Charlton v Bournemouth October 1926 – I was there!

A few weeks ago CAS Trust set out to discover if there was anyone still alive who had seen Charlton in a lower League position than 18th in the third tier.

We recently received an email from Alan Oliver sent on behalf of his father Don who was pretty sure he was one of the 6,563 supporters who saw the 1-3 defeat by Bournemouth (which was Charlton's seventh defeat in nine games) on 9th October 1926. Don went with his father and he thinks it would have cost his dad "one and six" to get in and "ninepence" for Don.

Don was eight years old at the time. He remembers in particular full back Norman Smith (who was to play 417 times for the club), Dai Astley and Jack Pugsley. In the 1930s Don moved to Merriman Road in Blackheath where he was neighbours with Frank Harris, John Oakes, Jimmy Trotter and Harold "he could turn on a sixpence" Hobbis. Don's mother babysat for Charlton forward George Stephenson who was in the team for the back to back promotions 1934-36. Don says he remembers Harold Hobbis breaking his leg in a game against Villa - "it sounded like a rifle crack".

He didn't go to many away games as it was quite expensive but he was at the famous fogbound game at Stamford Bridge. All he could see from the terraces was Sam Bartram peering up the field. Neither Don nor Sam saw any players for quite a while and assumed Charlton must be attacking. Eventually a figure loomed out of the fog. It was a policeman who informed Sam that the game had been abandoned ten minutes earlier.

Don was living in digs waiting for his home to have bomb damage repaired in 1947 and he remembers listening to the semi-final against Newcastle on the wireless. Newcastle had been pleased to draw Charlton "thinking it would be an easy win" but Charlton won 4-0 despite five of the team suffering from food poisoning. On the day of the final Don was "moping in bed" as he didn't have a ticket but George Stephenson put one through the letter box for him. "It was the dullest cup final ever" complained Don although he enjoyed Chris Duffy's goal. "He looked at the goal like a dartboard and aimed for double top".

Don is one of the few people to admit that he wasn't at the Huddersfield 7-6 game. He missed it because he was delivering Christmas presents instead. Even worse - he went to The Oval on August 14th 1948 to see Don Bradman get the four runs he needed to end his test career with an average of 100. He admits to being late and by the time he got there Bradman was out bowled for a duck. Don Oliver had failed to see Don Bradman failing to make history.

But he was at "the last game at The Valley" against Stoke and he was thrilled to be at Wembley on 25th May 1998 for "the best game he's ever been to".

We are pleased to report that, since Don made contact with us, Charlton have moved up to 14th position.