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Last Updated: Monday, 1 March, 2004, 10:53 GMT
Football mourns Charles
Fans lay floral tributes at Leeds
The funeral of Leeds, Juventus and Wales football legend John Charles has been held at Leeds Parish Church.

Stars from the great Leeds team of the 1970s, including Peter Lorimer, Norman Hunter, Allan Clarke and Paul Reaney, were among the pall-bearers.

Among the speakers was ex-Liverpool and Wales forward John Toshack, who read a self-penned poem.

Charles, who was born in Swansea, died in Wakefield's Pinderfields Hospital aged 72 after falling ill in Italy.

Alan Smith and Mark Viduka represented the current Leeds team, while John Lukic and Gordon Strachan were there from the title-winning Elland Road outfit of 1992.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, Wales manager Mark Hughes and former Republic of Ireland boss Jack Charlton were also in attendance.

A memorial service at Elland Road followed the funeral and it included an emotional tribute from Leeds caretaker-manager Eddie Gray.

Charles joined Leeds at the age of 17 and moved to Juventus for a then record fee of 67,000 in 1957.

Leeds have renamed the West Stand at Elland Road, which was rebuilt with the money the club made from Charles' move to Juventus, the John Charles Stand.

And Gray said: "It is a tremendous gesture to the memory of big John, who was a wonderful man and a great footballer."

Dubbed the "Gentle Giant" by Italian fans, Charles could play with equal distinction at centre-forward or centre-back.

He also had spells at Roma in Italy, Cardiff in his home country and Hereford United - where he enjoyed a spell as player-manager and is still revered.

He was never booked or sent off during his career and made 38 apppearances for Wales.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC News' Kevin Bocquet
"Thousands came to Elland Road to pay their respects"


Former Liverpool and Wales forward John Toshack
"God bless you John and may you rest in peace"



SEE ALSO
Fans call for memorial to legend
23 Feb 04  |  West Yorkshire
Wales remembers national hero
21 Feb 04  |  South west
John Charles dies
21 Feb 04  |  Football
Charles: The Gentle Giant
21 Feb 04  |  Football
Juve lead Charles tributes
21 Feb 04  |  Football
Your tributes to John Charles
21 Feb 04  |  South west


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