from a season ticket holding uncle to go to Roker Park and only set foot in the ground for the first time when he played there for Leeds.

 

He was and remains, he says with relish, a Newcastle man although the zest disappears from his voice when he starts to talk about the club's current plight.

 

"I'm like all of the Newcastle supporters," he says. "I don't know what the hell is going on there.

 

"We keep getting reports in the paper that they've appointed somebody (Joe Kinnear) now who is the new manager. If he wins a few games and gets them away from the bottom he'll probably get to be manager for the next few, the next year.

 

"I'd give it to Alan Shearer. I wish Alan would take the job. He's a bright lad, he knows what the game's about. I think he'd be a good coach and he'd be acceptable to the Newcastle supporter although if Kevin came back I think they'd be happy with that as well."

 

On the Ireland front, he is something of a "Trap" man and was somewhat charmed by the Italian when the pair bumped into each other recently at a Dublin hotel. "I met him out at the airport. He looked familiar to me and I went and had a talk with him. We just sat there and had a natter for a time over a cup of coffee. He was okay, you know and nice, happy smiling man. He knows all about football and remembers us from when we (Leeds) played against Juventus, different things like that."

 

Giovanni Trapattoni's status as an outsider coming in and getting stick for overlooking popular players as he pursues a particular system might just, of course, be something that Charlton can relate to.

 

"Everybody can criticise now," he says, "but he's trying to build a team, he's trying to build the system. Whatever way they've been trying to play, he's got to change all that and get them doing what he wants them to do. He's got to find players who can do what he wants them to do. He's the manager and if he can get a result without him (Andy Reid), and he did, then fine.

 

"I mean, you won 1-0. Never mind what whaddya call him (yes, him on the telly) says, they got a result.

 

"It was only 1-0 but they got a result. You've got to give the guy time to settle and get to know people because he's doing well. Italy are still one of the best teams in the world but the way things are going we could finish second in the group and qualify. Then Ireland could have another adventure."

 

© 2008 The Irish Times

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I hate the way he's treated over here, he's still considered a legend. He had a very talented side but played absolutey rubbish long ball football with them.

A big dope of a man.

 

Is right .destroyed the International careers of some of our best ever ,and made himself millions in the process with his endorcements .Kinda reminds me of the Simpsons Krusty Clown College Episode .Charlton would have endorsed A truck full of Horse Shit if there was a few sheckles showved in a brown paper bad and stuck in his arse pocket

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Is right .destroyed the International careers of some of our best ever

 

But did manage to qualify the replublic for a few major tournaments. Something they had never done before he arrived. Raised the level of interest in football in ireland a lot too.

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But did manage to qualify the replublic for a few major tournaments. Something they had never done before he arrived. Raised the level of interest in football in ireland a lot too.

 

See ...still works even today

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Some people, when they get old, are like a fine wine. They grow in depth and flavour, with a strong note here and a delicate undertone there. Often there is much more to them than first meets the eye.

 

Others are like Jack Charlton.

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I hate when people flip out over one remark. Thats basically an excerpt from the documentary, how do you know he wasn't laughing as he said it? Or that it wasn't tongue in cheek?

 

Plenty of jerky knees in here.

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The Ireland fans loved him when he was in charge. Yeah he put his name to everything but i dont see why that would bother anyone. He may have played poor football but it got results, results that no other Ireland manager before him was able to do. Plus the Ireland football over the past few years has been much worse. I went to USA in 94 and the fans following the team then worshipped him. I remember being at Lansdowne Road for a game and there were Jack Charlton flags and cardboard cut outs of him in the crowd. He did a lot of good for irish football. He sent the country football mad and upset the GAA cos they were loosing supporters and kids were turning their back onthem to play football. At one point they had one of if the the best Home record in the world at International level. He qualified for 3 major tournaments including the first ever in Irish history. And they have struggled to qualify since he left falling way down the world rankings.

 

If he genuinely cant forgive John Aldridge then thats disappointing, but not all that different from what Houllier said about Ginola. Takes more than that to make me bitter about Irelands most successful manager ever.

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The Ireland fans loved him when he was in charge. Yeah he put his name to everything but i dont see why that would bother anyone. He may have played poor football but it got results, results that no other Ireland manager before him was able to do. Plus the Ireland football over the past few years has been much worse. I went to USA in 94 and the fans following the team then worshipped him. I remember being at Lansdowne Road for a game and there were Jack Charlton flags and cardboard cut outs of him in the crowd. He did a lot of good for irish football. He sent the country football mad and upset the GAA cos they were loosing supporters and kids were turning their back onthem to play football. At one point they had one of if the the best Home record in the world at International level. He qualified for 3 major tournaments including the first ever in Irish history. And they have struggled to qualify since he left falling way down the world rankings.

 

If he genuinely cant forgive John Aldridge then thats disappointing, but not all that different from what Houllier said about Ginola. Takes more than that to make me bitter about Irelands most successful manager ever.

 

Bro, he inherited the best team we ever had! Played Wimbledon football with them and was extremely successful. The thing that pisses me off about Charlton is the way he carried on about the Irish people. Like we were some form of amusement for him. A party piece or something. The Oirish this, the Oirish that. Fuck off!

 

I can never forgive him for treating Brady like shit. Substituting him in his last game against W. Germany when he was running the show, just because he passed the ball instead of hoofed the fucking thing.

 

I would have loved to see that generation play the ball on the ground. Like they did in Euro 88 against Russia. They had too many class players just to keep hoofing the ball up to Cascarino and company.

 

Anyway, fuck Charlton.

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Aldo fucked up against Arsenal in 89 too, didn't he? All he needed to do was put his hands up to block that throw out by Lukic, but he didn't, and 10 seconds later the ball is in the Anfield Road net. Ho hum.

 

We now return you to the Bash Jack Charlton circlejerk.

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Bro, he inherited the best team we ever had! Played Wimbledon football with them and was extremely successful. The thing that pisses me off about Charlton is the way he carried on about the Irish people. Like we were some form of amusement for him. A party piece or something. The Oirish this, the Oirish that. Fuck off!

 

Yes, it was a quality team. A team capable of beating a Platini-led France 3-2 at Lansdowne in a WC qualifier in 82 (thats the biggest pre-Charlton game I can remember).

 

And it was also a team that failed to qualify for anything.

 

I would have loved to see that generation play the ball on the ground.

 

You could have, if you would have been satisified with watching Ireland play on in qualifiers, and the odd friendly.

 

It bears repeating. Ireland had never qualified for any major tournament before him. For all the skillful players we had. And the reason?

 

We realised, before every campaign, that its just Ireland, its football, and we're not supposed to play with the big boys.

 

No amount of skill was ever going to change that mentality.

 

Post-Charlton, thats all gone. For all his crap football style (and lets face it, he was mainly a reflection of the times (Wimbledon, Wilkenson at Leeds and the FA. England were no better back then).

 

Its easy to be revisionist after the fact. The reality was, a Charlton was necessary before Ireland could start living up to its potential as a footballing country.

 

No point criticising him for that - might as well applaud what he DID do.

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The Ireland fans loved him when he was in charge. Yeah he put his name to everything but i dont see why that would bother anyone. He may have played poor football but it got results, results that no other Ireland manager before him was able to do. Plus the Ireland football over the past few years has been much worse. I went to USA in 94 and the fans following the team then worshipped him. I remember being at Lansdowne Road for a game and there were Jack Charlton flags and cardboard cut outs of him in the crowd. He did a lot of good for irish football. He sent the country football mad and upset the GAA cos they were loosing supporters and kids were turning their back onthem to play football. At one point they had one of if the the best Home record in the world at International level. He qualified for 3 major tournaments including the first ever in Irish history. And they have struggled to qualify since he left falling way down the world rankings.

 

If he genuinely cant forgive John Aldridge then thats disappointing, but not all that different from what Houllier said about Ginola. Takes more than that to make me bitter about Irelands most successful manager ever.

 

are you joking me .I was at those games with the Ireland fans,were you ??? The Ireland fans hated him ,its the ole ole wankers that loved him.anyone involved in the game ,or in grass roots despised him .we could have had the greatest club manager england has ever had ,a gentleman,a proverbial Bollinger Blanc de Noir,one of the finest champagnes in the world ,instead with a bit of back handedness and political back stabbing we got a tramp pissing in a bottle.

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Bro, he inherited the best team we ever had! Played Wimbledon football with them and was extremely successful. The thing that pisses me off about Charlton is the way he carried on about the Irish people. Like we were some form of amusement for him. A party piece or something. The Oirish this, the Oirish that. Fuck off!

 

I can never forgive him for treating Brady like shit. Substituting him in his last game against W. Germany when he was running the show, just because he passed the ball instead of hoofed the fucking thing.

 

I would have loved to see that generation play the ball on the ground. Like they did in Euro 88 against Russia. They had too many class players just to keep hoofing the ball up to Cascarino and company.

 

Anyway, fuck Charlton.

 

thats a whole lot of correct there ,well said man and to borrow the mad fellas phrase ,I agree 100%

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