Chris Waddle has told FourFourTwo about what it was like playing for Jack Charlton – and the heated discussion with the former Newcastle United manager that resulted in the World Cup winner sending him out of the office.
Charlton got the Toon job in 1984, after Magpies legend Jackie Milburn convinced him to accept the role. Waddle was established in the side at the time, now revealing that though he liked his manager back then, there were aspects of his management that he disagreed with.
“I liked Jack as a person, but I was never a fan of his football,” Waddle tells FFT now. “It was myself and Beardsley up top, the ball would be launched over us, and he’d just tell us to get on the ball and run with it.
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“I went into his office one day and said that rather than lumping the ball over us to run onto, it could be played into our feet. I tried to persuade him to change and must have sat in his office for half an hour, going through everything. He listened, but then simply said, ‘No, out!’ He wasn’t for changing.
“He was like Bobby Robson in not knowing any of our names, too. For years, Bobby called Mark Hateley ‘Tony’, after his dad. He’d even call Bryan Robson ‘Bobby’ – Bryan had to keep reminding him, ‘You’re Bobby, I’m Bryan’.”
Not knowing players' names would extend to team talks and telling players the starting lineup with Waddle recalling how players would find out if they were playing.
“Jack would come into the changing room the day before a game, after having his usual cigarette outside, and go through the starting line-up,” he says. “Right, tomorrow we’re up against Ipswich – in goal…’, then he’d glance around everyone, fix his eyes on Kevin Carr and say, ‘the goalkeeper’. He didn’t know his name. He’d go through the XI and instead of names, he’d point at ‘the big lad’ or ‘the little lad’. You sat there in total astonishment – this was his pre-match team talk.
“When we went to Ipswich, he had a piece of paper with all of the opposition names on it with notes, written by his assistant, Maurice Setters. He started off: ‘Paul Cooper, great at saving penalties, so today, lads, don’t get any penalties’. He went through the entire team like that. It was incredible.”
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