Wed 04 August 2021 | 18:00

Top facts about John Charles, the Gentle Giant

Wales is known for producing legends and super athletes, if you take a look at the football history, you will clearly see many legendary athletes who will serve as an example for this statement, one of them is John Charles; we welcome you to top facts about John Charles, the Gentle Giant.

William John Charles, CBE, was a Welsh international footballer who spent his 25-year career with

Leeds United

and Juventus. Many consider him to be the finest all-around footballer to ever emerge from the United Kingdom, with his strength, pace, technique, vision, talent in the air, and eye for goal making him equally competent as a striker or defense.

He was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame and was included in the Football League's 100 Legends.

Due to his ideology of never kicking or purposefully injuring rival players, he was never cautioned or sent off during his whole career.

As a result of his good manners and great size of 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m), he was dubbed Gigante Buono - The Gentle Giant. Wales was also represented by his brother Mel Charles and nephew Jeremy Charles. Jake Charles, his grandson, presently plays for

Stafford Rangers

and has previously represented Wales at the junior level.

We have organized top facts about John Charles article in such a way that even if you don’t have any information about this football legend you will be able to get familiar with him first and then read about the facts that we have provided for you.

An exclusive article of top facts about John Charles, the Gentle Giant

John Charles was a fantastic player who became the first Welshman to achieve worldwide renown. He was without a doubt the greatest player from Wales in the twentieth century. Why was he the greatest, you might ask? Well, let us get to the details without further ado.

John Charles information

Let's start with his fundamental information, which we'll go over in more detail in the next sections of the top facts about John Charles.

Personal information

  • Full name:

    William John Charles

  • Date of birth:

    27 December 1931

  • Aged:

    72 years

  • Star Sign:


  • Star sign features:

    Hardworking, ambitious, and responsible

  • Nationality:


  • Place of birth:

    Swansea, Wales

  • Marital status:


  • Religion:


Football information

  • Position:


  • Total appearances:


  • Club appearances:


  • National appearances:

    38 caps

Physical stats and appearance

  • Height:

    1.88 m

  • Weight:

    80 kg

  • Hair color:


  • Skin color:


  • Facial hair:


Now that you've acquired enough information to construct a storage unit to hold all of the future data, it's fair to say we should go on to the next segment, which is his transfer market statistics in the following portion of

top facts about John Charles


John Charles Transfermarkt

Let’s take a look at all the information that is available on the


website about him in this part of top facts about John Charles.

Like many other football legends who played football in the mid-1900s, John Charles doesn’t have a market value graph. In the same manner, his transfer history isn’t a complete one and only some of his transfers had a recorded transfer fee.

Unlike these categories, his achievement list is a complete one. 1-time Top scorer of series A and 3 times Italian championship with


is nothing to ignore. Additionally, he has also lifted 2 Italian cups.

John Charles career

A brief look at his career in this part of top facts about John Charles wouldn’t hurt us.

In September 1948, while playing for Gendros, a local junior team, he was noticed by Leeds United and given a trial. At his trial, he pleased them, and, at the age of 17, he signed for them, relocating to Yorkshire.

Major Buckley, Leeds' manager at the time, chose Charles for the Leeds Reserves in a number of positions, including right-back, center-half, and left-half.

On April 19, 1949, Charles made his first-team debut as a central defender for Leeds United in a friendly against Queen of the South of Dumfries.

In April 1949, Charles made his league debut as center-back against Blackburn Rovers. In August 1957, he signed a £65,000 transfer fee with the Italian team Juventus, nearly tripling the previous record.

After John Fox Watson led the way by transferring from


to Real Madrid in 1948, Charles became one of the first British professional players to be signed by an international side. Don Revie spent a club-record £53,000 to bring John Charles back to Yorkshire after his stint at Juventus.

Charles was transferred to A.S. Roma for £70,000 after 11 appearances and three goals, a fraction of his previous strike rate. The move appeared to be a success initially, with Charles scoring inside fifteen minutes of his debut for Roma against



He moved on to Cardiff City, where he lasted until 1966 when his league career came to an end. He went on to manage Hereford United and Merthyr Tydfil, as well as serve as technical director for the Hamilton Steelers of Canada, which he took over as coach midway through the 1987 season.

John Charles childhood

This part of the top facts about John Charles starts from when Charles was born in


's Cwmbwrla neighborhood. It was in late 1931. Charles began playing football as a kid with his younger brother Mel, who went on to become a professional football player and eventually played with him on the Welsh national team.

He went to Cwm-du Primary School and Manselton Secondary School for his education. His professors quickly noticed he lacked the characteristics of a scholar.

His primary interest was football, and he would frequently spend class thinking about a career in the sport. 'Wake up, Charles! You'll never make money playing football!' yelled an enraged teacher. With a sigh of relief, John said his goodbyes to school at the age of fourteen and joined other bright apprentices on the Swansea football club's staff.

John Charles personal life

In terms of his personal life, the day of his wedding was as significant. He married Margaret Elsie (Peggy) White, the daughter of a rail driver and a bank clerk in Leeds, on March 16, 1953.

Peggy was a year younger than her spouse, at the age of 21. Terry, Melvyn, Peter, and David, their four kids, revolutionized their family life. Unlike many other British sportsmen who traveled into the lion's den of Italy, John Charles made an effort to assimilate by learning the language and appreciating Italian customs and traditions.

He relished the scorching heat of the Mediterranean, as well as the delicious local cuisine.

His skills were in high demand off the football field as the team's top star. He got the opportunity to record popular songs such as 'Sixteen Tons' and 'Love in Portofino,' as well as participate in a documentary film about himself and his companion Omar Svori, thanks to his superb bass singing voice.

Regrettably, John Charles lacked a commercial sense. He lost a lot of money in Turin when he opened a restaurant, and he also lost a lot of money in Cardiff when his sports shop in Rhiwbeina collapsed. His divorce in 1982 was also a financial setback.

In 1978, he met Glenda Vero, the daughter of an engineer, and spent three years as the landlord of the Gomersal Park Hotel in Batley, where he met his future second wife. Three JPs in Huddersfield sentenced John to jail for failing to pay £943 in tax, much to Glenda's dismay.

Leslie Silver, chairman of Leeds United, paid the amount immediately at Glenda's request. However, 'King John' was destitute when he married Glenda on April 23, 1988.

John Charles was a devoted Welshman who spent much of his life outside of his homeland. He kept his Welsh accent throughout his life, and he felt it a privilege to wear his country's red jersey. But what happened to John after his football career? Let’s find out in the next part of the

top facts about John Charles


John Charles after football

After retiring from the sport, Charles became the landlord of the New Inn public house in Churwell, Leeds, which was later managed by Byron Stevenson, another Leeds United player and Wales international. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire on June 16, 2001, as part of the Queen's Birthday Honours for "services to Association Football."

He continued to attend every Leeds United home game until shortly before his death. He was elected vice-president of the Football Association of Wales in 2002, and he was given the freedom of Swansea in 2003. An effort to knight John Charles was launched, but it never materialized.

In 2002, Charles was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame for the first time. In his honor, the Elland Road Stadium's west stand is named "The John Charles Stand," and a bust was commissioned and funded by Leeds United Chairman Ken Bates to be exhibited in the entrance of the banqueting suite (connected to the rear of "The John Charles Stand").

The John Charles Stadium, which is used by Leeds United for reserve matches, was called in his honor. Near the Elland Road Stadium, there is also a roadway called "John Charles Way."

He was named the Golden Player of Wales by the Football Association of Wales as their most outstanding player of the previous 50 years on November 29, 2003, to commemorate UEFA's Jubilee.

Charles was rated number 19 in a survey of 100 Welsh Heroes in 2004.

Charles had one of Great Western Railway's Intercity Express Trains named after him on March 7, 2018.

In August 2019, the "Clos John Charles" Social Housing development in Cwmbwrla, Swansea, opened on the site of a former Primary School.

John Charles death

Ultimately, the last and saddest part of the

top facts about John Charles


John relied significantly on his wife Glenda during his retirement, especially as his health deteriorated. It's no surprise that he had a heart attack in 1993 and bladder cancer in 1997 as a lifelong smoker. Furthermore, Alzheimer's disease set in during his later years, but he never got resentful.

He continued to support Leeds United, Juventus, and Wales and was always greeted like a prince when he visited Turin to attend games. John and Glenda traveled to Milan in January 2004 to participate in a television show. John fell shortly before the start of the show and was transported to San Carlo Borromeo Hospital.

His right foot, which had scored so many spectacular goals, had to be removed as his condition worsened. He was flown home by Juventus' private plane, and he died on February 21, 2004, at the age of 72, in Wakefield's Pinderfields Hospital. On St David's Day, his funeral was held in Leeds parish church, and a chapter from the Bible was read in Welsh throughout the service.

On the same day, a memorial ceremony was conducted at Elland Road Stadium, and on April 19, another was held at Brangwyn Hall in Swansea. His ashes were interred at the edge of the Liberty Stadium pitch in Swansea after he was cremated.

John Charles legacy

John Charles was a legendary player and the distinctive future of a legendary player is that his story continues even after his death, which we also call his legacy and we are going to read about that in the next part of the top facts about John Charles.

Charles is honored at the John Charles Lounge at Aberystwyth Town Football Club's stadium. Charles is also honored in the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds.

The West Stand at Elland Road is known as "The John Charles Stand," and a bust of Charles can be found in the entry lobby of the Banqueting Suite, which is adjacent to the rear of the stand. John Charles Way is a street in Leeds' Lower Wortley neighborhood near Elland Road.

Sir Bobby Robson, in the preface to Charles' autobiography, hailed him as "Incomparable," he said, comparing him to Pelé,

Diego Maradona

, and George Best, among the all-time greats of football.

John was more than just one of the best players of all time. He was one of the finest players in the game's history." He also mentioned that Charles is the only football legend who has excelled at two separate positions.

When Charles joined the Bianconeri, his captain, Giampiero Boniperti, talked of the Welshman's personality: "Because of his human traits, I'd say he came from another universe.

John was an extremely exceptional person who was one of the most loyal and honest persons I had ever encountered. He was able to keep the entire squad unified, and any quarrels or disagreements died away as soon as he walked onto the field or into the locker room."

Jimmy Greaves

, former player of Tottenham Hotspur and England once stated that "If I were picking my all-time great British team, or even a world eleven, John Charles would be in it." Jack Charlton said of his former teammate, "John Charles was a team unto himself.

People often say to me, 'Who was the best player you ever saw?', and I answer that it was probably Eusébio, Di Stéfano, Cruyff, Pelé, or our Bob (

Bobby Charlton

). But the most effective player I ever saw, the one that made the most difference to the performance of the whole team, was without question, John Charles."

Charles's sporting behavior led international referee Clive Thomas to say "If you had 22 players of John's caliber, there would be no need for referees – only time-keepers."

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