Bobby Charlton breaks silence over Jack rift

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SIR Bobby Charlton has spoken for the first time about the bitter feud that continues to rumble between himself and his brother Jack.

The pair barely speak more than a decade after Jack publicly criticised the former Manchester United star for refusing to see their mother Cissie on her death bed. At the time he said it was because of a row between Cissie and Sir Bobby's wife Norma.

Sir Bobby, a 2012 Olympics ambassador, said: "My wife is a very strong character and does not suffer fools gladly. I am not saying my mother was a fool. There was a clash and it just never went away really.

"[Jack] came out in the newspapers saying things about my wife that were absolutely disgraceful. Nonsense. Ask anybody that ever met my wife: 'hoity-toity' is not a word they'd use.

"My brother made a big mistake, I don't understand why he did it. He couldn't possibly have known her and said what he said. I was astonished."

Jack's comments in 1996 led to a confrontation between the siblings. "He wouldn't back down," Sir Bobby said. "I wanted him to explain."

Now the brothers do not meet, even at Christmas, except at an annual reunion of England's 1966 World Cup-winning players.

Sir Bobby said: "If I see him, I speak to him. We go to the reunions and we'll talk. I don't think anybody should feel sad about it. He's a big lad, I'm a big lad and you move on. I'm not going to ruin the rest of my life worrying about my brother and I've no doubt he's the same. If we see each other we say hello. I'm sorry it happened, but life goes on."

In 1996 Jack, former Republic of Ireland manager, said of Bobby: "Mother adored him and towards the end was desperate to see him. She couldn't understand why he wouldn't come. My other two brothers, Gordon and Tommy, visited her regularly, but not Robert. I just don't want to know him."