Sez Les: After Bobby and Jack comes Tommy Charlton

Tommy Charlton still playing football in Rotherham long after his more famous siblings Sir Bobby and Jack Charlton have retired
Tommy Charlton still playing football in Rotherham long after his more famous siblings Sir Bobby and Jack Charlton have retired
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They’re football’s most famous brothers are Bobby and Jack Charlton.

Of course, they long since hung up their boots but one of their footballing brothers is still playing - in Rotherham!

Tommy Charlton, now 67, still plays every week at the walking football sessions organised by Rotherham United Community Sports Trust and which have proved so popular.

“It’s given me a new lease of life,” says Tommy, his Geordie accent still strong from his upbringing in the old pit village of Ashington up in the North East.

“There I was, just sitting on the settee, watching the telly, not being active. I was being a couch potato. But this has really changed my outlook on life, I’m totally different now.

“I’m active, I’ve got mobile again and it’s amazing and all down to this football.”

In a twist, Bobby and Jack can now ask about Tommy’s football when, of course, it was always Tommy following the footballing careers of his older brothers (there is another brother, Gordon).

“I still speak on the phone with Bobby and Jack - when I told Jack I was playing football he said: “You silly old bugger”.

“Actually, I was never a good player - (I suppose you weren’t Tommy compared to your brothers) - but I broke my knee cap when I was 25 and that slowed me down.”

He began playing again when he was 30 but says he’d always play “at the drop of a hat”, a legacy of the football-mad area he came from and the family footballing connection on his mother’s side, her cousin being the Newcastle United legend Jackie Milburn.

When he worked at Ashington in Mines rescue, he says they used to play football to help keep fit.

“One day, when our Bobby came over, I talked him into playing,” says Tommy. “At half-time, we were winning 7-0, I’d scored all seven and Bobby had laid them all on. We then put him on the other side and we lost 8-7 and he made all eight.”

Tommy has lived in Rotherham for 30 years ever since he moved there to the Mines Rescue Station... “I was moved down from Scotland; they said mining in Yorkshire had a future but I got here just after the Miners’ strike started in 1984 so...”

His club, of course, remains Newcastle United but years ago he began to watch the Millers and goes regularly... “it’s been brilliant recently and it’s a brilliant stadium.”