Mick McCarthy and Niall Quinn have led the tributes to Jack Charlton, the former Ireland manager who died at age 85.
Charlton led Ireland to their first major championship at Euro 88 and to two World Cups in Italia 90 and USA 94.
“I’m sure I’m not the only Irish person who shed a tear or two this morning,” explained Niall Quinn. “I’m devastated. I am finding it very hard to put into words what Jack meant to the whole country, not just to me and to those of us lucky enough to have played for him in an Ireland shirt.”
“Jack Charlton led the band. He brought us, as a players and fans, to places we never thought possible beforehand and gave us so many precious moments. He changed lives. For his players, he gave us the best days of our lives.”
“This news has hit me with a bang. We have so much to be grateful to Jack for and I am truly saddened, like so many others, with this news today. Our thoughts go to Pat and Jack’s family who shared that wonderful journey with us. May he rest in peace.”
Captain when Ireland reached the World Cup quarter-finals at Italia ‘90, Mick McCarthy last spoke to Jack on the day after the great man celebrated his 85th birthday in May.
“I loved the bones of the man, I am devastated with this news and my heart goes out to Pat and the family,” said McCarthy. “Jack’s passing will touch Ireland, England and the football world but the loss to football will be felt in Ireland more than anywhere else”.
“English fans will always remember Jack as one of their World Cup winners in 1966 but what he did with Ireland will, I suspect, mean even more to our fans and the country”.
“He turned a really good team into a team that qualified for tournaments and made an impact at them. He changed my life, he changed everything for all of us who played for Ireland and just look at the memories we have”.
“We will always have Stuttgart and Genoa and Giants Stadium thanks to Jack. That’s how we will remember him, with a great big smile on his face. I know this is a sad day but we will remember the great days as well”.
“I did speak to him very briefly the day after his birthday but it was difficult due to his health. I told him I loved the bones of him that day and I always will.”