Eamon Dunphy has paid tribute to Jack Charlton following the former Irish manager’s passing on Saturday outlining that he believes Ireland were ‘lucky to have him.’
Charlton was Ireland’s most successful ever manager and his passing has been met with tributes from all across the footballing world.
During his time as a pundit, Dunphy was frequently critical of Ireland’s style of play under Charlton, however he was quick to praise the World Cup winner’s leadership and the effect his side’s performances had on the nation as a whole.
“Jack Charlton’s contribution to our culture and to our soccer goes beyond tactics,” Dunphy told RTÉ Radio 1.
“He gave leadership. It was strong leadership. He believed in a style of play that was crude but very, very effective.
“Leadership is so important. He had no doubts about his way of doing things and he took all doubt out of the players’ minds. More important than anything else, he took the country for ten years on a glorious adventure.
“People have said that 1988 – qualifying for that European Championships and beating England – in some kind of metaphysical way this was a moment that was transformative, a confidence came from it. Now, nobody can prove that and the economists would laugh, but I think there are moments in a nation’s history. And yes, that moment was very, very important.”
Dunphy and Charlton failed to see eye to eye on occasion, with much of that coming from a ‘misunderstanding’ according to the pundit where the former Irish boss thought Dunphy had said he was ‘ashamed to be Irish’ following the country’s performances.
He continued though outlining that differences of opinion did not matter and that Ireland were lucky to have such a ‘huge character’ as their manager.
“Reflecting in a moment like this when he’s passed away, I don’t think those differences matter. I always found Jack to be a decent guy. He was a good man. He looked after Paul McGrath particularly and got the very best out of Paul who had his troubles even back then.
“Jack has left an indelible imprint on our life, our culture and from a soccer point of view he was a massive evangelical figure, taking [the game] to rural Ireland where it had never been played really. Now some of our best players are from rural Ireland.
“We owe Jack a lot. He was a decent man; a good man.
“He was a World Cup winner, he was a huge character in the game, and on reflection now, I would say we were very lucky to have him.”