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Last Updated: Monday, 23 February, 2004, 10:15 GMT
Your tributes to John Charles
John Charles played Wales, Cardiff, Leeds, Juventus and Roma
John Charles: Football's Gentle Giant in action for Juventus
Wales and Leeds football legend John Charles has died at the age of 72.

Widely-acclaimed as one of the finest footballers of all-time, Charles achieved cult status across the UK and Europe, after signing for Juventus in 1957.

Charles may have been feared on the pitch, but he was also well-respected off it, and has been described as a "colossal player and a modest gentleman".

Send in your memories and tributes to the Swansea-born legend, who went on to dazzle fans at Leeds, Cardiff, Juventus and Roma.

Below is a cross-section of your views:


I watched John Charles play on several occasions, he was a magnificant player, excellent in the air, and good with both feet. He was never booked or sent off in the whole of his football career, a true gentleman in every sense of the word. A very modest man who never boasted about his skills. Many of today's players should take a leaf out of his book and act like men.
Lester Stenner, Weston-Super-Mare, UK

I first saw him play for Wales against England. He was the most impressive footballer I ever saw and he dominated the field. I have only recently bought his book and I am very sad to hear the news of his death, a truly great sportsman.
Alan Lewis, London UK

John Charles the gentle giant generated respect awe, fear, admiration and loyalty from colleagues, opponents on and off the field. he will ranked alongside Pele.
Gigi, ramat-aviv, israel

Although he never played for his home town, I think as a fitting tribute they should name the new football stadium that is currently being built in Swansea after him or at the very least one of the stands
Jon Amour, Swansea, Wales

I saw him play against Liverpool and he was admired so much that when a Liverpool player tripped him and he fell badly, that player was booed by the home supporters for the rest of the game.
Glyn Jones, Newark, UK

A great ambassador to the english game. make the top stars of today look little in his boots. RIP
Paul Tredal, Birmingham

John Charles was and will remain a true hero to so many people, and the announcement of his passing has produced an awful sadness. As great a sporting hero as he was, his true greatness was his humility, and along with many, many hundreds of thousands of people the world over I mourn his passing.
Clive White, Kidderminster

I am so sorry to hear of his death. Growing up in Italy during the early 50s we use go to local bar to watch the football games on TV, I will always remember John Charles, Sivori and so on that played for for my team Juventus. My deepest condolences to his family, Wales and teams that he has played for Leeds, Juventus & Roma.
Federico Zerio, Wethersfield, Ct. USA

A true sporting giant whose sublime skills and general demeanor makes sense of why sport means so much to so many people. He'd be in my all time world eleven at either centre half or centre forward. As Wales team mate Terry Medwin summed it up, "He always looked like a Greek god" . On the soccer field he certainly operated on another plane, among the greatest of players. Thanks for the memories John.
David Cross, Leicester

A true great. Not only would he never refuse the smallest child an autograph, but would take time to have a chat with just about everybody. Never booked or sent off in his long playing career, he makes today's overpaid petulent prima donas seem pretty insignificant
Arfon Betws, The Hague, Holland

I have treasured memories as a small boy of watching John Charles play for Leeds in their promotion-winning side of 1955-56. I particularly remember his hat-trick against Fulham. He was an awesome, powerful player but a modest man. I feel lucky to have witnessed him on the football field - his passing is a sad day. My thoughts to his family.
Nick Mason, Kenley, Surrey

I saw him play against Liverpool and he was admired so much that when a Liverpool player tripped him and he fell badly, that player was booed by the home supporters for the rest of the game.
Glyn Jones, Newark UK

As my father told me and as I have told my children, if you want to know what a true gentle man and sportsman is then read and learn all you can about John Charles. I can think of no player whose death has sadden me quite so much. My condolences go to his family and friends
Bleddyn Pugsley, Chepstow, Wales

I can remember when he left for Juventus in 57 and what a shock it was to all of Britian. You'll be missed by all lovers of the beautiful game.
Rex Hopkins, USA

I had the pleasure to see Big John play at Club and International level, a true Gentle Giant was he, you will never die in my eyes Big John. Lots of love to your family my thoughts are with you
Dave Newman, Wales

I can still remember the disapointment I felt as a young boy going to see him play for Leeds (his second time round) against Swansea at The Vetch Field. Prior to the game the teams were announced and Big John was injured and could not play. Jack Charlton replaced him. But luckily I did see him play for an All star team against a Show Biz 11 in a charity match and was mesmerised when he jumped about '10 feet' in the air and scored with a tremendous header. I also got to meet him and have an after match drink with him when he was youth team trainer for Swansea. Wonderful player and man.
John Fry, Swansea, Wales

One of the greatest sportman ever.A man of huge stature and integrity.Thanks for the memories.
Gareth Scourfield, Auckland New Zealand

He made a recording of "Sixteen Tons" when I was a boy. He sang it with a lovely deep, soft Welsh lilt. Beautiful! And so was the man.
Bryan Divall, Singapore

One of my proudest tongue in cheek boasts was of the time I played in a team that included John & Mel Charles and brothers Ivor & Len Alchurch. What I conveniently fail to mention is that it was on the beach at Langland Bay, Swansea when I was about 13 years of age. What a man. What an inspiration.
Hugh Porter, Hong Kong

If John could go through a career that included Italian football in his 'catenaccio' dark days without even a caution then he truly deserved the title 'Gentle Giant'.
David Jardine, Jakarta, Indonesia

One of the greatest players ever to play the game, and certainly the best to wear a Wales jersey. I can remember when he left for Juventus in 57 and what a shock it was to all of Britian. You'll be missed by all lovers of the beautiful game.
Rex Hopkins, algonac, mi, usa

It is a shame men (and women) of John Charles' character are not praised in life the way they are after death.
John Schleyer, Foxboro, MA USA

From a proud Englishman- I can only say RIP to the greatest player to ever grace British football.
Ben, England

I'm a Juventus supporter. My dad was a Juventus supporter and he used to tell me stories about the "Gigante Buono". He was more than a football player for the team. He marked the club with his style for ever. When his team mate Giampiero Boniperti became Juventus' chairman a decade later, he forged Juventus with the Welshman's style which, despite the changes in modern football, is still clearly visible today.
Marco Mascioli, Reading, UK/Italy

I never saw him play.....I was too young. However, I do not think so many remarkable stories about his career and tributes from other great players could lie - this man is a true legend. Wales and the UK should already feel shameful that they have not appropriately recognised his greatness to date..........He was basically the greatest ever all round player to come from the British Isles and probably a member of the all-time world top 10 players ever.
Wales should play a game v Juve in his honour and proceeds go to the charities that Il Gigante Buono so kindly supported despite his own hardships. RIP Big fella....... real Welsh football fans will never forget....
Gavin Price, Canberra, Australia ex-pat from Newport Sth Wales

A very great Welshman.A childhood hero.
Tim Dunk, Chillagoe,Qld,Australia.

King John had an aura round him, to be in his presence was something else. He was a gentle giant he'll be missed at Elland Road. Farewell King John you're now with Don and Billy. One true Leeds United legend
Robert Greenwood, Leeds, England

Wales's greatest ever export will be sadly missed. He was the best sportsman ever to be produced by our country. I hope that people will realise what a truly great player he was. Wales misses you.
Daniel Huxley, Wrexham, Wales

From a proud Englishman- I can only say RIP to the greatest player to ever grace British football.
Ben, England

As a teenager in the early sixties, I remember running across the Ninian Park pitch with my brother at the end of a Wales vs England international. I ran smack into a Welsh player's legs, and looking up, I saw this giant of a man towering over me, grinning and signing autographs. It was unmistakebly John Charles, a legend in his lifetime, and a hero for me and countless others. A moment I will never forget ... what a player, and what a man.
David Hunt, Swansea, Wales

Grazie Charles.You was a legend for my father who is dead last year at 72 like you.Ciao bravo e buono gigante.
Valerio, Verona Italia

A legend, an ambassador, an all time great, - terms thrown at random nowadays but everyone of them applies to John.
Andy, Bristol

He went to Italy in the days when it was something of a poisoned chalice for British players. But his temperament was so placid and his physical presence so huge the Italians soon fell in love with him. He used his unbelievable power and courage to score goals not to intimidate opponents. He belongs to a select group of soccer gentlemen that young fans today would learn a great deal from. Well played sir, we will all miss your gentle genius.
Dave Smith, Wellington New Zealand

John Charles was a legend, he was a role model to people foe all countries today. He showed you can be a passionate supporter yet still be a commited player to a squad. God bless John Charles!!!!!!! R.I.P
Rhys Jones, Llantrisant

I Met J.C. in Piccadilly, when he was attending a dinner for Stanley Matthews, I introduced him to my Mum, and he was just so interested in us. he was also so good to the supporters club and made us feel so important. I am sorry that he has died, and send my condolences to his family and many friends.
Angela C. Hogarth, Papamoa, New Zealand

So very, very sad,he was an example to us all, a great man who will be sadly missed, my condolences to his family
John Rockey, Crawley Down, England

He was a legend to young and old, RIP John
Richard Jones, Bridgend, Wales

I was privileged to see Big John playing for Hereford United in the late sixties. Although this was the tail-end of his career, I could only marvel at what he must have been like when playing for Leeds, Juventus and Roma. Arguably one of the best (if not the best) players ever.
David Bush, Canberra, Australia

The best ever UK football export.Strong, dedicated, polite and able to play in attack and defence.Who could do it in todays world.....will be sadly missed.
Aled Davies, Chester

A legend, an ambassador, an all time great, - terms thrown at random nowadays but everyone of them applies to John. Respect to you great man and you'll never be forgotten.
Andy, Bristol

My grandad is John Charles cousin, I would like to say that John Charles deserves a posthumous knighthood for his achievements.
Michael Woodington, Cardiff

Italy remembers the 'Gentle Giant' too, respects to his loved ones.
Michele Giorgi, Loreto, Italy

John was a class player who I'll never forget.I'll always remember the fact that he was so good,the Italians wanted him
Eric Taylor, Southwick England

Football has lost a TRULY GREAT Ambassador. The welcome John had before the Wales v Italy game at The Millenium Stadium was truly well deserved . I was there with my 10 year old son and he it was an honour for both of us. R.I.P , and our thoughts to his family .
Les Sullivan, Swansea , Wales

He played football the way it should be played and never got booked or sent off. Sleep well gentle giant.
Iain Langmaid, Woodbridge

Farewell to a great friend to football. John Charles, truly the gentle giant, was someone to respect on and off the field. I still remember a personal message sent to an 11-year-old Fiorentina fan in Malta during his Juventus superstar days with great affection. My condolences to John's family.
Brian Courtis, Melbourne, Australia

I watched his debut game for Leeds United, a friendly against Queen of the South - I think it was the inauguration of the Leeds floodlights. At centre half, as a 17 year old, he completely blotted out Willie Houliston, the Scottish international centre forward. His unruffled calmness, and the way, even at that age, that he could read the game, betokened a great, world class footballer. I've seen no better
Tony Schofield, Leeds, UK

What a sad loss - I cried as I remembered how my father revered King John. He would watch all the games he could - live or on TV - and would always sat - "they need Big John there".
Alan, Rhos-on-Sea

An overlooked player who never received any recognition for his marvellous abilities. A very much missed player, the Gentle Giant will always be one of the best.
Carys Logan, Bristol,

Not only a great footballer but also a great sportsman, The people of Wales have lost a national treasure.
Mark Morris, Swansea

Italy remembers the 'Gentle Giant' too, respects to his loved ones.
Michele Giorgi, Loreto, Italy

For such a perfect role-model for todays youth not to recieve a knighthood is a travesty of justice. Rest in peace 'il gigante gentile'
Rhys, Canada

I suppose I'm too young to realise how good a player John really was but I do know he has done alot for the game and should be honoured ecspecially for putting Welsh football on the map. He was a true gentleman and a "legend" that will never be forgotten. Thanks for the memories! The game will never see a player with his ability and he will be truly missed. R.I.P John Charles
Cameron, Swansea

Unfortunately I am to young to have seen him play, but my father mentions him everytime we discuss football.We as a family were very saddened to hear of his death and our thoughts are with his family.He truly was a great ambassador for his country,WALES.
Steve Evans , Bodmin,Cornwall

I remember John when I was a Kid in swansea, and I was so lucky to know the family who lived in Cumdu i use to go to the family home in alice street when ever he was home. and to be there with his brother Mel, both great stars, and they always had time for a small boy , Rest in Peace John.
Brian Shaddick, Perth Australia

The man is a legend. I'm sure a few valuable lessons could be learnt by todays multi-million pound players who are on ridiculously high wages by this great mans life story. For such a perfect role-model for todays youth not to recieve a knighthood is a travesty of justice. Rest in peace 'il gigante gentile'.
Rhys, Canada

Always will be known in Wales as simply the King, a Gentle Giant who Should have without doubt been Sir John Charles. Pass on my sincere condolences to his wife and family.
I am a life long Cardiff City fan aged 38, too young to have ever seen the great man play but I was brought up on stories by my late father and uncles who told me just how great a player John Charles actually was.

A great footballer, a great athlete, a great man and more importantly in life A GENTLEMAN. Goodnight Sir John, God bless, sleep tight and Rest in Peace.
Robert Carey, Chepstow, Wales

As a young teenager and into my twenties I supported Leeds Utd. In all those years one man stood out as an example of how a professional sportsman should be seen - that man was King John also known as the Gentle Giant. He will be sadly missed!
Keith Rhodes, Bromham United Kingdom

I met the giant when I worked at Ninian Park in the 60s. What a man - the top Welshman of the 20th Century.
David Milner,

John Charles was the the best,him and pele were the best ever in the world, he is a loss to football.
John Lewis, Tonypandy

His footballing legacy and respectful personality has touched every Welshman.
Richard Davies, north Wales.

It's a humbling experience to have such a player , and one which I fear the likes of which we will never see again.
Dean Margerison, Leeds

A legend from a bygone age - he'll be sorely missed!. My sympathies go to his family.
At a time when modern footballers continue to disgrace the game of football, they should all take a few moments to reflect on how this man conducted himself with both on and off the pitch. Perhaps then the game of football will be then given back to the people.
Phil, Wigan, UK

A very great and modest man who was admired, even revered, by several generations. Although one of the finest footballers ever, he also shared the Welsh love of singing and I can clearly remember his rich Bass-baritone voice, the sort of voice you would expect from a man of his size and strength. It's often a cliché to say that we shall never see his like again. Sadly with John, it's true.
Trevor Hicks, Bolsover, UK

In the 50s I used to go Elland Road with my father and was put in the boys' enclosure behind the goal. I remember one match when John Charles was the new wonder boy. He had a shot on goal that was deflected past me. It was like a rocket - I couldn't believe it. But he was a real gentleman. If a deflected shot hurt someone in the crowd he would find out and aplogize to them afterwards. There was nobody like John Charles.
David Leader, Glasgow, UK

Someone who Wales and Britain should be proud of. A great example today's youngsters, never booked, never sent off and still a huge success
Hilary, London

His footballing legacy and respectful personality has touched every Welshman. We will never forget him here and around the world. A true gentleman and icon.
Richard Davies, North Wales

What a legend! A pure player, and football has lost a great star. My thoughts to his family and close friends.
Jonathan Rees, Swansea, Wales

Football has lost one of the greatest players ever to wear a Leeds shirt. I wish all players were like John, the gentle giant. What a sad time for football and all his relations. RIP. Life-long Leeds fan
Dave Ley, Ilfracombe, N Devon

Never booked or sent off but still broke goal-scoring records. First Brit to go to Italy and arguably the best and played for Juve. Who says nice guys finish last?
Kishore, London

John Charles was a great ambassador for Wales and the United Kingdom. He is still revered in Italy, and I hope that a permanent memorial will be established to celebrate the life of this exceptional sportsman.
Diane, Pontypool, south Wales

This man was amazing. I don't believe we will ever see anybody who could come close to his talent, his greatness, his modesty. He was a humble man who is better known today in Italy than in the UK. John Charles was the most gifted and talented footballer that Britain has ever produced. I will miss him
Mike Owens, Thatcham, UK

Rest in peace, John. A statue shall be raised in your honour.
Geraint Evans, Newtown, Wales

Never booked or sent off but still broke goal-scoring records. First Brit to go to Italy and arguably the best and played for Juve. Who says nice guys finish last? A footballing example for the rest to follow.
Kishore, London

John Charles toured Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and came to Umtali, my home town in 1969. I still remember as a young boy watching this big man heading goal after goal past our goalkeeper!
Charles, London

A true champion and a national disgrace that he has never been knighted. Has done more for British sport than any other footballer.
David Williams, Dubai, UAE

A very great loss; a great player, a great man. His measure is that he was as loved in Italy as in Britain. A class act; matched by his old club Juve's actions in their debt of gratitude in his final days.
Roger Rann, Nottingham, England

It is a real shame that 'Gian Carlo' never got the same kind of mention as George Best, Pele and Maradona, when he was at least their equal in playing terms.
Simon Hickey, UK

My father always spoke about John in a good light. They were at school together and "legend" is a fitting tribute
Justin Long, Swansea

I was born in Birmingham and remember John Charles and his brother Mel as all-time greats in soccer. He was a GENT. What a great man in private life and his game of soccer. A true legend.
Roger Prince, California, USA

I saw John Charles many times late in his career when he was player-manager of Hereford Utd. In one game I particularly remember, the team were struggling at 0-0, John came on as substitute just before a corner was taken, pointed to his head, and when the cross came over headed it into the back of the net so hard it almost tore it! The following season he came back to Edgar St with Merthyr, he was still playing well into his forties.
Steve Comer, Bristol

My thoughts to the family and Wales
Derek, Sixmilecross. N.Ireland

He was one of the few footballers of the past that you know could certainly play and succeed today. A wonderful player and ambassador for Wales and a true gent.
Darren, London

Without doubt one of the greatest footballers of all time and certainly the best all-round British player ever. To be able to play equally effectively at centre-half and centre-forward at the highest possible level is some achievement. He was my Dad's all-time hero. One of his fondest memories is of seeing "Big John" play for Juventus in a friendly at Arsenal in 1958. A truly great man.
Alan Chapman, Ware, Herts, England

An example to professional footballers to this day, especially for never being booked, even when subject to the sort of provocation that has no place in the modern game. A great loss.
Glenn Davies, Southport, UK

It is a real shame that 'Gian Carlo' never got the same kind of mention as George Best, Pele and Maradona, when he was at least their equal in playing terms. As far as being a nice bloke, none of these were his equal.
Simon Hickey, UK

I mourn today the loss of a great athlete and a true sportsman. His exemplary demeanour on and off the pitch will be very much missed. Grazie, John.
Davide Giglio

A sad day for football. Some of today's players would do well to take a leaf out of his book. A true gentleman and sportsman. He will long be remembered.
James Woolley, Hastings East Sussex

I was fortunate to meet John Charles in 1994. I remember being very nervous. He made time to chat to me and was without a doubt a true gentleman. His attitude whilst playing and later in life should be an example to all. My thoughts are with his family and friends.
Rob, Leeds, UK

Such a sad loss to football. John Charles was a true soccer legend his name will live on forever. R.I.P
Mark Hall, Halifax England

As a kid I looked for hours at a football annual my parents had bought me, and amongst the then, and now, all-time greats like Matthews, Wright, Loftus, etc, the photos of John just mesmerised me. His strength and character always shone through. It was my interest in this Gentle Giant that got me interested in the Great Game. I got a lot to thank that man for.
Derek Chapman, Exeter, Devon

Although I was not around when John Charles was helping make Juventus great, I mourn today the loss of a great athlete and a true sportsman. His exemplary demeanour on and off the pitch will be very much missed. Grazie, John.
Davide Giglio, Hong Kong

I am a life long supporter of Leeds United and I am a massive football fan and there has never been a better player in the world of football. He will be masssively missed.
James Howarth, Leeds

I met John at Heathrow in 1978. He was the most down earth man I ever met, we had a chat for over two hours and he was so humble. What great man and player, rest in peace John
David Reeve, Westbourne, Hants

He was the footballing hero of my youth in Leeds.
Phil, Staffordshire

The original of the true footballing hero. And a gentleman on and off the pitch.
Leeds United supporter

John Charles was one of my childhood heroes. A role model for any sportsman, a legendary player and great man. Sympathies go Mr Charles' family and thanks to Juventus, especially for their support in recent times.
Robert Downing, Nr Brecon, Powys

The gentle giant whose colossal skills
Stirred the Old Lady into life
And built a home worthy of the glorious soul
Whose strength measured brave, determined, honest
And whose peerless name was never to be found
In any referee's book.
Sharon Marshall, Bacup England

This news has cast a shadow over my whole weekend.Today's players would do well to take his example, a man who never earned more than £18 a week!! Modern football agents have gone on record as saying that in the modern game a John Charles in his prime would have been the first £100 million player. RIP King John you were simply The Greatest.
Martin Bryant, Barry.Wales

A person who always had the time to speak, well missed - such a good friend to know while at Hereford. A gentleman and personnel friend.
Philip, Hereford.

The original of the true footballing hero. And a gentleman on and off the pitch. Certainly the greatest to put on the Blue and Old Gold shirt at Leeds United.
Leeds United Supporter, Herefordshire

I was recently in hospital with John's long time friend little Bobby Collins. Bobby spoke of Big John which summed him up - he described him as just a big gentleman and a great footballer.
Ian Burks, Leeds England




SEE ALSO:
John Charles dies
21 Feb 04  |  Football
Charles: The Gentle Giant
21 Feb 04  |  Football
Wales remembers national hero
21 Feb 04  |  South West Wales
Author on 'modest John Charles'
05 Aug 03  |  South West Wales



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