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Remembered: Jack Charlton stood tall for injured schoolboy Ian

By Toby Neal | Market Drayton | Nostalgia | Published:

As schoolboy Ian Croskell lay terribly injured in a coma, his footballing hero Jack Charlton visited him in hospital.

Ian meets his hero Jack Charlton at Hawkstone.

So when years later Jack came to Shropshire to play in a charity golf day, Ian was determined to go along to thank him personally.

And now Ian has added his own special tribute to the legendary Leeds and England player, who has died aged 85.

"I loved Jack Charlton and I miss him. He was my favourite footballer ever, and such a gentleman," said 57-year-old Ian.

"I was in a serious car accident when I was 12 years old and was in a coma for about three months, and Jack Charlton, who was then the Middlesbrough manager, and Graeme Souness made a tape for me, and I was told Jack visited me in hospital. It certainly did help.

"So when Jack was doing a charity golf match at Hawkstone Park golf club in 1998 I thought it was a way of saying thank you to him, although many years later.

"I thought it was the only opportunity I was going to get to meet him and thank him. I was living then in Market Drayton so I went to Hawkstone Park and stood in the foyer for a couple of hours.

Photographer

"One of his best mates was the then Shrewsbury Town chairman, whose name I can't remember, and he came in with him and walked straight past me. The gentleman who had organised the charity day grabbed hold of the chairman and told him about me.

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"Jack was in the pro shop and all of a sudden the Shrewsbury Town chairman went 'Hey, Jack, there's a lad here who wants to see you.' I told Jack what had happened.

"He said 'You know summat, I only did that twice – once for yourself, and once when I was the Republic of Ireland manager.' "

The pair then went to the first tee for a Star photographer to take a picture.

Ian said: "We got on so well. I said I would love to be his caddy and go round with him, and at first he said yes, but I hadn't got any golf shoes so it didn't happen."

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Ian's schoolboy accident had happened when he was knocked down by a car when he lived in Ormesby, just outside Middlesbrough.

"I fully recovered. Life's been hard, but I manage," he said.

He is now a taxi driver in Kendal in the Lake District, albeit furloughed.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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