Aidan Brett (YBIG team manager), Liam Murray (founder of YBIG and captain), Pat Charlton and Carina O’Brien (Vice-Consul General of Ireland for the North East of England representing the government of Ireland).

By Brian Bennett

The ‘You Boys in Green’ from Eire won the Jack Charlton Memorial Cup which was held at Ashington’s Woodhorn Lane ground on Saturday.

The match – which was preceded by the playing of the National Anthems of both countries followed by a minutes silence – saw EnglandFans FC hold a half time lead but the YBIG hit back in the second half scoring twice to lift the Trophy which was presented by Jack’s widow Pat, who was the guest of honour.

The game was arranged to celebrate the life of Jack – a World Cup winner with England in 1966 – who sadly passed away in 2020.

Aidan Brett, manager of YBIG said afterwards: “I was delighted with the win but to be honest it was more important to have two groups of fans enjoying a lovely game of football with great character and friendship. It was a good encounter and the result could have gone either way with both goalkeepers Guy Morton (England) and Darren Brady (Eire) pulling off some fine saves. However the score can be very much secondary as it’s about the spirit of football.”

He continued: “Pat Charlton is such a lovely lady and it was fantastic to celebrate the life of such a great man as Jack who we’ve so much respect for. Certainly he’d have loved it today.”

Englandfans FC boss Garford Beck – whose squad came from various parts of the country – was hoping for a change in fortunes after his side had lost three previous games against YBIG – but it wasn’t to be and he said:  “We got our noses in front through Toby Dawkins on 21 minutes and had a couple of other chances – but so did the visitors as well. Our goalkeeper Guy Morton kept us well in the game with two good saves and we went into the break 1-0 up but second half the YBIG wanted it more than we did. For a fans match it was very competitive and the standard was good. They (YBIG) are a much younger team than ours and it told in the end as they looked the sharper and deserved to win.”

Liam Murray – who founded YBIG in 2005 said: “It’s good to be over here in Jack’s home town of Ashington. It was pretty special to meet Pat and their son and it was great to be taken to see the house in Beatrice Street where Jack used to live.”

Ms Carina O’Brien – the Vice-Consul General of Ireland for the North of England representing the government of Ireland said: “After seeing the pictures of Jack on the walls inside Ashington FC resonates so much as an Irish person. It takes me back to a very special time in my life as a person who followed and grew up in the Charlton era of football and it was quite emotional.”

She continued: “Jack Charlton was a very special man to us, personally, professionally and in our country and it was great to come to his home. It’s been an all round great-feeling day, a proud day for the people of Ashington, a proud day for English people because he was an English hero. Jack did win the highest accolade in the world in football and it was a very proud and privileged moment for Irish people here today.”

The proceeds from the match were being shared between the Jack Charlton Disabled Anglers Association and the Alzheimer Society of Ireland.