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'Large numbers' expected for Jack Charlton's funeral in England but people asked to 'follow the rules'

The former Republic of Ireland football manager died on 10 July.

Jack Charlton pictured in 1993.
Jack Charlton pictured in 1993.
Image: EMPICS Sport

THE FUNERAL OF footballing legend Jack Charlton is to take place in his native Ashington in the northeast of England today.

The former Republic of Ireland football manager died on 10 July having been diagnosed lymphoma in the last year. He was also battling dementia.

The local Northumberland County Council says it is liaising with Charlton’s family to ensure that as many people as possible can see the funeral cortege whilst adhering to social distancing. 

The council says it is expecting “large numbers of people to line the streets” but that people should consider their own safety and the safety of others. 

“Jack was one of the greatest sportsmen to ever come out of the county and a real local hero, and is rightly held in particular affection in the hearts of the whole community of Ashington,” local councillor Cath Homer said yesterday

It is only fitting that the funeral cortege passes through the town where Jack grew up, and we expect a lot of people will want to come and pay their respects along the route.

“However we would encourage people to remember we are still in the midst of a pandemic and as we’ve seen from other areas, infection rates can escalate very quickly. So it’s really important that we all continue to follow the rules and stay apart from each other.” 

Charlton’s family have also shared similar sentiments. His granddaughter Emma Wilkinson last week told The London Times: “Lots of people I’m sure would have liked to make the pilgrimage to be at his funeral but we’ve had to accept it’s not possible.” 

To coincide with the funeral in England, the FAI and fans groups here are encouraging Irish radio stations to play Put ‘Em Under Pressure at 12.30pm. 

“Because of Covid-19 we cannot give Jack the send-off he deserves,” FAI President Gerry McAnaney said.

“We are talking to Jack’s family and looking at ways to commemorate his service to Irish football in the future but for now, I think it would be magnificent if we could make some noise for Jack one last time.”

Supporters’ group YBIG said that they’d like to see “Jackie’s Army mobilising” in song. 

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“While all Ireland fans look forward to commemorating the passing of Big Jack in what he turned into ‘Fortress Lansdowne’ once supporters can safely return to the stadium, it would be fantastic to see the nation hold its breath to the soundtrack of his voice one final time.”

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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