Athlone Town Mayor has afforded special tribute to former Republic of Ireland international football manager and much revered sporting icon, Jack Charlton who died on Friday last.
The England World Cup winner served the role of Republic of Ireland manager with great success achieving notable appearances at three major tournaments, during which his team applied his management ethos to significant effect, culminating in an appearance in the World Cup quarter final in 1990.
His amiable personality and passion for his role as Republic of Ireland manager was vividly apparent and earned him much respect from the nation which remained until his death last week.
“We have a lot for which to thank Jack Charlton. Jack Charlton for me defined Ireland in the 1990s, in fact I think Jack was largely responsible for our new confidence as a people and our new ambition as a nation around that time.
“So much seemed to change in Ireland during the Charlton era in charge of the Irish soccer team, and it is no coincidence in my view. The 1980s were utterly forgettable for many reasons with unemployment, emigration and recession prevalent.
“The 1990s threw us a lifeline as a country and we haven’t looked back since. I strongly believe that the various successful campaigns that ‘Big Jack’ took us all on from 1988 through the 1990s breathed new life into every man, woman and child.
“We became more outward looking, more confident and it suited us, the world at last knew we existed. Ireland was now about a lot more than the bad stuff, so often reported around the world at that time. Now the world could see us for who we were. Our travelling fans made us proud and our visiting teams and fans went home smitten.
“We couldn’t get enough of the euphoria, the excitement and the success and thankfully Jack and the lads kept delivering. The legend Jack Charlton was much more than a very clever and successful football manager, he was a gentleman and a genuine good guy.
“In my view Jack’s greatest asset was his warm personality, he led by example, he was respected by the players, fans and the media alike. I’d go so far as to say they loved him. As a country we owe Jack Charlton a great deal, a wonderful man with a big heart.
“We thank him for all the joy, pleasure and hope he has give us over the years. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Pat and his children John, Deborah and Peter at this time,” Cllr. O’Rourke enthused.