Former Lord Mayor of York apologises after Jack Charlton comments provoke angry backlash

Jack Charlton when he was Republic of Ireland manager in 1995. Photograph: PA Wire
12 Jul 2020 @ 9.37 am
| News

Dave Taylor, York’s first Green Lord Mayor, has apologised for causing offence over comments he made about the death of Jack Charlton.

The football legend died yesterday (Saturday). He was 85 and had lymphoma and cancer.

Cllr Taylor posted this on Facebook: “Jack ‘Bloodsports’ Charlton has died. Sick of the adulation of this animal abuser. Being good at kicking a leather football around does not absolve him.”

The post upset a lot of people and provoked an immediate backlash. In response Cllr Taylor deleted it and apologised for any offence caused.

Charlton was a Yorkshire footballing hero. He spent his entire career at Leeds United, making a record 773 appearances for the club, was a part of the 1966 England World Cup winning team and managed the Republic of Ireland to great acclaim.

He also enjoyed fishing and shooting, which led to Cllr Taylor’s remarks.

Hundreds of comments

Dave Taylor was Lord Mayor of York in 2016

The Facebook post led to many angry responses accusing him of disrespect. But the councillor was initially unrepentant, replying to one commenter: “I didn’t advocate being cruel to him [Charlton], I just don’t think he should be lauded as some sort of hero. Fuck him.”

Others backed him, and criticised Charlton’s enthusiastic participation in bloodsports.

The post had generated more than 300 comments before the councillor deleted it.

At least one York resident has written to City of York Council to complain about Cllr Taylor’s “appalling and offensive lack of respect”.

Upset a lot of people

Cllr Dave Taylor

Shortly after midnight today Cllr Taylor posted: “I’ve clearly upset a lot of people with my comment about Jack Charlton’s involvement in bloodsports. I apologise for causing offence.”

That didn’t mollify everyone. “Like the guy or not, agree with his actions or not, to show such unnecessary public contempt and disrespect for a family man whom an awful lot of people loved, who leaves a mourning family is simply disgusting Dave you should be ashamed, especially given your profile as a CYC councillor,” said Marc Allinson.

Kristopher Ellis came to the defence of Cllr Taylor, who was Lord Mayor of York in 2016 and represents Fishergate Ward for the Green Party.

“I think he may have used some misplaced wording with Ill judged timing but the way he has been treated and some of the names he has been called is totally unacceptable to any reasonable person,” he wrote.