Friday, 18 December 2020


Want to know more about the life and times of Jimmy Seed?

I've started a separate blog which will take a look at his life in more detail.

I've just published a post about his little sister Minnie, which followed a post about his early years.

Saturday, 14 July 2018








James Smith


Billy Walker - Aston Villa


Alf Strange, Wednesday and England Half-Back

Wednesday, 13 June 2018


This is one of my favourite (modern era) pieces of  writing about Jimmy Seed:


Neil Dixe Wills discovers the life and times of Jimmy Seed, through his classic autobiography The Jimmy Seed Story

“Eventually there will be a soccer League of Nations with clubs flying off to South America in little more time than it would take Newcastle to travel to Plymouth by train. These days may not be realised in my time, but they are coming.” Meet Jimmy Seed: child soldier, double title-winner, leviathan of The Valley and, judging by the statement above, pretty useful soothsayer.
Seed’s is a story forever teetering on the brink of caricature: early teens down t’pit, the inevitably failed first trial with Sunderland and the return, Boy’s Own style, to score a hat-trick and book his ticket out of the mines in April 1914. Bad timing all round, really. Football stopped soon afterwards and the war dragged on sufficiently for Jimmy to become old enough to join the Cyclist Corps. He was duly gassed and sent home. To add insult to injury, when he reported back at Roker Park he discovered that he’d been offloaded to non-League Mid-Rhondda.
That’s about as bad as it ever got. From Wales he went to Tot­tenham, winning the 1921 FA Cup. Six years later Spurs sold him to Sheffield Wednesday be­cause he refused a £1 per week pay cut. 

Such a transfer sounds innocuous enough but I defy anyone to come up with a more cataclysmic sale in all of history. With ten matches remaining, Wednesday were seven points adrift at the foot of the First Division. New signing Seed was appointed cap­tain. They collected 17 points out of 20 (including four off Spurs – Jimmy scoring in both games, naturally) and finished 14th. Seed led them to the championship the next season. Oh, and the season after that. Spurs, on the other hand, plummeted from seventh before Easter and were relegated. They spent the next five years in the Second Division. Whoops.

Success mercilessly dogged Seed when he moved from the pitch to the dug-out. He spent 23 years as secretary-manager of Charlton, taking them from the Third Division to the First, was pipped for the championship the next season and then kept them in the First Division despite having to make a profit on player transfers every year. There was also the matter of back-to-back FA Cup final appearances (oddly enough, the two “bursting ball” finals), winning the latter one. Seed was a Dave Bassett long before the phrase “doing a Wimbledon” ever troubled our lexicon. The Dons connection doesn’t end there. The Charlton owners, as a tax dodge, wanted to move the club permanently to South Africa. Makes Dublin seem quite sane by comparison.

As in much of life, the real fascination with The Jimmy Seed Story comes from what it doesn’t tell you. His entire wartime service merits just one paragraph. More intriguing still, his England appearances are afforded a mere four words: “ playing career with Sunderland, Mid-Rhondda, Spurs, Sheffield Wednesday and, of course, England.” It does make you wonder just how bad it can have been to justify reducing the experience to a conjunction, an adverbial phrase and a proper noun. 

However, one story he does deign to narrate is that of Charlton’s hilarious-if-it-didn’t-happen-to-you South American tour. On arrival in Colombia their passports were taken from them by their hosts, club side Millonarios. They were then held captive and told which teams they would have to play before they were allowed home. They subsequently fetched up in Peru and Ecuador, and took part in a mass brawl with Argentine players which was only broken up when armed troops stormed the pitch. With exemp­lary understatement, Seed con­cludes that after that he preferred close-season tours to Sweden.

The promotions aside, the book makes for heart-rending reading for Charlton fans. Seed’s book is full of the greatness that might have been theirs. To say that, but for a poor decision in the boardroom and the rise of the motorised bus, they could have emulated Arsenal is no idle speculation. In 1932, the Gliksten brothers planned to make Charlton the most glamorous club in England and increase the capacity of The Valley to a gob-smacking 200,000. Then they fatally baulked at the pittance required to bring Stanley Matthews to the capital. The decline of the tram helped kill off big gates at Charlton and from then on they became a selling club.

Seed claims that even in the years before and after the Second World War “the cheque book ruled football” and that corruption or attempted corruption was rife. However, the overwhelming scent that rises from the now delicately sepia-ed pages is that of an inn­ocence long since banished from the game. The book teems with brims of trilbies, half-back lines consisting of Joblings, Pugsleys and Biswells, and presentations of handsome pen-and-pencil sets. Call me a hopeless romantic if you like but, somehow, I prefer that.

From WSC 158 April 2000

Tuesday, 12 June 2018


'By the time we get to 1970 we want a stadium fit for 1970... In the next 20 years or so grounds which hold more than 40,000 people will be obsolete.'
(Michael Gliksten 1968)

Friday, 8 December 2017


In May 1937 Jimmy Seed's Charlton Athletic headed off on a tour of America and Canada.

The squad is shown on the passenger list from the S S Empress of Australia, which left Southampton on 19 May and arrived in Quebec on 26 May 1937. Information includes the players’ clubs, their next of kin, and even their appearance. It states that the trip has been paid for by Charlton Athletic Club, that every player has been given £10 in US dollars, and that they will be based at the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York.

The entry for James Seed shows that his next of kin is his wife Annie Dixon Seed of 33 New Street Hill, Bromley, Kent, and that he himself is 5ft 10ins tall with a dark complexion, dark hair turning grey, and brown eyes.

The tour is described in a website The Year in American Soccer 1937 as follows:

Charlton Athletic of England: May 30 to June 27, 1937. Results: 5 wins, 1 draw, 0 losses.

Bartram, Boulter, Cann, Ford, Green, Hobbis, Jobling, Oakes, Robinson, Shreeve, Stephenson, Tadman, Tann, Turner, Welsh, Wilkinson, Williams. Manager: James Seed
May 30    Charlton 1, American League Stars 1 (at New York City)
June 2     Charlton 2, West Penn Stars 0 (at Pittsburgh)
June 5     Charlton 4, Michigan Stars 0 (at Detroit)
June 6     Charlton 4, Illinois Stars 1 (at Chicago)
June 26   Charlton 7, East Penn Stars 0 (at Philadelphia)
June 27   Charlton 4, USS FA 0 (at New York City)

Another website gives more detailed information on the Canadian part of the tour…
Charlton Athletic Tour, 1937
Charlton Athletic players were: Sam Bartram, Herbert Turner, Sidney Cann, John Shreeve, Joseph Jobling, John Oakes, Herbert Tann, Donald Welsh, Fred Ford, Monty Wilkinson, George Robinson, George Tadman, Leslie Boulter, Harold Hobbis, Lenard Williams, George Stephenson and George Green. 

June 9, 1937, at Mewata Stadium in Calgary, Alberta
Alberta All-Stars 1 (Barrie) Charlton Athletic 12 (Hobbis 5, Welsh 3, Wilkinson 3, Tadman)

June 13, 1937, at Con Jones Park in Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver All-Stars 2 (Spencer, Brown) Charlton Athletic 3 (Welsh 2, Robinson)

June 14, 1937, at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria All-Stars 0 Charlton Athletic 4 (Wilkinson, Williams, Welsh 2)

June 17, 1937, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan All-Stars 2 (Makepease 2) Charlton Athletic 12 (Tadman 7, Wilkins 2, Boulter, Williams, Robinson)

June 19, 1937, in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Manitoba All-Stars 1 (Hampton) Charlton Athletic 9 (Robinson, Welsh 4, Hobbis 2, Wilkinson, Ford)

June 23, 1937, at Consols Stadium in Toronto, Ontario
Ontario All-Stars 1 (Aiken) Charlton Athletic 6 (Hobbis 2, Tadman 3, Green)

July 1, 1937, at Royals Stadium in Montreal, Quebec
Montreal 0 Charlton Athletic 4 (Wilkinson, Hobbis, o.g., Tadman)

Friday, 8 September 2017


Thrilled to discover that Jimmy Seed's 'missing cap' is currently on loan in the National Football Museum in Manchester. Jimmy gave away quite a few medals and a couple of caps, and we considered this one lost, so it's great to hear that it's turned up safe and sound.

It was used in an exhibition in 2014, alongside those of his old Sunderland teammate Tom Wilson, and Sam Wadsworth of Blackburn and Huddersfield Town. The museum focused on them for a section exploring how players who were rejected by their clubs after the war later went onto big and better things elsewhere.

The cap is owned by a private collector and the museum are passing on my details to see if he or she might be interested in allowing the cap to return to the fold.

[Latest: The Jones family have very kindly returned the cap 'on permanent loan'. We aim to have it on display at The Charlton Museum in the next couple of months.]

The cap was awarded for a match played on 19 March 1923 - England 6 Belgium 1 (JS scored one goal), which was apparently England's first international match against a non 'home' nation (which in those days included Ireland, for football purposes only).

The gate was only 14,052; Receipts: £899. 
This wasn't a heralded match by any means. You'd have to call it a friendly, as there were no proper international tournaments at that time, the FIFA World Cup not getting underway until 1930. Jimmy's little sister Minnie had played in front of far bigger crowds only a couple of years earlier, which puts this match into some context. Nonetheless, it was historic, if not earthshattering in its time.


Age 26
1 21 May 1921 - Belgium 0 England 2

Age 27
2 21 October 1922 - England 2 Ireland 0, The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
3 5 March 1923 - Wales 2 England 2, Ninian Park, Cardiff
4 19 March 1923 - England 6 Belgium 1, Highbury  (1 goal)

Age 30
5 4 April 1925 - Scotland 2 England 0, Hampden Park, Glasgow

The cap for the Scotland match is also missing. We'll be looking out for it from now on. If you know where it is, please let us know.

Jimmy also captained a highly successful England tour of South Africa, but this tour wasn't given full cap status.

South Africa Tour 1929 [c.Getty Images]
England v. Ireland 1922 [c.Getty Images]
Scotland v. England 1925 [c.Getty Images]