October 22, 2023


Bobby Charlton's hug with Jack was a pure moment for two tangled brothers: A blurry image of open affection after England's triumph in 1966 was a rare snapshot in a complicated relationship (Jonathan Wilson, 22 Oct 2023, The Guardian)

Neither ever, in hundreds of interviews and public appearances, made much attempt to articulate what that moment is like. And perhaps it is by its nature ineffable. How does it feel to win a World Cup? How can anybody possibly explain that? And that, perhaps, is why that image is so powerful, because it encapsulates, even as the seam on Jack's shorts appears on the verge of splitting, the mingled sense of fatigue and accomplishment.

But it is also significant for two other reasons. First because, however frosty their relationship would become, it shows clearly the fraternal love between them. And second because, although neither surely expected it, that was the moment at which the dynamic of their relationship began to change. Bobby had always been the more talented brother, smarter, better-looking, much better at football. He still had two more years of great success to come, but with hindsight that World Cup final was the moment at which Jack caught him up.

Jack was born nearly two and a half years before Bobby. He was, as Cissie put it, "full of devilment". She soon gave up trying to restrain him, simply dressing him in red to make him easier to find after he had inevitably gone missing. He loved the outdoors and soon took to fishing and poaching. When he got a job at the pit, initially sorting coal on the surface, he would arrive early and set snares for rabbits, selling them on the way home.

Posted by at October 22, 2023 10:05 AM