John Charles is generally recognised as the greatest player ever
to appear for Leeds United - and is frequently mentioned in the top
ten players ever to play the game. Not a bad achievement for a
young lad from Swansea. John Charles was signed by Major Frank
Buckley, made his league debut at the age of 16, and at 18 years
and 71 days became the youngest ever player to win a Welsh
International cap - a record he held until Ryan Giggs made his
international debut in 1992.
He came to Leeds as a centre-half, and for several years he used
his height and physique to great effect. In 1953, he switched to
playing at centre forward - and scored 42 goals in one season. That
sort of form didn't go unnoticed, and after turning down several
previous offers, the Leeds board finally accepted a world record
fee of £65,000 from Juventus in May 1957 when money was
desperately needed by the club after the uninsured West Stand had
been razed by a fire.
In Italy, the reputation of the Gentle Giant grew and grew. He
won 3 championship medals and an Italian Cup medal with Juve, was
voted Footballer of the Year and made a lasting impression: a
recent poll of Juve fans named John Charles as the greatest foreign
player ever to grace the famous shirt - and with competition from
Michel Platini, that's some accolade. After five years abroad, John
came back to Leeds for a short stay: things didn't work out and he
was soon on his way back to Italy - this time for a year with AS
Roma. He returned to his native Wales for a couple of seasons with
Cardiff City, and had spells in management and coaching with
Hereford, Swansea and Merthyr.
More recently John has been battling against cancer, but was
still seen at Elland Road where many supporters, young and old,
were happy and proud to shake the hand of one of football's
all-time greats. His contribution to the game and his achievements
finally received official recognition in summer 2001 when he was
awarded an CBE. However, there's a growing band of people who think
that was scant reward for such a great player and a wonderful
ambassador for the sport. There's an online petition that you can
sign here to add
your name to the list.
In his last years he battled against cancer and Alzheimer's
Disease, but was still a regular at Elland Road. In January 2004 he
was hospitalised with a heart complaint while out in Italy to
record a TV special. After a couple of operations, he was flown
back to England thanks to Juventus, who provided a plane, doctors
and nurses for the purpose. He was admitted to Pinderfields
Hospital in Wakefield on his return, but there was little they
could do for him and he died in the early hours of the morning on
February 21. It was a sign of the man's great reputation both on
and off the field that club rivalries were put to one side and the
one minute's silence impeccably observed by all 67,000 people as
Leeds faced Manchester United at Old Trafford that afternoon.
Cheers to Rob Flitter for the Juve stats.
Geoff Lockwood says: Had the pleasure of being in John's company
at the home of a mutual friend on Millenium Eve - and shared the
Karaoke machine ! John has an excellent voice and is still the
perfect gentleman - even at 4 o'clock in the morning ! John went as
himself and Glenda went as a fairy - complete with wand ! I managed
to complete the evening ( or morning to be accurate ) by breaking
my ankle, nothing to do with John, unless he was pouring the
K Firminger says: John is the Honorary Vice President of the
Sheffield Sunday Sports League (Currently known as the BML Sunday
Sports League). He presented the League's monthly Merit Awards for
November 1987, October 1992 and March 1994. He was also the guest
of honour when the League staged it's cup final at Sheffield
Wednesday FC's Hillsborough stadium in 1993, becoming the League's
Honorary Vice President at the same time. Although we do not see
John too often, everyone at the League was impressed by the big
man's presence and modesty and it was very easy to see how he
gained the name of the 'Gentle Giant'. We are extremely grateful
that John agreed to allow his name to be associated with our League
and his reward of a CBE was long overdue for a man that should
still be considered as Britain's most successful footballing
Peter Moore says: supported leeds for over 65 years, John was
the best ever in my opinion. Saw him only a few months ago at a
sports evening, he is still a giant in more ways than one. If only
he was in his prime today and playing for Leeds. Viduka can't lace
Glyn Jones says: I saw him play against Everton, at Goodison,in
his first season. He was up against Dave Hickson and Hickson
flattened him in the first few minutes. I thought that, with that
size, he'd kill Hickson. Instead he played him off the field. At
the end, the crowd waited for him to go off and applauded
spontaneously. I think he was 17 at the time. The greatest player I
David Bevan says: Being a native of Swansea but only 41 years of
age I never had the pleasure of seeing John play but my father
assures me he was undoubtedly the best. He recently was presented
with a special award for services to Welsh sport and on March 3rd
will receive the Freedom Of The City Of Swansea. My only question
is "Why didn't this happen 20 or 30 years ago?" especially when you
consider that sporting "may be's" are appearing regularly on "This
Is Your Life".
Bill Blakesley says: I am a Wolves supporter, I saw John Charles
play at the Molyneux in the late 50's when I was a kid. He played
centre forward in the first half, scored two goals, then went to
centre half to stop a great Wolves team. Great Great player!!
Macxz says: I think that John Charles has had little reward for
his immense contribution to the game of football. I welcome the
online petition to have him knighted, but I very much doubt whether
an Englishman would have been treated as such. Other people have
been knighted before him who in my opinion are lesser men. Whatever
accolade he is given, he will always remain the King of Turin.
Forza John Charles!
Don Bould says: I remember one game I believe John was playing
at centre half, when an opponent fouled him and John just walked up
to him, stuck his chest out and the player went flying on his back.
John Charles was the greatest player I ever saw. PS - are there any
videos of John playing in Italy etc?
David Pearce says: without doubt Wales' greatest player and a
fine ambassador for soccer, Wales and Leeds United. I recently
wrote to several past and present Welsh internationals and 'Sir'
John was the only one to reply - with signed photo - thanks.
John Turner says: I saw John Charles play against the London
clubs back in the Fifties. He was the greatest player at that time.
Later I thought Duncan Edwards was his equal. He would be on my
world team at centre half.
John Scott says: I had the
pleasure of playing alongside John Charles at Leeds. You say he was
in the top ten players of all time. I would go further and say he
was arguably the best of all time.
Bill Birch says: I saw the great man play against my home team
Bury at Gigg Lane. Must have been 1954/55 he scored a hat trick!
The result was 4-4 draw. I will never forget one goal he scored
with his head, he actually bent it into the far corner of the net a
la Beckham .The goalkeeper for Bury that day was Lew Goram, Andy's
dad. The hair at the back of my neck still stands up when ever I
think of John Charles today no amount of money could buy him.
Ian Gledhill says: In September 1999 I played in a football
match to mark the fiftieth birthday of Brian Clarke, an old friend
and teammate who had played with distinction for Upper Armley OB,
Leeds Athletic and Real Santos in the sixties and seventies before
going off to live and work in the United States.
Big John had been invited along to 'kick off' as well as add some
football sophistication to the event.
I will not bore you with the details of the match. The main point
of this entry on John's page is to recount a story that made my
dad's day. I had taken him along to watch and to renew his
acqaintance with some of the lads from my (far off) playing days.
My dad, Bernard Gledhill, was born in Morley in 1926 and was one of
thousands of his generation (certainly in Leeds) who considered
that any similarity between John Charles and other professional
footballers was purely coincidental. His view was that John was the
greatest. In simple terms, he thought that there never had been,
and that there never would be anybody else like him.
One of the other lads must have picked John up from his home and
taken him to the match that day. All I know is that in the Colton
clubhouse after the match I was approached to drop him off at home
The 'big man' had been terrific company in the club and continued
to be so on the journey home when my dad shared the back seat with
his hero. John was full of tales from his playing days. We enjoyed
one in particular. It relates to his hat-trick against Brentford in
1952. The following Monday, crossing the cinders at the back of the
(now) West Stand on his way into training, John had 'bumped into'
the Chairman who was hurrying from the ground. The Chairman stopped
John, told him that the three goals had been wonderful to see and
that he had virtually won the match for Leeds on his own. The score
had been 3-2. He went on to invite John to call at the petrol
station across Elland Road after training to fill his car up on the
club account. John protested saying very graciously that he would
not be able to do that. The Chairman insisted but told John to keep
it from the other lads - he didn't want it known that John was
getting any 'star' treatment. John protested again, saying "Mr
Chairman, I can't do that. I haven't got a car!"
It had been a great afternoon. The additional passenger on the way
home made it an extra special one for my old man. He died in July
2001 after a long illness. He never forgot his journey with the man
who he thought to be the best footballer that has ever lived.
Rik Unwin says: I remember the headline of the Leeds evening
newspaper when John Charles played his last game before leaving for
Juventus: "ADIOS MAESTRO" in letters 6 inches high. A fine tribute
to one of the greatest footballers of all time.
Colin S. jeffrey says: Saw John play in 1957 at Elland Road.
Also several times in 1962-3. If you are interested in Leeds United
history - try the site at www.geocities.com/twelveatthetop. It's
about the great seasons from 1963-4 to 1974-5.
Len Allbrighton says: Since I was a boy and I am now 59, I have
supported Leeds United, I am a Londoner, but my hero footballer was
the great John Charles so that made me support Leeds, I have never
been to Ellend Road but one day would like to. The only footballers
I feel that could be spoken of in the same sentence are Stanley
Matthews and Pele. He was also the mainstay of the great Welsh team
of the 1950's with his brother Mel. I believe he was playing for
Leeds at Fratton Park, Portsmouth where I saw my first Div. 1 match
in the early 50's.
Kevin Wilkinson says: I met John Charles last year, before the
Wales v Italy match, at Cardiff's Holiday Inn. I shook his hand,
had my photo taken with him, got his autograph,and unashamedly
carried his case for him he was the absolute gentle giant he has
always been known as otherwise I would have carried him all the way
back to Leeds on my back
Mike Haswell says: I have had the pleasure to meet John on
several occassions and have always found both he and Glenda real
people. The first time was at Cardiff City AFC's Centenary dinner,
ithen had dinner with him following that he was very entertaining
and loved recollecting stories from his football days her and in
Italy. i then went to watch Juventus in Italy, the respect he is
shown there puts Britain to shame. i met up with him again recently
and will be doing so again in the next few weeks,every time i meet
him i know we shall exchange many tales of sport.He is one of the
Uk's sporting legends.
Billy Craig says: did John play in a friendly against Celtic in
57? I think Celtic won 2-1 and I think Jackie Charlton as a young
boy played also ?
chris says: I went to buy John Charles's autobiography last week
at Waterstones in Leeds. As I picked up a copy and looked at it, i
heard a voice behind me say "Don't buy that, it's rubbish" when i
turned around, to my suprise there was the man himself laughing
Simon Moorcroft says: John Charles is a legend in Italy, and now
more so in Wales, however, in the house of my friend Ken Williams
and also Albert Derrick who in fact was John's first signing at
Hereford he is quite simply the finest footballer of all time. Not
only was he built like a god he also played like one, to be the
best centre forward in the world and also the greatest centre half
is a feat i dont think we shall see in the modern game. Although i
would say his highest skill was his humility and behaviour both on
and off the pitch. How many of today's footballers could reach John
Charles at any level.
Neil Upham says: I saw him play whilst at Cardiff City the
world's greatest utility player centre half/centre forward/the no 4
shirt for Juventus, what would he cost today - 100 million without
Steph Carter says: I had the privelege of watching John Charles
in my first ever football game- Hereford United v Chelmsford City
in late 1966, and then for 3 1/2 seasons after that. even in the
twilight of his career, with me as a 6 year old lad, i could see
that this was no ordinary footballer. I remember looking with awe
at size and muscularity of his neck, and wondering why he could
head the ball as hard as many players could kick it. in those
southern league days it almost got to the point where a free kick
outside the box was as good as a penalty, as, providing the cross
was accurate, there was only one place the ball was going once it
met John Charles' head.
Chris Callard says: Can anyone please tell me how I could get in
touch with John Charles or his publishers? I bought my dad his
autobiography but missed the book signings through some family
troubles. I really would like to either get the book signed or
obtain an autographed picture of some sort. I have tried through
lufc.com but they ignored me so I am now trying other avenues. You
can contact me on: wellardcallard _at_ hotmail.com.
Peter Rees says: I am a Welshman from Swansea and I would dearly
like to meet John Charles in person can anyone make this
Terry Woods says: I knew John or "Charlo" as everyone called him
in Cwmbwrla when we were kids. I also knew Mel slightly better.
Both were football mad in those days. I wonder if they remember
John Protheroe who was also a natural player. He lived two doors
from me in Stepney St. When John came back after his Leeds trial it
amazed me to see how they had built him up to the giant he is
today. He was a gentleman as a young lad and has been ever since.
Being a Cwmbwrla boy (I,m now 70) Iam very proud to have known the
Charles brothers. The last time I saw them both was plying for the
All Stars in Chepstow. For charity of course. I've got John's book.
Pleased to see he mentions Lenny Walker and Terry Jones. Ask John
if he remembers my cousin Pauline Williams. She has sadly passed
away. Good Luck in the future John. Terry Woods originally of
Stepney St now living in Caldicot near Chepstow
chris cox says: are there any videos of John Charles playing the
game, anything from Italy?
Jon says: John Charles has been nominated into the final 100 on
100 Welsh Heroes have
a look and vote for the great man.
Carta Domenico says: I am a fan of Charles in Italy. I desire
VHS film of him. Excuse me for bad English. Jabba says: I'm not
aware of any specific John Charles films out there. There's a bit
of grainy footage from some of the Welsh games occasionally
replayed on TV over here but your best bet would be looking at any
videos of the history of Juve.
David Camilleri says: I recently bought an autobiography of John
Charles and was impressed by the man. I am a Juve fan and although
I don't remember John playing, his legendary status lives on not
just for his scoring records but his amazing character and I must
say he has certainly inspired me with his great sportsmanship. Can
anyone help me to contact him maybe email.
Brian says: I won a bottle of champagne in a Times competition
about Bobby Charlton's World XI. Bobby left John out. I wrote in
John's support and won the champagne. I had the pleasure of
presenting it to the great man at Waterstone's in Cardiff.
Unfortunately, I arrived too late to join the queue to get a book
for signature! But I am content to have shaken hands with the King
of Soccer. I remember John playing at Cardiff, perhaps past his
very best at that stage. But what skill, presence, leadership,
positional sense, humility and such grace - for such a big man he
had the step of a ballerina. I know that he remains too much of a
gentleman to cringe as many do at the obscenities acted out both on
and off the pitch by some of todays premiership 'performers'. The
majority, as pampered social misfits, could not grace the same
pitch as the greatest footballer of them all.
Trevor John Williams Hall says: John Charles was my hero when I
was a schoolboy in London. I finally saw him play in 1964. The
Sixties Spurs fans used to wonder why he was so good when they had
just won the double. Now I live in Vancouver hardly anyone has
heard of him. Even whitecaps players.But those of us he know their
football know that he is the greatest player to ever play the
glenn stowell says: just like to say get well soon john
gerald harris says: ok me to ninian park to see wales play
scotland (1958?) to see the great one play in one of his rare
appearances on welsh soil. we left early from a packed high st
station and i wondered why so early for a 45 minute journey, my
father said"because charles is playing". on the way to the ground
the massive crowd confirmed it. everywhere you looked there were
pictures being sold of john charles amongst the rattles and
programmes, all the talk was of john charles and i realised that
the probable record attendance (i believe in excess of 62,000)was
down to him. just before the game many children my age were passed
to the front and lifted on to the red ash track around the pitch
due to the massive crushing in the ground. these are the players i
remember in that game, jack kelsey, trevor ford, ray daniel, cliff
jones, ivor allchurch, terry medwin, mel charles, alan harrington,
derek sullivan, mel hopkins, ron stitfall and john wore the #8 and
scored with ford in a 2-2 game. scotland had george young, tommy
younger, lawrie reilly. were these also there - willie fernie,
bobby mitchell, eric caldow, gordon smith, eddie turnbull, dennis
law ?? the memory gets a bit foggy at 60, maybe i've made a few
mistakes here, always glad to be corrected. but the point is, it
was all about john charles because we all knew we had to take our
chance when we could to see him. what an atmosphere! 46 years later
and the hairs still stand up on my neck when i realise how a nation
held such a man in such esteem, and with good reason. a final
quote. on vacation in moscow in 1972 an italian in our hotel
recognised my accent and asked do i know john charles,
unfortunately no i said but i certainly know of him, and he replied
without a second thought, "never let anyone tell you charles was
'one' of the greatest, he was 'the' greatest, i saw him at his peak
because i'm from turin" i often wonder how i would react if i met
Gerald Harris says: what are the chances of getting any film or
video of john charles ?
giancarlo cenciarini says: i had the plasure to see the great
john in italy.we still adore him not only for his skills but for
his humility and exemple.the best ambassador for the sport. forza
Frank Mascitelli says: I have lost track of John Charles. I have
known him for many years, from when he was in Italy to the time he
spent in Canada. I desperately need his phone number in Leeds, I
want to call him since I have found out he is not well. I would be
gratefull if you could email me his phone number.
malcolm toft says: To the greatest player I ever saw kick a
football.Get well soon.
Tony Farinacci says: Big, gentle John ! Was the best striker
that Juventus ever had ! I remeber him, when I was a kid, I used-to
always admire him with fascination, for his strenght and stamina !
He was a Champion with stature and impact on us fans ! Us, Juventus
fans, we still love him very dearly ! Bye Bye John !! We love you
forever ! Tony !
Tony says: Remembered today February 21,2004 on the sad news of
the Great Mans demise. So sorry.
Martyn Williams says: R.I.P. King John. Martyn (Swansea)
Amy says: its a shame hes gone. Doh if ppl r like me they will
have great respect 4 him. Did he just die of old age do u
bob harrison says: Please settle an argument between my wife and
myself.I say John made a recording of "Sixteen Tons" at the time he
played for Juve.She said it didn't happen. Jabba says: it's true.
According to his autobiography, when he was in Italy he was
persuaded to sing a couple of songs which were taped and released
Jim Webster says: My condolences to all John's fans across the
pond. A great man with incredible integrity has been lost.
Ian Laschke says: I met John Charles, Ray Daniel and Eddie
Holliday at Guildford City when they were playing for Hereford in
the Southern League. An official had got the players autographs for
me on my programme with the exception of Ray Daniel's. The three
great men were talking together and I waited a short distance away.
Eventually they asked if they could help - I said yes, would Ray
Daniel be kind enough to autograph my programme - they all had a
good laugh and when I asked why, they explained that nobody ever
asked for any of their autographs except for that of John Charles'.
It was a privelege to be part of a unique moment!
Peter Lyon says: When I was a schoolboy(in the 1950s) at Leeds
Central High School which was opposite what is now the Merrion
Centre, we had our sports lessons and played football and cricket
at West Park in Headingley. One afternoon we had the incredible
opportunity to see John Charles in person. Someone at the school
must have known him I suppose, but he had come to do a little
coaching job. I can still hear him shouting on to the pitch
"Where's that winger!!!?" among other comments. Great memories of a
great man. May he rest in peace.
Ted Creedon says: great bloke watched his brother Mel playing
for haverfordwest. sadly missed
Glenn Simpson says: John Charles was a true gentleman. I had the
privelege to meet him many times at Elland Road. He was a frequent
attendee of Leeds games and when asked for his autograph always
provided it with a smile. It was a great shame that a man of his
footballing stature was not recognised at a much higher level in
the new years honours lists. The man should have been knighted and
better appreciated in Britain as one of the true greats of the
Royston Whiteoak says: I started watching Leeds United in 1955
as a 17 year old.remember the stand burning down and regreted
forever the reason to sell one of the greatest ever players to come
from the U.K. A wondreful player at either centre half or centre
forward. I remember seeing him once score a goal with his head with
more power than most players could generate with thier feet. Saw
the game when he came back with Juventus to play Leeds,as part of
the deal for him to go there,my first sight of foriegn football
,what a revalation. Enrico Sivori in particular,hope the spelling
is right,his skill on the ball was unbelievable. A GREAT FOOTBALLER
sadly missed by all football supporters of my generation. My
sincere condolences to to all his family.
Sam Leicester White says: Sweet Dreams John. Pure Legend
Phil Hopton says: My dad has grown up as a leeds fan, with John
Charles being in the first side he ever watched back in the 50s.
The best testament I can make to the man is that my Dad (who was
aged 8 at the time) still says that he is the greatest player he
has ever seen or indeed will ever see. Rest in Peace John Charles.
Inspiration to a generation
Lester Stenner says: John Charles came to play against Lincoln
City, I was about 12 years old. I asked Big John for his autograph
which he gave without a flinch, not only that but he took me to the
visitors dressing room and asked all the other players to sign as
well. You wouldnt get that fromto-days over paid, over hyped,
ill-mannered players. John Charles would never cheat, and always
played fair. A giant of a man in all ways, and a perfect gentleman.
What a sad loss to the world in general.
Oliver Corbisiero says: Im from swansea, nd i know her neice. To
learn about his death, gave a tear to my eye. A great player, i, as
a swan, i pay tribute to him. we will all miss you!!!!!!
Beryl Fall (nee Richardson) says: My father was secretary of the
Rothwell branch of the Leeds United Supporter's Club in the early
50's and used to sell programmes at the ground on matchdays. He was
pround to have sold a programme to John on his 21st Birthday. As a
child from the age of 8 until I was a young teenager I had the
pleasur, along with my father) of watching John play for Leeds
United. Condolences to all his family and friends
Vince Tugwell says: As an avid Southampton fan from Wales, I
visited a sporting memorabilia show. John Charles was not even on
the list of guests at the time, I was there to have a shirt signed
by Le Tissier. By the time I got to the show, I seen John Charles
there and it was like a dream come true. I always remember it,
because the hero who I went there for (Le Tissier) I was pushing
out the way to have my picture taken with my brother and the Gentle
Giant. John was one of the friendliest people I could ever meet and
when asked if we could have a photo taken, he was all too happy to
allow this. It felt like I was in the presence of God, a man worth
more than any words. He was sat next to Le Tissier and Mario Kempes
and you could see the respect coming from them both for who is
simply the Greatest player of all time. Best wishes to his family
at this time and to the Leeds fans for always taking him to heart.
As a Welshman, it feels like our country has just had a huge part
of its soul taken away. Rest in Peace Big Man, your memory will
A Houston says: What a fantastic man. Quite simply one of (if
not THE) nicest people i have ever had the fortune to meet. I will
never forget meeting not only a Leeds Utd & Wales legend but a
true legend of the game. I am heartbroken he has gone but he will
NEVER be forgotten. I hope to see some fitting tributes at Elland
Road for the Gentle Giant.
David Cash says: I first met John at the Gomersal Park Hotel in
Birkenshaw, where I live. He was the proprietor at the time.I used
to go in for a pint and a yarn about football. He wasn't really a
business man, but he could tell some great tales, always about
football and mainly about Leeds United. Living in the same village,
I frequently passed the time of day with John, usually at the paper
shop. Goodbye John. You were a great footballer and a great
jim o' reardon says: what happen to john brother mel charles who
was a arsenal player
Steve (Bridgend) says: The greatest player I never had the
privilege to see. Lets hope Swansea council call the new Morfa
Stadium - THE JOHN CHARLES STADIUM for the recognition that this
great man had on football and his home town of Swansea.
David Campbell says: It cost six old pense to get into the
schoolboys pen at Elland Road to see Britain's greatest postwar
player at close range. And with some schoolmates I went to
Rotherham and Hull as Leeds won promotion in 1956. John, of course,
scored twice in that decisive match at Boothferry Park. A national
newspaper once ran a competetion for readers to choose John's
greatest game for the club -- with the man himself judging the
winner. I entered the two goals he scored at Wolves which enabled
Leeds (against all predictions) to win 2-1. He agreed and I got the
season ticket prize. A boyhood hero has gone.
Anthony Barnes says: The likes of John Charles will probably
never grace a football pitch again ,the giant of a man was an
inspiration to many. Wales for sure will never get such a
player.Any professional player,in todays world should be made to
sit and watch what archive footage we have of him ,and learn from
it. As for the worlds greatest players ,he was in my view in the
top three in the all time greats, without doubt the greatest player
ever to put on a welsh shirt. Its probably inevitable that he will
be given a posthumus knighthood, butsadly its to late ,he should
have received a knighthood the year he hung up his boots. He has
sadly gone to a better world ,but his name will never be
forgotten,hes a living legend ,a giant among men, his name will
live in football for eternity . Goodnight ,godbless you John
Peter Kelsey says: I had met JOHN CHARLES on numerous occasions
and was deeply saddened by his death as he was one of my father's
best friends and was certainly the MOST GENTLE GIANT i've ever
met.My father played alongside him in the Welsh International Team
and held him in such HIGH REGARD.
David beynon says: No more can be said than what has allready
been said. But isn't it funny that it takes the death of JOHN
CHARLES - "CHARLO" - for his home City, Swansea to begin to
recognise the talent that he had. Thank you LEEDS and especially
JUVENTUS for recognising that talent. A Swans supporter
davide fiore says: KING JOHN WILLIAM CHARLES IS GONE,THANKS OF
HEART CHAMPION! The passing away of John Charles is united to the
regret of not to have been able to know him in person in time and
to thank him for how much has given to the Italian soccer and is a
news that I would have preferred not to know ever, because an
immortal champion should not die. Simply being 37 years old from
the stories of the people that saw him and known him, I didn't
realize an other man in sporting area and precisely in the world of
the soccer, that has done a such good example when he played. Never
been booked or expelled on field, nor in the Leeds where he marked
153 goals in 8 seasons, nor in the Juventus where played for 4
years scoring 105 goals and do not even in the Rome where played
for 1 year and marked 4 goals with just 10 presences. We should be
lucky or regret that juventus players didn't learn much from him
otherwise we would be all juventus fan now.He was the most glorious
foreigner gained in Italy that ended to give the Old Lady the first
star and now the Juventus besides the style lost its greater player
and representative of a soccer that is died, I say this because a
lot of newspapers and televisions make note that Charles was
juventino until the end of its life and instead I am secure that he
felt in love of all our soccer and his enterprises should be
remembered more than his teems. I am really sad but I know that
King John now is a star between the stars of the soccer and up
there will have reached the champions of the Great Turin, the Rome
president Dino Viola and many other players and sporting people,
Italians and foreigners, that excited us with the game of the
soccer, without compromises, doping and is an example to follow.
Besides dying on february 21 2004 I will not be able to forget him
because in this date I lost my dad Ferdinando on february 22 1985
who was a great international and Torino fan and this date will be
engraved on my heart. Our condolences go to the Charles family
Charles, to the wife Glenda, to the sons Terry and Melvin, to its
relatives and friends and the grief of all of the fans of any
Italian squad and foreign countries that has loved like me John,
great man and great champion! I pray you John continuously to smile
us from the paradise and prays for changing soccer again to make it
genuine like in your times when you played it. Good bye John!
Davide Fiore p.s. From your depart I will support Leeds for your
remembering until my very last day in this life.
Tommy Mooney says: I saw him play just once. It was for an
Italian League representative side against the Football League, on
a winter's evening at Highbury , London. It may have been in 1959
or 60 ? He intercepted a pass in his own area and playing the
"one-two" twice at least, he ran the full length of the pitch and
fired home a goal. He was just magnificent. Can't remember if he
was playing centre half or had just dropped back from centre
forward. His skill was so silken and apparently natural and gave me
the idea that he could have repeated the effort at will.
davide fiore says: ROMA team and fans would like to become
friends between you and us remembering John Charles the Gentle
Giant who played here in 1962-63 and scored 4 goals being a great
example of british style. www.lupocattivo.net
Brian Watkin-John says: a great person and sportsman. i did not
see him play but met once at cardiff city in mid 60s a gentleman a
great loss to football and wales.
craig davies says: He was the best welsh footballer of all
davide fiore says: please could you help me finding a vhs
containing John Charles on Itv of 27/2/2004? I can pay for it...
C'mon Charles, C'mon Leeds!!!
Steve Wilkinson says: I saw John Charles play when he returned
to Leeds, in 1962 and, to be honest, thought he was good but
wondered what the fuss was about. I then saw him next play in 1967,
for Hereford against an RAF team, at RAF Credenhill. He hit the
ball from just inside his own half, like a rocket in a straight
line, into the back of the RAF net. To this day I've never seen
such power, not Peter L. Bobby Charlton nor Hasselbank. I later met
him at his hotel in Gomersal. He kindly agreed to the inevitable
photograph whereupon he leaned forward onto the reception counter,
so as not to stand over me in the shot. (I'm 5'11'')It was a nice
touch. Peace be with him and his family and friends.
Peter Rees says: About 12 years ago I was working at the BP Oil
terminal in Swansea .At three'clock in the morning a foreign tanker
berthed alongside a jetty. A foreign seaman leaned over the ship's
rail and asked me directions for Swansea . I pointed to the distant
twinkling lights and gave directions. He explained in his broken
English that he was was an Italian from Monte Casino .I then asked
him why he wanted to visit Swansea and he simply said " John
Charles " .I was greatly saddened to hear of John's death and not
ashamed to say that tears flowed and they are nearly starting as I
am compiling this. He was for me the greatest footballer that
Britain ever produced
Graham Jones says: I am thinking of writing a one man play of
about three quarters of an hour about John Charles. Would there be
any interest in it, do you think?
Graham says: My hero! Just the best footballer and gentleman we
have been blest with.
Ian Fry says: I was lucky enough to see the first game John
Charles played for Cardiff City in 1963. There was a large crowd,
big expectation and huge excitement. All eyes were on John, as the
teams walked out... I have few memories of the game but two moments
I recall, both involving goals and both involving John Charles! The
first was an own goal! Somehow John was clearing the ball and
somehow the ball skidded into the net...! A bemused silence fell
over the ground...I remember seeing him grimace, and shrug his
shoulders and I think smile. Even living legends make mistakes!
Then, in the second half, John more than made amends...equalling
the scores at 1:1 with a magnificent incredible long shot that is
etched forever in my memory... Hearing of his passing is sad
indeed. He truly left his mark, a magnificent football player whose
memory is cherished. I feel privileged to have seen him. As we say,
down here in Australia... "good onya mate!"
'Bunmi Aina says: John Charles .. a giant blessed with abilities
beyond superlatives. Rest in peace.
Graham Thomas says: My memory of John Charles is seeing him play
a Welsh League game in 1963 for Cardiff City, at our small mining
village of Aber/Blaengwynfi at the top end of the Afan Valley known
locally as "The Cape" Gwynfi Welfare v Cardiff City Reserves was an
evening kick off and John Charles played at centre half and 16 year
old John Toshack played at centre forward,the result was a 1-1
draw, no mean feat for a small village side,with Toshack getting
Cardiff's goal,I can remember the cheers when on a rare occasion
one of our players (Alwyn Gibbs)managed to win a heading duel with
the great John Charles The most respected footballer of our time on
and off the field
Maria Lucia Calo says: Charles was one of the finest men that
one could wish to meet;secondly the greatest ever footballer
anywhere. If the U.K was not divided into silly states then as a
united country or territory a Charles inspired British side maybe
along with Blanchflower and Mackay would have dominated world
football for decades. Charles,especially in the uncontrollable
Blair kingdom of gangsters and thugs should be even more dear to
the British as regards what he stood for,decency and kindness. A
Bill Currie says: Hi,my name is Bill Currie I am one of Tony
curries brothers,Sarah Lewis wants help with her family tree as she
thinks she is related, if you read this Sarah E mail me.
gary tordoff says: i didnt meet john untill the later days and
what a gentleman to be with he use to say to me when we met up at
boxing matches or after dinner events where have you been boyo he
use to make me laugh with the tales he used to tell me: he was
simply the best
Rita Wood says: He was my hero,and he never refused to sign my
autogragh book,which was an achievement in itself,[as I have over a
100.] He will be missed by many.
Paul Challenor says: I was privileged to meet John Charles on
several occasions, often in the company of John Morgan the
distinguished YEP reporter, and never has the term gentleman/
gentle giant been so apt. As a lifelong Leeds fan I saw John play
but only after his return from Italy. My father in law saw him in
Leeds colours pre-Italy and told me he was the greatest. In the and
on the ground but what a sporting player too. My wife and I said
farewell at Elland Road on the day of the funeral and the memory
and feeling of respect will live with me forever. Thanks for
playing for Leeds.