Big Jack deserves a statue at Aviva

by Gazette Reporter
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A campaign has been launched to have a statue of football legend Jack Charlton erected outside the Aviva Stadium.

More than one thousand people have signed a petition backing calls for the tribute to the former Republic of Ireland boss, who passed away last Friday.

David Dunne, who runs the Lansdowne Road Facebook page for Ireland football fans, said: “I know there is a statue of Jack down in Cork Airport which is fantastic.

“But we just think that it would be more suitable to have a statue outside the Aviva or Landsdowne Road.

”Because he packed the place out, so many great memories and great times there because of him.”

Tributes flowed for Charlton at the weekend after news of his death at the age of 85 emerged. He was diagnosed with lymphoma last year and had dementia.

The affable miner’s son from the north of England will be forever remembered for bringing the Ireland team to the World Cup for the first time at Italia 90 – and again to the USA tournament in 1994.

Dublin City Cllr Anthony Flynn (Ind) said he had formally proposed that a sculpture of Big Jack be commissioned in the capital.

The Hill 16 pub was one of the first to extend its sympathies to Charlton’s wife Pat and his family, posting photos of the big man visiting the Gardiner Street hostelry.

They wrote: “Jack was a real friend to the family helping with the business. He was a gentleman who brought great pride and joy to the customers of Hill 16.”

Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) also posted a photo of Jack lending his support to Swords Celtic as they played Sporting Fingal in the Michael Toft Memorial Trophy to celebrate their pitch opening in February 2010.

He wrote: “Another week and Big Jack would have seen Leeds promoted to the Premiership but I’m sure he went to his rest confident that was going to happen.”

A virtual book of condolence has been opened by Dublin City Council for Charlton, who was made a Freeman of Dublin City during his time as Ireland manager.

Cllr Seamus McGrattan (SF) said: “The Charlton era saw Irish people at home and abroad unite behind a wonderful manager and team in a way that lifted national morale.”

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