William John Charles was a Welsh footballer who played as a centre-forward or as a centre-back.
35 Facts About John Charles
John Charles began his career at Leeds United, having moved there in 1949 from his hometown club, Swansea Town.
John Charles was equally adept as a defender or a forward, due to his strength, pace, technique, vision, ability in the air and eye for goal.
In 1962, John Charles returned to Leeds, but his time there proved unsuccessful as he was accustomed to the style of play in Italy, and by the end of the year, he had joined Roma.
John Charles moved back to his native country to play for Cardiff City, and ended his career in non-league football in player-manager roles at Hereford United and Merthyr Tydfil.
John Charles was never cautioned nor sent off during his entire career, owing to his philosophy of never kicking nor intentionally hurting opposing players.
John Charles represented the Welsh national team over fifteen years, from 1950 to 1965.
Alongside his brother, Mel John Charles, he was a member of the Welsh squad at the 1958 FIFA World Cup.
Wales manager Jimmy Murphy opined that had John Charles been fit, Wales might have won the match.
John Charles was born in the Cwmbwrla district of Swansea during late 1931.
John Charles made his first team debut as a centre back for Leeds in a friendly versus Dumfries club Queen of the South on 19 April 1949.
John Charles made his league debut against Blackburn Rovers in April 1949, playing at centre-half.
From 1950 until 1952, John Charles was away on National Service with the 12th Royal Lancers at Carlisle.
The army allowed him to turn out for Leeds, but saw to it that he played for them, and in 1952, John Charles skippered his side to the Army Cup.
John Charles was in sparkling form, scoring 29 goals in 42 appearances.
John Charles remains the second highest all time goal scorer for Leeds after Peter Lorimer.
John Charles's debut came on 8 September 1957 against Hellas Verona.
John Charles had been the match-winner in his first three games.
John Charles played in Turin for five years, scoring 108 goals in 155 matches, winning the scudetto three times, and the Coppa Italia twice.
John Charles placed third in the Ballon d'Or in 1959, the highest position for a Welsh footballer.
The respect John Charles earned from Juventus fans was shown when, on the occasion of the club's centenary in 1997, they voted him the club's best-ever foreign player.
The early promise was never fulfilled and John Charles was on the move again a year later.
John Charles left to join Cardiff City where he stayed until 1966, which marked the end of his league career.
John Charles later became manager of Hereford United, Merthyr Tydfil and the Swansea City youth team, and technical director of the Canadian team Hamilton Steelers, who he became coach of midway through the 1987 season.
John Charles first played for the Welsh national team shortly after his 18th birthday.
In total for Wales, John Charles made 38 appearances and scored 15 goals.
John Charles played for the Great Britain team against Ireland in 1955.
John Charles was one of the greatest men ever to play the game.
John Charles was one of the most loyal and honest people I have ever met, a very special person.
John Charles managed to keep the whole team united, and any quarrels or arguments quietened down as soon as he appeared on the pitch or in the dressing room.
In 2002, John Charles became an inaugural inductee to the English Football Hall of Fame.
On 7 March 2018, John Charles had one of Great Western Railway's Intercity Express Trains named after him.
The West stand at Elland Road is named "The John Charles Stand" and the entrance lobby to the Banqueting Suite attached to the back of the stand contains a bust of Charles, in memory of all he did for the club.
In 1988, John Charles married Glenda Vero, who he remained married to until his death in 2004.
John Charles died in Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, early on 21 February 2004.