Football

Eamon Dunphy: 'On Reflection, Ireland Was Lucky To Have Jack Charlton'

Eamon Dunphy: 'On Reflection, Ireland Was Lucky To Have Jack Charlton'

Eamon Dunphy was one of Jack Charlton's biggest critics during the Englishman's time as manager of Ireland. Dunphy had issues with the style of play and Charlton's choice of personnel. He thought there was a better way of playing football than that utilised by Ireland and that there were players not being picked who should have been.

Looking back on the morning following Charlton's death, Dunphy believes Ireland - both the team and country - were lucky to have Charlton.

"Jack Charlton’s contribution to our culture and to our soccer goes beyond tactics," Dunphy told RTÉ Radio 1.

"He gave leadership. It was strong leadership. He believed in a style of play that was crude but very, very effective.

"Leadership is so important. He had no doubts about his way of doing things and he took all doubt out of the players’ minds. More important than anything else, he took the country for ten years on a glorious adventure.

"People have said that 1988 - qualifying for that European Championships and beating England - in some kind of metaphysical way this was a moment that was transformative, a confidence came from it. Now, nobody can prove that and the economists would laugh, but I think there are moments in a nation’s history. And yes, that moment was very, very important."

Dunphy said much of the animosity which Charlton towards him stemmed from a "misunderstanding" during Italia 90.

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"There was a problem when he thought that I said on television that I was ashamed to be Irish, which offended him and indeed everyone who was out there following Ireland in 1990," said Dunphy.

In fact, I didn't say that. That row was based on a misunderstanding.

I was friendly with Jack for the first two years that he was here because John [Giles] introduced me to him and we used to have a jar with him. He got very angry at my criticism, which was football criticism rather than personal.

Dunphy continued:

"Reflecting in a moment like this when he's passed away, I don't think those differences matter. I always found Jack to be a decent guy. He was a good man. He looked after Paul McGrath particularly and got the very best out of Paul who had his troubles even back then.

"Jack has left an indelible imprint on our life, our culture and from a soccer point of view he was a massive evangelical figure, taking [the game] to rural Ireland where it had never been played really. Now some of our best players are from rural Ireland.

"We owe Jack a lot. He was a decent man; a good man.

"He was a World Cup winner, he was a huge character in the game, and on reflection now, I would say we were very lucky to have him."

Picture credits: Sportsfile

See Also: Jack Charlton Hated 'Load Of Rubbish' Cheque Story

PJ Browne
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