Charlie Williams (footballer)

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This article is about the English footballer. For the Doncaster Rovers player turned comedian, see Charlie Williams (comedian). For other people called Charles or Charlie Williams, see Charles Williams.
Charlie Williams
Personal information
Full name Charles Albert Williams
Date of birth (1873-11-19)19 November 1873
Place of birth Welling, Kent, England
Date of death 1952 (aged 78–79)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1891–1894 Woolwich Arsenal 19 (0)
1894–1902 Manchester City 232 (1)
1902–1905 Tottenham Hotspur
1905–1906 Norwich City 29
1906–1908 Brentford 59 (0)
Teams managed
1908–1910 Denmark
1911–1912 Fluminense
B 93
Lille OSC
1924–1926 Fluminense
1928 America FC (RJ)
1929–1930 Botafogo FC
1930–1931 Flamengo
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Charles Albert "Charlie" Williams (19 November 1873 – 1952) was an English football goalkeeper and manager, who was the first goalkeeper known to have scored a goal in a first-class match.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Williams started his career as a youth with minor clubs Phoenix and Erith before joining Royal Arsenal in 1891. He spent his first two seasons in and out of the first team, and started the 1893–94 season, Arsenal's first in the Football League, as regular goalkeeper, being in goal for Arsenal's very first game against Newcastle United on 2 September 1893.

However, Williams was in goal for some of Arsenal's most heavy defeats that season, including a 0–6 defeat to Newcastle United and a 0–5 loss to Liverpool. Arsenal signed Harry Storer in the 1894 close season and duly sold Williams on to Manchester City; he had played 23 first-class matches in total for Arsenal.[2]

At City, he was regular goalkeeper for eight seasons, and while there he won a Second Division winners' medal in 1898–99, and became the first goalkeeper in history to score a goal from open play, with a long clearance against Sunderland at Roker Park on 14 April 1900.

He later had spells with Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City and Brentford,[3] 59 Southern League appearances for the latter club.[4]

Coaching career[edit]

Already in 1905 and 1907 there are reports of Williams taking charge of Københavns Boldklub (KB) in Denmark. In the Danish source it is written, that Williams had quit football already in 1905. [5] After retiring as a player, he became a manager, taking charge of the Danish national team, whom he led through the football tournament of the 1908 Olympics in London. After defeating the French B and A teams 9–0 and 17–1, Denmark lost the gold medal match to Great Britain around the famous striker Vivian Woodward in London with 0–2. Sophus Nielsen from Denmark was the top-scorer of the tournament with eleven goals.

He also later managed the Danish club B 93 and French side Olympique Lillois.

Early 1911 Oscar Cox, co-founder of the Fluminense FC of Rio de Janeiro, on a visit in London, hired Charles Williams to coach his club. For this Williams was remunerated with a monthly salary of £18 plus accommodation, alimentation and two return voyages.[6] The man who "knows all the secrets and means of the violent sport," arrived on 16 March 1911 in Rio with the boat Oropesa, becoming the first ever professional football coach in town – Fluminense itself had been managed by a Ground Committee up to then.[7] With the club he won the Championship of Rio of 1911 with six wins, no draws and no defeats and 21–1 goals. The next year was disappointing with only a fifth place in the competition, now enlarged to eight clubs. During the 1912 championship he also managed the team in the first ever Fla-Flu derby against CR Flamengo on 7 July 1912, which Fluminense won 3–2.

From May 1924 until September 1926 he returned to the helm of Fluminense, winning the Rio-Championship of 1924 and a second and third place in the years thereafter.

In Rio he also managed America FC, with which he won the Championship of Rio de Janeiro of 1928, defeating Fluminense in the decisive match 3–2.[8] From about April 1929 until the arrival of the Hungarian coach Nicolas Ladany a year later he also managed Botafogo FC, before coaching CR Flamengo 1930–31 in 38 matches.[9]

Personal life[edit]

He died in 1952 in South America, aged 78. He was buried in the Cemitério dos Ingleses in the Gamboa district in Rio. Reports say he had a son, also named Charlie, who was a referee in the 1950s.

Seth Burkett, a Lincolnshire born youngster, is his great-great nephew. After being spotted by Brazilian football agents while his local team Stamford AFC were on tour in the country, he signed for Sorriso EC, a club playing in the state league of Mato Grosso, where he debuted in November 2009. Burkett has received plenty of media attention as the only Englishman be playing professionally in Brazil. He returned to Stamford AFC, playing on the seventh level of English football, in 2010.


  1. ^ Rice, Simon (5 January 2012). "Goal scoring goalies: Keepers who found the net". London: The Independent. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Harris, Jeff (1995). Hogg, Tony, ed. Arsenal Who's Who. Independent UK Sports. ISBN 1-899429-03-4. 
  3. ^ Haynes, Graham (1998). A-Z Of Bees: Brentford Encyclopaedia. Yore Publications. p. 137. ISBN 1 874427 57 7. 
  4. ^ White, Eric, ed. (1989). 100 Years Of Brentford. Brentford FC. p. 359. ISBN 0951526200. 
  5. ^ Idrætsbladets Julenummer, 1933 ("Udenlandske Fodboldtrænere i Danmark" af Harry Bendixen)
  6. ^ Diário de Notícia (RJ): "Um treinador profissional há 23 annos passados", 27 July 1939.
  7. ^ O Pais (RJ), 17 March 1911, p. 9
  8. ^ Alexandre M. Berwanger, Luis E. L. Gurgel: Matches when America won titles, Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation and RSSSF Brazil, 20 March 2012.
  9. ^ Charles Williams, Flapédia, 19 February 2014.

External links[edit]