RIP Gentle Giant :( (1 Viewer)

venom

Senior Member
Oct 22, 2003
1,288
#1
Juventus legend John Charles has died at the age of 72 following a heart attack in his last trip to Italy.

The Welshman was still very much loved by all generations of football fans and became known as the ‘Gentle Giant’ after ending his career without a single booking or red card.

Charles had suffered from ill health in recent years and fell victim to an aneurysm in the aorta during his last trip to Italy in January, just before he was due to make an appearance on RAI television programme ‘La Domenica Sportiva’.

He underwent two separate operations at Milan’s San Carlo Hospital, including emergency surgery to remove part of his right foot due to complications linked to circulation.

Juventus rushed to his aid and provided two of their medical staff and a private jet to fly him home to Britain, where he died in Wakefield in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The former Leeds United striker joined Juventus for a then record fee of £67,000 in 1957 and went on to score 93 goals in 155 games.

HHe formed a marvellous partnership with Giampiero Boniperti and Omar Sivori, becoming Capocannoniere in his first season with 28 strikes.

Charles helped the Bianconeri to three Scudetto titles and two Coppa Italia’s before joining Roma for the 1962-63 campaign.

He also starred for his country with 15 goals in 37 games, including the 1958 World Cup, while in recent years he was awarded the CBE and became Vice-President of the Welsh FA.

(channel4.com)

RIP
 

wimpy

New Member
Feb 21, 2004
1
#4
Plaease forgive me for coming onto your forum, but as a Leeds United supporter I feel that with the sad news regards the passing of King John Charles we have alot in common. Without doubt the greatest export from these shores. My thoughts and condolences go to his family and friends around the world. RIP John you have earned it. :down:
 

nina

Senior Member
Feb 18, 2001
3,717
#6
Gentle Giant

John Charles, the footballer the Italians dubbed Il Gigante Buono - The Gentle Giant - holds a unique record. He’s the only British player to have been crowned Capocannoniere. The Welsh international forward topped the Italian scoring chart in 1957-58 – his very first season in Italy with Juventus. That season Charles, one of several outstanding footballers to hail from Swansea, helped Juventus win their first Scudetto for six years. He was also named Italy’s Player of the Year.

Charles started as a centre-half with Leeds, but when Jack Charlton emerged he was thrown into attack and replied by scoring 30 goals in 1952-53. In his second season as a forward he struck 42 times, which is still a club record. The Turin giants paid Leeds United £65,000 for Charles’ services - at the time a British record - and it was money well spent.
During his five years at the Stadio Comunale, Charles helped the Bianconeri win three League titles and two Italian Cups. In 150 appearances the steelworker’s son netted 93 goals, an outstanding tally considering how formidable Italian defences were in the late 50s and early 60s.

His partnership with the little Argentinian genius Omar Sivori was the most feared in Serie A. "We got together and it just happened. We gelled. It was a classic big man-small man partnership," says Charles, who now lives in West Yorkshire. "I settled in quite quickly. I didn’t get homesick. I think it was down to leaving Swansea for Leeds when I was 16. Going from Leeds to Italy was nothing in comparison. I learned to speak Italian as well. That was important because you’ve got to get on off the pitch as well as on it."

Before Charles’ arrival La Vecchia Signora were in disarray, finishing ninth in 1956-57 - disastrous by their high standards. Milan, Inter and Fiorentina had overtaken them. "They brought in a few players, myself included, and we won the championship," recalls Charles. "To be honest, I never thought we’d win it in my first season."

Because of his scoring exploits and impeccable behaviour on the pitch, Charles became the idol of the Juventus tifosi and one of the most respected figures in world football. Il Gigante Buono won his first Coppa Italia in 1959, both Lo Scudetto and the Coppa Italia in 1960, and another Scudetto in 1961.

The 50s marked the beginning of the Serie A renaissance which has lasted to this day. Most of the world’s finest players plied their trade in Italy’s top Division, players like Sivori, Boniperti, Angelillo, Skoglund, Liedholm, Hamrin, Altafini and Schiaffino. But Charles stood head and shoulders above them all.

"They defended differently in Italy," adds Charles. "The defenders would mark you close, very close, I can assure you. They knew all the tricks. If you went for a corner one defender would step on your feet and another would pull your shirt. But there were some class defenders in Italy."
The Welshman had no problems with the strict regime imposed by Italian clubs and is seen as Britain’s finest soccer export. Other great British players - namely Jimmy Greaves, Denis Law and Joe Baker - tried their luck on the peninsula, but failed to adjust to the almost monastic lifestyle. "You’ve got to acclimatise," says Charles. "It’s no good going out there and hoping someone speaks English. You must learn the language. The big problem is homesickness, so you’ve got to put yourself about and meet people."

Financially, Charles did well playing in Italy. In British football the maximum wage ruled, but in Serie A the sky was the limit. "If I remember correctly, when I left Leeds I was getting paid £18 a week. I hadn’t heard of Juventus. I knew nothing about the place. But the money was a pull. The main thing was the signing-on fee - you got a nice signing-on fee. Then there were the bonuses. If we beat teams like Torino, Inter and Milan we would get £100, £200 maybe even £300."

Charles lived luxuriously in the hills overlooking Turin with his first wife Peggy and their three young sons - Terry, Melvyn and Peter. "I was looked on as a personality, like a film star," he smiles. "It was mad out there really. You’d go into the city and people would come up to you for autographs. They’d follow you as well, just to look at you. I didn’t mind - especially when it was attractive women!"

The Juventus side Charles played in was one of the most impressive ever to grace Serie A with Carlo Mattrel in goal, Corradi, Bruno Garzena and Ferrario in defence, Umberto Colombo, Flavio Emoli, Bruno Nicole and Giampiero Boniperti in midfield and Charles and Sivori in attack.

"I remember the derbies we had with Torino. They were phenomenal. Some people would say they didn’t mind us not winning the League as long as we beat Torino. One Sunday evening I heard these car horns outside my house. I went outside to see what was going on. They were Torino supporters flying their red flags. They wanted to congratulate me on beating their team. I thought that was wonderful."

But Charles never tasted European glory in Turin. At that time La Vecchia Signora failed to win the European Cup which seemed to be the exclusive property of Real Madrid. "Juventus didn’t worry about the European Cup. It was always Lo Scudetto. They liked to show how many titles they won."

Charles lost the fortune he made in Italy long ago. An expensive divorce and a succession of failed business ventures including a sports shop, a baby clothes shop and a pub were to blame.
Today he lives in Birkenshaw, a village on the outskirts of Leeds, with his second wife Glenda. For the last two years he has been fighting cancer of the bladder. He’s currently in remission after receiving radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

"He goes into hospital every three months to have check-ups," says Glenda. "He’s just the same, no different. He’s not at death’s door and he’s not in any discomfort. We’ve got to cope with it. What can you do? The world doesn’t stop because we’ve been told John has cancer. We’ve got to carry on and live day by day."

In 1962, after five years in Turin, Charles decided to return to Leeds. Not even the offer of a £14,000 from Juve could change his mind. He wanted his children to be educated in Britain. He was also unhappy the club wouldn’t release him for international duty. Charles is the greatest player Wales has ever produced yet he was capped only 38 times, although Juve did release him for the 1958 World Cup.

But his return was as brief as it was unhappy. In October 1962 after just 11 appearances he returned to Italy with Roma, but he failed to repeat his Juventus form and in 1963 was sold to Cardiff City where he played as a centre-half. "Rome is a big, beautiful pace, but we couldn’t settle there," he explains. "I found the northern people friendlier than the Romans." Charles continued to play until 1971, as player-manager of Hereford United.
Of all the tributes directed at Charles perhaps the finest was by journalist Don Davies. According to him Charles was "as powerful as Hercules, as authoritative as Caesar." Few will argue with that.

John Charles moved to Italy in 1957 and made huge headlines in Britain. Kenneth Wolstenholme, involved in the dealings, gives his thoughts on the Gentle Giant.

Charles the world’s best all-rounder

The question I am asked most about football is who is the best player I have ever seen. What a question. Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney, Alfredo Di Stefano, Pele, Ference Puskas, Raimon Kopa – I could go on for a whole edition of Football Italia. But what do we mean by the best player? Do we mean the best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder or striker? Surely the best player is someone who could perform equally brilliantly in more than one position, a player who could be a star defender and a fearsome striker.

The only player I know like that is the Gentle Giant from Swansea, John Charles, who plied his trade with Swansea City, Leeds United, Juventus and Roma. John began his career in the Football League as a centre back. He was a rock in that particular position. Tall, a brilliant header of the ball and a strong tackler. He soon attracted the attention of the big clubs and Leeds were the side lucky enough to sign him.

So successful was John in the English First Division that the big Italian clubs began show an interest in him. And in 1955 an agent called Gigi Peronace began became a regular at Elland Road, keeping an eye on Charles for Juventus.

But it wasn’t until 1957 that the big story broke. Juventus wanted Charles and on April 6 John met Peronace for the first time. He was told that Juventus were prepared to pay a large sum of money for his services and four days later Peronace was at Windsor Park, Belfast watching Wales, captained by Charles for the first time, play Northern Ireland. With him was Juventus President Umberto Agnelli. Eleven days later Leeds admitted that Juventus had made a bid and that they would not stand in the way of Charles if he wanted to move.

At the time I was managed by an astute gentleman called Edward Sommerfield. Others in the stable included Eamonn Andrews, Peter West and Harry Carpenter. What we didn’t know was that Edward had advised John Charles on some money making matters outside of football. And on April 17 I got a telephone message from Sommerfield to say he was leaving the next morning to go to Leeds and represent Charles in the discussions about the terms of his transfer and he wanted me to go along with him.

When Edward and I stepped off the train at Leeds a station porter came up and asked me not to let the Italian take our John to Italy. I had to explain that although Teddy was small and dark and could easily be mistaken for an Italian, he was in fact born in Warrington and had come North to ensure fair play for John. Reassured by that the porter took hold of our luggage and smuggled us into The Queens Hotel by the back entrance.

There waiting for us was Charles. All three of us were shown up to room 222, which was to be our headquarters and we were there from half past three until ten o’clock at night discussing every point we could think of. As usual Edward had done his homework. Working in close co-operation with lawyers and accountants, he had found out all about the cost of living in Italy. His contacts had also discovered what other Italian stars were being paid and he had obtained the complete rules of the Italian Federation. He also had with him a translation of the standard form of contract a player is expected to sign.

We had to wait patiently until the two clubs had reached an agreement, something they didn’t do at the first meeting. Then John was asked to meet Mr Agnelli, something he refused to do so without his advisors. What the Italians thought would be a short meeting lasted a full two hours. The Juve party was surprised we knew so much about the Italian set-up and it was in the early hours of the morning that a weary Umberto Agnelli was able to announce to the Press that an agreement had been reached.

So John Charles started the exodus from Britain to England, an exodus which has become a flood because so many players have thought that it is easy to go to Italy and earn easy money. But most of the Brits have failed because they did not follow the advice Charles was given by Edward and which he tried to pass on to the other British players toying with the idea of going to Italy. That advice was that a player will only succeed in Italy if he’s married and speaks Italian - John was married and learnt Italian.

John Charles became a hero in Turin. He was the finest stopper in Serie A and devastating in front of goal – truly a great all-rounder.

STAR RATING 9/10 No player is perfect. But John Charles came close to it thanks to his unique ability to play as a natural goalscorer or rugged defender. Truly an all-time great.

Football Italia
 

Layce Erayce

Senior Member
Aug 11, 2002
9,116
#11
++ [ originally posted by wimpy ] ++
Plaease forgive me for coming onto your forum, but as a Leeds United supporter I feel that with the sad news regards the passing of King John Charles we have alot in common. Without doubt the greatest export from these shores. My thoughts and condolences go to his family and friends around the world. RIP John you have earned it. :down:
welcome to the forums wimpy.
 

epitaph

Senior Member
Feb 16, 2004
582
#20
Juve legend John Charles dies
Football Italia

Juventus legend John Charles has died at the age of 72 following a heart attack in his last trip to Italy.


The Welshman was still very much loved by all generations of football fans and became known as the ‘Gentle Giant’ after ending his career without a single booking or red card.


Charles had suffered from ill health in recent years and fell victim to an aneurysm in the aorta during his last trip to Italy in January, just before he was due to make an appearance on RAI television programme ‘La Domenica Sportiva’.


He underwent two separate operations at Milan’s San Carlo Hospital, including emergency surgery to remove part of his right foot due to complications linked to circulation.


Juventus rushed to his aid and provided two of their medical staff and a private jet to fly him home to Britain, where he died in Wakefield in the early hours of Saturday morning.


The former Leeds United striker joined Juventus for a then record fee of £67,000 in 1957 and went on to score 93 goals in 155 games.


HHe formed a marvellous partnership with Giampiero Boniperti and Omar Sivori, becoming Capocannoniere in his first season with 28 strikes.


Charles helped the Bianconeri to three Scudetto titles and two Coppa Italia’s before joining Roma for the 1962-63 campaign.


He also starred for his country with 15 goals in 37 games, including the 1958 World Cup, while in recent years he was awarded the CBE and became Vice-President of the Welsh FA.


R.I.P John Charles
 

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