Welsh legend Charles appears on anniversary stamps

Abrahams Lin

John Charles "the gentle giant"

John Charles “the gentle giant”

John Charles, the Welsh football legend, has been announced one of the 11 greatest ever football players that will appear on a set of stamps designed to mark the 150 anniversary of the Football Association.

Regarded as the finest football player in the history of Wales, the Swansea-born striker, who also played centre-back, died in 2004, aged 73.

Standing at 6 feet 2 inches, he had the remarkable achievement of never being cautioned or sent off during his 23-years-long career, earning him the nickname “the gentle giant”.

He started his career at Leeds United when he was 17, and then in 1957 he joined Juventus for £65,000, a transfer that broke the British transfer fee.

He won three Serie A championships and two Coppa Italia titles during his five years at Juventus before he returned to Leeds and played for Rome, Cardiff City, Hereford United and Merthyr Tydfil.

Charles was also in the Wales squad of the 1958 Sweden World Cup, the only time that saw Wales qualify for the tournament.

Jonathan Ford, chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, told the BBC, “All football supporters, not just in Wales, will be delighted with the news that John Charles is to be honoured and recognised in this way.”

Other players to figure in the stamp collection are Kevin Keegan, Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson, John Barnes, Gordon Banks, Jimmy Greaves, Denis Law, Dave Mackay, Bobby Moore and George Best.

The Royal Mail said the criteria by which they select the football players regards not only ability, but also style.


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