THE sad death of Big Jack Charlton at the age of 85 took me back many years when Jack was guest speaker at one of Durham City Rugby Club’s fundraising dinners at Hallgarth Manor, Pittington.

Jack was a brilliant after dinner speaker and had some great tales – football-related rather than rugby sadly.

One of his stories brought the house down. He was playing for Leeds against Liverpool at Elland Road and Gary Sprake was in the Leeds goal and he threw the ball out to Jack and there was nothing on so Jack kicked it back to Gary in goal and then Jack turned away. There was a huge roar from the crowd and Jack turned around to see the ball in the Leeds net! Jack thought he has scored an own goal but Gary Sprake had fielded the ball and tried to throw it out again, but threw it in to his own net!

The crowd went mad.

When Leeds played at Liverpool the tannoy system played Careless Hands quite a few times. I would have loved to see Jack play rugby – a big strong lad.

Malcolm Rolling, Carrville.