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  • Writer's pictureThe Season Ticket

The Alcove | Jack Charlton still hits a note 24 years on

If podcasts are your bag, there are an inexhaustible amount of options to choose from at your fingers end.

An inventory doesn't need to be rolled out. If there is a topic, a person, a genre, you can think of, you won't need to walk the length of the River Barrow to find it. But you may need to do a little weeding, to find something that floats your barge.

Whether it's copy and paste lifts of audio from daytime radio or those who specialize in specific genres, there is, on Irish shores alone, a multitude to choose from.

If the Second Captains podcast is innovative, smart and warm, it had good company, in the likes of Eamon Dunphy's The Stand, which has been particularly industrious in recent months.

The list can, and does, go on. But what happens when the lay of the podcast land in front of you flattens out, and you lose speed. What you have bookmarked or saved, now is history.

You have little choice, but to elbow the brambles aside, and find content, often with some endeavour.

Eventually, having dabbled in some mire, you will get lucky.

The former England World Cup winner Jack Charlton, led the Republic of Ireland in a golden age for its international football team.

The bit of luck alluded to, was a yearning, bear with me, to hear Jack Charlton's voice. If you are of a particular vintage {and onwards}, there is a lure in the former Ireland managers gruff ways and direct discourse, that holds a sentimentality and warmth to those who grew up with him.

In a 1996 episode of Desert Ireland Discs, Charlton was interviewed by Sue Lawley. A lot of the stories tied in with his autobiography that same year, which in turn led to his involvement with Lawley.

Peter Byrne, the former Irish Times sports writer, did a unique job in capturing Charlton's voice and essence in the book. But it was just as agreeable to hear him speak about his parents in person, about "our kid" Bobby, who he more than alluded to being a Mummy's boy. A strained relationship which the book covers in greater depth.

But on Desert Island Discs, the charm he conveys is effortless and a little bit flippant. But it is there all the same. When Lawley, who doesn't seem to know how to put a foot wrong, alludes to his millionaire status, he responds, as he often does, with a brief pause, with "who told you that?" You can feel his wry smile, 24 years later.

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