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Added by shotswerefired on 1 Jan 2019 11:16
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In Praise of John Charles

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“Incomparable… John wasn’t only one of the greatest footballers who ever lived. He was one of the greatest men ever to play the game.”

"Where was he in the world's pecking order? He was right up there with the very, very best - Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, Di Stefano, Best. But how many of them were world-class in two positions? The answer to that is easy - none."


"I would say he was from another world because of his human qualities. John was one of the most loyal and honest people I have ever met, a very special person. He managed to keep the whole team united, and any quarrels or arguments quietened down as soon as he appeared on the pitch or in the dressing room."


"If I were picking my all-time great British team, or even a world eleven, John Charles would be in it."

A summary of why he picked Charles as his number one Greatest British Football Player: "Big John was not just a great footballer – he was TWO great footballers. A genuinely world-class centre forward and a genuinely world-class centre-half, Charles was also Britain’s finest footballing export. He was adored at Juventus and is still revered to this day in Turin, where he is known as King John. When Juventus signed Charles from Leeds in 1957 for a world-record £65,000 he was one of the first British players to move abroad – and no other Brit has ever enjoyed the same levels of success on foreign fields.

Charles netted 93 goals in 155 matches in the League which boasted the meanest defences in the world – despite often playing at the back. In five years in Turin, he won the Scudetto five times. He is also Leeds’s second highest scorer of all time – despite having also played at full-back and in midfield for the Elland Road. Idolised in Wales, Italy and the People’s Republic of Yorkshire, Big John was quite possibly the greatest all-round footballer the world has ever seen."

"He was the greatest header of a football I have ever seen and that was when they were as heavy as cannonballs."


"I had just arrived at Elland Road and they were all talking about John Charles. He was quick, he was strong, and he could run with the ball. He was half the team in himself. He was tremendous."

"(He was) the best header of a ball I ever saw in my life. He was a team unto himself. He was quick and a very, very strong runner."


"If you had 22 players of John's calibre, there would be no need for referees – only time-keepers."


"Everything he does is automatic. When he moves into position for a goal chance it is instinctive. My feet do not do my thinking for me as they do for a player like John Charles. That is why I can never be as great a footballer as he."


“Do you know, whenever I look at John it feels as though the Messiah has returned.”


When asked who was the best centre-half he played against, he replied: "John Charles." He gave the same answer when asked "who was the best centre-forward."


"He must have had his problems in adapting to life in a new country but, whenever I saw him, he had a smile on his face. He was the perfect gentleman."

William John Charles, CBE (27 December 1931 – 21 February 2004) was a Welsh international footballer who played for Leeds United and Juventus during his 25-year playing career. Rated by many as the greatest all-round footballer ever to come from Britain, he was equally adept as a forward or defender due to his strength, pace, technique, vision, ability in the air and eye for goal. He has since been included in the Football League 100 Legends and was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame.

He was never cautioned or sent off during his entire career, due to his philosophy of never kicking or intentionally hurting opposing players. Standing at 6 feet 2 inches, he was nicknamed Il Gigante Buono – The Gentle Giant.

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In Praise of... (19 lists)
list by shotswerefired
Published 5 years, 5 months ago



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