Leeds United officially name Elland Road East Stand in memory of club legend Jack Charlton

The Whites legend will be part of Elland Road forever.

By Joe Urquhart
Friday, 27th November 2020, 6:17 pm

Leeds United have renamed the East Stand at Elland Road in memory of the club's record appearance maker and World Cup winner Jack Charlton.

Big Jack, as he was affectionately known by those close to him, made a stunning 773 appearances for the Whites during a dedicated one-club career.

His death aged 85 in July sent shockwaves around West Yorkshire and added to a year of suffering for the club, having suddenly lost former players Norman Hunter and Trevor Cherry in the months prior.

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As a player on the field, he was dedicated to Leeds United in every sense, and will now be remembered forever with his name emblazoned across the stadium's tallest stand - a tribute befitting a man who bled Leeds.

Charlton joins fellow club legends Revie, Hunter and John Charles in having a stand named in their honour for their historic contributions in LS11.

Angus Kinnear, CEO at Leeds United, said: “The contribution made by Jack Charlton to Leeds United and the game of football is immeasurable.

“It is only right that we name a stand in his memory, he is an icon.

Leeds United name the East Stand at Elland Road in honour of club legend Jack Charlton. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

“We thank Hisense for giving us the go ahead to name the East Stand after Jack alongside their sponsorship and we are looking forward to the day fans return to Elland Road to celebrate the life of Jack along with Norman Hunter and Trevor Cherry.”

Charlton's service for the Whites spanned 23 years in West Yorkshire, from when he joined as a schoolboy to retiring as a fully-fledged professional.

He became a true legend in a white shirt through his colossal nature on the pitch and his role in the heart of defence during the famed Don Revie glory years in the 1960s and 1970s.

His granddaughter, Emma Wilkinson - who video called the rest of the Charlton family at the official unveiling - told the YEP: "Grandad Jack's 23 years at Leeds helped shape the rest of his life and the rest of his career.

Jack Charlton's granddaughter Emma video calls the Charlton family. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

"He never stopped following Leeds through its ups and its downs. He would always ask how they did and always kept an eye from afar.

"We have been completely overwhelmed by the tributes from people to him since he died. We cannot thank people enough for what they have said, the stories they have shared and the memories they have retold.

"We're very proud that this will serve as a lasting tribute to him for generations to come - not just of what he gave to Leeds but what Leeds gave to him."

Originally from Ashington in Northumberland, he joined Leeds United in 1950 at the age of 15 and was 38 when he exited the club as a world-renowned superstar.

Jack Charlton's son-in-law David (L) and granddaughter Emma (R). Pic: Bruce Rollinson

Charlton initially turned down the advances of the Whites as a youngster, but later opted to take a trial at Leeds instead of attending an interview in Morpeth to join the police as a cadet.

The centre-back celebrated a Second Division title, First Division title, FA Cup, League Cup, two Fairs Cups and a Charity Shield, in which he scored the winner on his 500th appearance, during a stellar career at Elland Road.

Goalscoring was something of a sideline for the defender, who hit the net 96 times for United.

He also earned 35 caps for England, and was part of the 1966 World Cup-winning squad under Sir Alf Ramsey, playing every match as the Three Lions triumphed at Wembley.

Whites Executive Director Paul Bell said: "This year has been terribly difficult for the football club.

"We have lost three of our great players. Jack's death is tragic and a loss felt by the club, the fans and the staff - including the players.

"When we had the opportunity to discuss putting Jack's name on the iconic East Stand at Elland Road it was only fitting we were able to do so.

"What a giant of a man he was. An England World Cup winner, and one of the rare breed of players to spend his entire career at a single club.

"It's only fitting that his name will look down on Elland Road forevermore."