Why did Bobby Charlton and Jack Charlton fall out?

Two football legends.

Why did Bobby Charlton and Jack Charlton fall out?
Sir Bobby Charlton and Jack Charlton
Jack Charlton (left) with brother Sir Bobby Charlton (Picture: Getty)

Sir Bobby Charlton, the Manchester United and England legend regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, died peacefully in the early hours of Saturday morning aged 86, his family announced.

Bobby and older brother Jack Charlton will forever go down as one of the most iconic pair of brothers in the beautiful game, with the siblings playing a crucial role in England’s 1966 World Cup triumph on home soil.

After the final whistle blew on that dizzying summer’s day 57 years ago, Jack turned to Bobby and uttered: ‘Well, what about that kidda. What about that.’

However, rather than being drawn together by that legendary piece of sporting history, the two brothers instead drifted apart due to an infamous family row which saw them at loggerheads for much of their later life.

Why did Jack and Bobby Charlton fall out?

The feud between the two brothers started in 1996, when Jack accused Bobby of not visiting their mother, Cissie, before she died.

Sir Bobby Charlton and Jack Charlton
Bobby and Jack are immortalised in English football (Picture: Getty)

Bobby said the reason for staying away was because his wife, Norma, had fallen out with his mother.

Bobby elected to take his wife’s side in the family dispute, rather than his mother’s, whom he did not see at all after 1992.

What did Jack and Bobby Charlton say about their falling out?

Discussing their fall-out on Desert Island Discs in 1996, Jack said: ‘I couldn’t understand why there was a rift between Bobby and my mother. Suddenly he stopped going home. I don’t know why.’

Breaking his silence in his 2007 autobiography, Bobby said: ‘My wife is a very strong character and does not suffer fools gladly.

‘I am not suggesting my mother was a fool. There was a clash and it just never went away really.

‘Jack came out in the newspapers saying things about my wife that were absolutely disgraceful. Nonsense. Ask anybody that ever met my wife: ‘hoity-toity’ is not a word they’d use.

Sir Bobby Charlton and Jack Charlton
The brothers during happier days (Picture: Getty)

‘My brother made a big mistake. I don’t understand why he did it. He could not possibly have known her and said what he said.’

Bobby and Jack had endured a challenging relationship throughout much of their life.

A recording from the documentary Finding Jack Charlton reveals Bobby as saying: ‘My brother was an uncompromising character. I watched him in a derby match – he gave a goal away and they lost.

‘I said to him after: ‘You were stupid giving that daft goal away’. He punched me straight off the back of the couch on to the floor.’

Did Jack and Bobby Charlton reconcile?

The warring siblings were spotted together in public in 2008 in a rare sighting since their feud began.

Jack presented Bobby with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award, with the duo enjoying a warm embrace which seemed to draw a line under their differences.

Row Flowers with Sir Bobby Charlton and Jack Charlton
Ron Flowers with Sir Bobby Charlton and Jack Charlton (Picture: Getty)

Handing over the award, Jack said: ‘Bobby Charlton is the greatest player I’ve ever seen. He’s my brother.’

Bobby and Jack were seen alongside each other at the funeral of fellow World Cup winning star Ray Wilson, who passed away aged 83 in 2018.

Owing to Bobby’s ill-health, he did not attend Jack’s funeral when his older brother passed away aged 85 in 2020.

He did, however, leave a heartfelt note on his wreath which simply read, ‘Rest in peace, Jack. Sending our deepest sympathy.’

MORE : Diogo Dalot dedicates Man Utd win over Sheffield United to Sir Bobby Charlton

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