The Original Giant Killers

Ben Hayes continues the story of programmes donated by a late fan and the famous FA Cup run behind them.

First published in Valley Review on October 20th 2018

Last home game we wrote about the donation of two 1922/3 FA Cup programmes in memory of Eunice Farrell.

The two programmes, in fantastic condition given that they are nearly 100 years old, mark Charlton Athletics’ first imact on the national football consciousness.
Charlton had only turned professional in 1920 and only joined the third division south in 1921. They did not even enter the FA Cup in 1921/2 due to a clerical error so the 2 December 1922 home tie v Northampton was our first Valley cup game as a league club. The Addicks won 2 – 0 with goals from Thompson and “Kosha” Goodman against their fellow D3 South opponents in front of 8,000, a similar gate to recent league games. 10,000 saw the reds overcome Division 3 North Darlington in SE7 in the next round but then the real cup run began.

In the first round proper Charlton beat first division Manchester City 2 – 1 (Johnson and Goodman) at their Hyde road ground, then, like now, a giant killing. But the new boys weren’t finished. 22,490, a new record attendance at the Valley, saw a two-nil win (Goodman and Smith the scorers) over Proud Preston, another top-flight side, on 3 February 1923.

The Addicks were now national news and the draw for the next round saw Charlton take on yet another first division side in West Brom. Again, Goodman scored, the only goal, in front of another record gate, 31,489, more than five times the league average of 6,175 that season.

The prospect of playing in the FA Cup Final, then the pinnacle of football achievement, and at the newly completed Empire Stadium at Wembley, was real. Next up, In the equivalent of the quarter final, were Bolton, the fourth top flight side in a row that Charlton would face. Losing one nil in the first half, Goodman was bearing down on goal when a surge in the crowd caused 20 feet of barrier to collapse, causing a long delay and many injuries. Bolton went on to win one-nil and to lift the FA Cup in the white horse final. The story, according to Colin Cameron, was that the receipts from yet another record gate of 41,023 were paid away in compensation.

But the previously little-known side from South East London had put themselves on the football map. It was no coincidence that Seth Plum, a key part of the giant killing side would win Charlton’s first England cap a few months later.

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