I mentioned 'Wor Jackie' on Normblog, as one of my sporting heroes. Growing up on Tyneside in the 1950s of course he was the only hero. By all accounts a quiet and modest man his prowess on the field would I think have allowed him to stand up even in the modern game. He was stunningly fast - once running 200 yds in under 20 seconds. I still have a copy of his autobiography 'Golden Goals' given to me I think when I was 11.
I was working on Tyneside in 1988, when he died. The funeral cortege went past St James Park of course, but the streets of Newcastle were lined to watch him go by, even though he hadn't played since the 1960s. I know the office in which I worked became suspiciously quiet around that time.