A Closer Look at the Record Books

Following the Addicks recent record-breaking 8-0 win at Stevenage, Charlton Museum Trustee Ben Hayes, delves into the history books to look at some of the other, even more comprehensive Addicks victories since the club’s formation.

First published in Valley Review on October 23rd 2018

The win at Stevenage has, deservedly, generated at great deal of interest and even more questions. Toby Stevenson was the 82nd Charlton player to score on his debut but the first to have hit a hat-trick on their first start. One of our hard-working researchers, Jon Laysell, tell us that three players, Trevor Edmonds (1931), Alexander McCrae (1947), Darren Bent (2005), have scored a brace on first outing but we can’t find any other first-time hat tricks.

A few less than generous fans have questioned whether the 8 (eight) – 0 win should even count as a record because of the competition. The museum’s view is that this is classed as a first team competition so the record stands. The FA Cup and League Cup also often see less than full strength sides take the field but all the games are deemed first team games. Although, we agree that a similar victory over an U21 side would have been more problematic. In any case, the 8-1 win over Middlesbrough in the top flight in 1953 remains our record league victory so it hasn’t been wiped from the record books.

One point the museum are keen to make is that the Stevenage game was not our biggest victory EVER. It is our biggest win in a senior first team competitive game since we joined that football league in 1921 but it’s important to always remember that our history stretches back to a group of 14 and 15 year olds on the back streets of New Charlton and didn’t start in 1921.

The Addicks were a very dominant side in those early days winning whatever league they were in eight (there’s that number again) years in a row. So, there were a number of big wins in competitive games back then. In our first season in the Lewisham League III we beat Dartmouth Athletic 8-0 and in 1908/9 smashed East Greenwich Gasworks 11-0, thumped Royal Army Medical Corps 9-0 away and 8-0 at home and thrashed Deptford Central Hall 15-0.

Eight and nine and even ten goals to nil wins were a fairly regular occurrence before World War One. After the Great War, Charlton moved up to the Kent League and then the Southern League so these were at a much higher level but Ordnance were still beaten 8 – 0 on Christmas Day 1919, a game for which we have the programme. This may have been the first programme produced for a Charlton home game, we certainly know of none earlier.

As you might expect such score lines were rarer once the Addicks joined the league but in 1938/9 we did beat Manchester United 7 – 1 at the Valley in the first division. Friendlies were often a source of big wins in this era and maybe because of the many links between the area and the military we seemed to like handing out tonkings to the armed forces, beating the Royal Navy (1954/5) and the Woolwich Garrison (1934/5) by the same 10 – 0 score line. The RAF got off with just an 8 -1 defeat in 1939/40.

But there are two other contenders for biggest Charlton win ever in a competitive game. As recently as last season the Charlton Athletic Women’s Team had a 22-0 win over Tonbridge Angels.

But the museum’s stats man, for whom we are very grateful for the bulk of the work on the above, Paul Baker tells us that his Addicks hero Eddie Marshall maintained that Charlton’s biggest win was against Choumert FC. In 1912/3 we beat the Peckham based side 10 -1 away but Eddie, a founding member of the club, recalled that the home match was little more than a “kicking in” practice for Charlton, so much as that Addicks wing-half Jack Sudds enlivened proceedings by scoring one for the other side. Paul can find no official record of the game but according to Marshall we won 26 – 1.

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