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John Charles Signs

John Charles Signs

Description: John Charles the Leeds United legend signs his autograph for a United fan here outside Elland Road. Major Frank Buckley signed John Charles on 27th December, 1947. Charles was playing for Gendros his local youth club when he was spotted by a Leeds United scout and given a trial, after the trial he was soon signed up at the age of 17 and made his debut in a friendly against Queen of the South on April 19th, 1949. Charles soon after made his full league debut for Leeds United against Blackburn Rovers in the same month.
John Charles is considered by many football pundits and commentators to be one of the greatest footballers ever to come out of Britain and Charles often features in the Worlds Top Ten Footballers from various sources and fan groups. He had two spells with United over his career the first being the most significant where he made 316 appearances in all competitions and scored 154 goals. He still holds the record of most league goals scored in a season for United, in 1953-54 Charles scored 43 goals in 39 appearances.
In 1956 a huge fire burned down the West Stand at Elland Road and United who at the time were strapped for cash had to find the money to build another stand. The Leeds City Council helped with some of the funding after an appeal and it was now that United relented with offers from Europe for the signature of John Charles. After the third time of asking Juventus finally got their way and Charles signed up for the Italian club for a world record fee of 65,000. Charles spent five years at Juventus winning three Championship medals and an Italian Cup medal.
Charles briefly came back to Leeds when manager Don Revie signed him in 1962 for a fee of 53,000, he made 11 appearances in the 1962-63 season scoring 3 goals. His second time at Leeds didn't quite work out and Charles left for AS Roma on 15 Oct, 1962 for a fee of 70,000.
John Charles in total made 327 appearances for United and scored a total of 157 goals. He is still to this day considered by many to be the best football player ever to play for Leeds United. His strength and versatility at the time were second to none, as comfortable in the centre-forward position as the centre-half. A world class standard in two positions such a rarity in football. Affectionately known as the Gentle Giant on account of him never being cautioned or sent off in his entire career.
Charles battled cancer and Alzheimer's Disease in his latter years and on 21st February, 2004 after a heart attack Charles died at Pinderfields hospital in Wakefield.

Thanks to William A Dobson for this great pic. If you would like to check out more of Bills pics check out his website here: WWW.BILLSPICS.CO.UK

Submitted: 04/23/09 (Edited 01/15/10)

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