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Former miners’ leader Arthur Scargill paid glowing tribute today to former Leeds United and England soccer player Jack Charlton, who has died.
Mr Scargill said Charlton and his wife Pat had been solid supporters of the miners during the strike against pit closures of 1984-5 – and had loaned his two cars to the local miners’ group to go picketing, while Pat worked in a miners’ food kitchen in Barnsley in South Yorkshire providing hot meals for pickets.
Mr Scargill told the Morning Star: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jack Charlton who I knew as a friend and neighbour in Worsbrough where he lived for a number of years.
“Jack was a giant as a footballer for Leeds United, the team I support, but together with his wife Pat he was an unswerving supporter of the National Union of Mineworkers, particularly during the historic 1984/85 miners’ strike against pit closures.
“Jack was of course a former miner in Northumberland as were most of his family. In 1984 Jack and Pat showed their support for Britain’s striking miners. He loaned his car to the local NUM strike committee and Pat helped out in the local food kitchen.
“Jack Charlton was one of the greatest footballers Leeds United and England have ever had, but his support, together with (Leeds United manager) Brian Clough, for members of the NUM in 1984/1985 earned him the respect of all miners and women miners’ support groups who called him a hero.”
Mr Scargill, who was President of the National Union of Mineworkers from 1982 to 2002, and Jack Charlton were neighbours in Worsborough in Barnsley.
He recalled that Jack Charlton used to enjoy a pint in the Red Lion at Worsborough with a friend, Jim Exley, a miner at Barrow colliery.
“Jack came in one day during the strike and asked Jim if he could borrow his car back from the pickets,” said Mr Scargill. “Jim asked him what he wanted it for. Jack said ‘I’m off to see Cloughie.’
“So Jack borrowed his car back, but he was stopped on the M1 by police – his car was covered in posters and stickers saying ‘support the miners.’ They asked him where he was going. He told them ‘I’m minding my own business.’ But he eventually said ‘I’m off to see Brian Clough.’
“Jack’s brother Gordon was a miner and an activist during the strike.
“On behalf of all miners and miners’ wives in 1984/5 I extend deepest sympathy to Pat and all his family.”
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