Jack Charlton was Bobby Charlton’s big brother.
Bobby Charlton is considered one of the best English footballers of all time.
When Pele put together his team of all-time greats, Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore were the only Englishmen on it.
Even foreign waiters who didn’t speak English could all say one phrase. “Bob-bee Charl-ton”
Usually said smiling and nodding, with the thumb up.
He was a sportsman and a gentleman.
An advocate of fair play and a credit to the game.
His big brother Jack wasn’t like that.
‘Big’ Jack Charlton was a pragmatist.
At Leeds, he pretty much invented the professional foul.
The penalty-kick was designed to stop defenders fouling opposing players in front of goal.
Everyone avoided giving away a penalty.
It was bad sportsmanship
But Jack Charlton thought it made sense.
If they looked certain to score bring them down.
Kick ‘em, grab their shirt, the ref might not see and you might get away with it.
Even if they got a penalty, they might not score from the spot.
It made sense, it was pragmatic.
Jack Charlton knew he wasn’t as good as his little brother Bobby.
He couldn’t depend on his ability.
So he had to use his brains.
And his shoulders, his elbows, and his knees, backing into forwards as they jump.
Whatever it takes.
Whenever Leeds would play Manchester United, Big Jack used to get a phone call from their mum before every game.
She’d say, “Hey you, leave our kid alone. Don’t go kicking lumps out of him again, alright.”
Up against his brother Jack, even one of the best players in the world, Bobby Charlton, needed his mum to defend him.
Jack Charlton knew he was the under dog.
That meant he had to use anything and everything to stand any chance at all.
When he became manager of Middlesborough he taught his players to think like under dogs.
We’re not as good as the rest, so use anything and everything to beat them.
It was said that his players would “run through walls” for him.
Middlesborough was a feared team when Big Jack was in charge.
When it became vacant, he applied for the job of England manager.
The FA didn’t even reply to his letter.
He wasn’t their sort of chap.
Too rough, too crude, questionable methods.
They gave the job to someone much nicer, a gentleman.
And England didn’t even qualify.
But Ireland weren’t so sniffy.
They got Jack Charlton to manage their team.
And Big Jack brought his brand of thinking to the job.
Ireland usually didn’t make it to the World Cup.
The country was too small, too few players to choose from.
But Big Jack did what he always did.
He questioned conventional wisdom.
He didn’t take anything on trust.
He started from scratch and re-read the rules.
He found you didn’t actually have to be born in a country to play for that country.
You just had to have one grandparent from that country.
Suddenly a light bulb went on in Jack’s head.
Pretty much everyone in England has an Irish granny.
That meant he now had virtually every English player to choose from as well as every Irish one.
So Big Jack put his team together.
That year Ireland qualified for the world cup.
And more than that, they beat Italy, one of the best teams in the world.
England fans had to sit at home and watch it on the telly.
Because, thanks to the FA, England didn’t even qualify.
Jack Charlton didn’t accept whatver brief he was given.
He knew he couldn’t afford to be complacent.
So he behaved like the under-dog.
He got creative.
He questioned the brief.
How often do you find yourself in that situation?
You’re given a bad brief, and told not question it.
The planners have asked all the questions.
The account men know all the answers.
The client doesn’t want any input thanks.
Think of Big Jack.
Don’t moan about it.
Find a way to change it.
Jack Charlton was in the England team that won the World Cup in 1966.
He said to the manager Alf Ramsey, “I’m not one of the best players in the country, how come you picked me?”
Alf Ramsey said, “Because you don’t trust Bobby Moore.”
Bobby Moore was one of the best players in the world, and Jack Charlton didn’t trust him.
So he covered his every move in case he did something stupid and lost the ball.
Jack Charlton played on a great World Cup team.
And he built and managed a great World Cup team.
Three lessons about creativity from Big Jack.
Don’t trust anyone to do your thinking for you.
Don’t accept that the brief can’t be changed.
Always believe you’re the underdog.