President leads tributes to 'Big Jack' on his 85th birthday

President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to Jack Charlton on the occasion of his 85th birthday today.
President leads tributes to 'Big Jack' on his 85th birthday

Former Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton pictured at the Aviva Stadium in 2015. Picture: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Former Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton pictured at the Aviva Stadium in 2015. Picture: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to Jack Charlton on the occasion of his 85th birthday today.

Writing “as a lover of the beautiful game” to the former Ireland manager, the President said: "Under your leadership, Irish soccer fans were allowed to dream.

"For those moments, and for the hope and joy you brought to Irish soccer fans, we will always be grateful.

"As you celebrate your birthday, in unfamiliar but necessary constraints, may I send you my best wishes for you and your family at half time in your ninth decade."

The FAI have hosted numerous video tributes to ‘Big Jack’, with Paul McGrath donning his Irish tracksuit once again and telling his former boss: “I dressed up for you”.

Many of the other heroes of Euro ’88, Italia ’90 and US ’94 have also sent their best wishes, including Mick McCarthy, Kevin Moran, Packie Bonner, Andy Townsend, John Aldridge, Ray Houghton, Alan McLoughlin, Jason McAteer, and, posting his message all the way from Bangalore in India, Terry Phelan.

There were tributes too from legendary backroom staffers, physio Mick Byrne and kitman Charlie O’Leary, as well as from golfer Shane Lowry, comedian Brendan O’Carroll, and dancer Michael Flatley.

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