When Jack Charlton admitted to having a little black book during a television interview in 1970, viewers perhaps wondered if they were about to be made privy to some scandalous secrets by the seemingly happily married World Cup winner. But instead of providing juicy stories for the gossip pages, Charlton’s disclosure ended up sparking a scandal that would dominate the back pages for weeks, as journalists and officials tumbled over one another in self righteously denouncing the tough as nails veteran defender.
Charlton had made it clear that his little black book did not contain women’s telephone numbers, but names of players that he would do on the field if he got the chance because they had committed bad fouls on him. Charlton really hadn’t said much wrong. He had explicitly denounced bad or nasty fouls. It did not lessen the media frenzy that followed. “These sickening comments,” ran a headline in the Daily Express, above an article that called on Leeds to sack Charlton. Even Bobby Charlton was trotted out to denounce his older brother. The Football Association dutifully charged the man with 35 caps to his name with bringing the game into disrepute.