Have you boots? Galway’s Johnny Glynn answer’s Jake’s call

Ireland manager Jack Charlton with Galway’s Johnny Glynn in Boston, USA, where the United player trained with the Irish team.

Ireland manager Jack Charlton with Galway’s Johnny Glynn in Boston, USA, where the United player trained with the Irish team.

Jack Charlton made his England debut in 1965 at the age of 30 and the following year he won the World Cup with England at Wembley.

He played for just one club, Leeds United, making his senior debut for Leeds in 1953 and then had to wait 12 years before making his England debut.

Jack managed Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Sheffield Wednesday, but was overlooked for the England manager's job on a number of occasions.

In 1985 I was invited to attend a three-week trial at Newcastle and played a friendly game under Jack versus Darlington. Jack was fired before my trial finished.

In 1986 Jack became manager of Ireland and gained qualification for the European championships in Germany in 1988. At the time I was working with Digital. My boss was a big football fan, and when I asked for a half day on a Friday to go to Germany to watch Ireland play Holland in the Euros, I got the thumbs up.

In 1990 the whole country was at a standstill for the World Cup. My sisters Karen and Lynda returned home from Boston to be here for the matches. I dropped them into town to “ the Skeff” for each of the games, but I preferred to watch from home in peace and quiet. I would then collect my sisters late into the night.

In 1991 I was fortunate to be playing for Galway United when we won the FAI cup for the first and only time.

Two weeks later I was preparing to go to Boston for my summer holidays. I departed from Shannon and discovered in Shannon that the Irish team was on my flight on their way to America for a game against the USA in Boston. I met Packie Bonner on the plane and he told me where they were staying in Boston.

The following day I took my sister Lynda to the hotel hoping to meet the players. In the foyer I met Peter Byrne from The Irish Times who was over to cover the game. He told me Jack was at our FAI Cup final win and as we were speaking, the team arrived in from a training session. Peter called Jack over and introduced me. Jack asked “if I had my boots with me”. There was of course only one answer. Niall Quinn had pulled out of the squad at the last minute and there were only two strikers in the squad, Tony Cascarino and David Kelly.

Jack then invited me to join the squad, and Mick Byrne, the team physio, took me up to Mick McCarthy's room to introduce me to the captain. The following day I trained with the squad and had a pre-match meal before heading to Foxborough Stadium.

The game was attended by 51,000 mainly Irish supporters. Ireland led 1-0 and I was going through a warm-up routine when the USA equalised. I didn’t get to play, and so did not get an Irish cap, but I was grateful for the opportunity and lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

Jack Charlton changed the lives of so many Irish people bringing joy and happiness, but his legacy will be that he changed the mindset of players and administrators to create a successful team.


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