The day Leeds United's Big Jack Charlton dressed a poor schoolboy up to the nines in Garforth - YEP letters
The news that Big Jack had passed, one of footballs finest, made for a sad day on Saturday.
Mal Turner, Bramley
I am not going to dwell on that, I have a more uplifting story to tell about the day I met Big Jack.
I am a Garforth lad, Leeds United through and through and have been for 60 years.
I had been expelled from the recently completed Garforth Comprehensive School, luckily my probation officer, bless her, found me a place at Airedale High School, Castleford.
We were poorer than church mice, but luck was with us, Mum managed to get a second clothing grant from Social Services to buy a school uniform. We went, of course, to Big Jack’s clothing shop, Main Street, Garforth, to get kitted out.
It was late February 1969, I was 14 years old, I told Big Jack that I intended to leave school in July as I was 15 in August. I saw a roguish twinkle in Jack’s eye’s, before he said to me,
‘’Well that’ll be a waste of good money lad, buying a school uniform you only need for a couple of months.’’
Big Jack, a dapper dresser himself, went to work on my image giving me the sort of attention I never knew existed. I tried on everything that he recommended, finally settling on what garments I would buy.
I could not work out why Jack kept steering me away from the full-length mirror, I understood when I saw myself fully dressed as he had recommended. The image reflecting at me was one of a smartly dressed young man, nothing like the scruffy urchin who had walked into the shop earlier. I was chuffed.
I bought a very smart double breasted dark blue blazer, two pairs of grey pressed flannel trousers, two button down collar, Ben Sherman-style shirts, four pairs of grey cotton socks, and a pair of black loafers that had only arrived at the shop that morning.
Initially, the thought of going to Airedale High School, a two bus ride trip either way, did not hold any thrills. Big Jack changed that for me. I turned out at my new school as dapper as the Big Man, noticeably confident, looking like I owned the place.
God Bless and thank you Jack. Peace be with you.