Wednesday 6 September 2017

Sam Bartram was my boyhood hero

Canine supporters help boost the attendance at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium

I have to admit that Sam Bartram was my boyhood hero at Charlton. He was a bit of a showman and a risk taker which is perhaps why he didn't get very much in the way of international preferment.

My father was very sceptical about his retail venture in Floyd Road, saying that people went in there thinking they would be served by him when he had installed a manager. His own subsequent career in football management was not that successful, but then he became a football writer in a day when the Sunday papers liked to have 'big names'. Probably if there had been Match of the Day he would have been on it occasionally, although he didn't have a lot to say for himself in the way that the likes of Alan Shearer do.

Leamington's current keeper, Tony Breeden, is the nearest keeper I have ever seen in style to Bartram, although not of the same quality. However, the sight of him tearing down the pitch unsettled opposition teams and there is a particular pleasure in seeing a keeper score other than from a corner or a penalty. Now that the Brakes have been promoted to the National League North, he is find life more challenging and the club are second from bottom.

Tony Breeden saves in the penalty shootout at Molineux, having scored the first penalty. Crowd is to left.

In particular, Breeden was noted for his fierce and accurate shots, but seemed to have lost his shooting boots. I last saw him score at Molineux against Wolves Under-23s to win the Birmingham Senior Cup, a splendid Victorian trophy that sits in the boardroom.

Last night, however, the madcap biman got his first goal of the season, leading to the chant not heard for a while: 'Tony Breeden, on the wing, on the wing.' Leamington still lost 2-3 though.


  1. Hi Wyn,
    Mine to what a man. My memory of Sam was just before my 6th birthday I was picked up from school (Fosters Junior in Welling) by my wonderful Dad and his mate he had a car to be taken to choose my present.
    To my pleasure we pulled up outside the great mans emporium. Dad had arranged something special for there to meet me as I entered was the great man himself along with his lovely wife. Chose a white football new to the market I was told. To top it all was a pair of socks and shin pads given by Sam and his wife respectively. What a day. John W

  2. That's a wonderful memory to treasure and undermines my father's scepticism about Bartram's presence in the shop. My father bought me football boots when I was seven in the hope that I would go one better than him as a non-league footballer, but I had two left feet! In fact the competitive sport I took part in was orienteering.

  3. Sam was an amazing character. His hairstyle was distinctive and he was always recognisable when he used to shop in Powis Street in Woolwich. Such a nice friendly man.

  4. Boyhood memory part 2
    Whilst in the shop my hero mentioned that the next match was Arsenal away and was I going. I looked longingly at my Dad and nodded yes.To that Sam the man said that if I got behind the goal and shouted he would say hello. Well there I was behind the goal and luckily it was the the warm up end. I shouted a few times he eventually heard me not only did he wave but came round behind the goal saying hello John and asked me how my birthday had been and had I played with the ball yet. I was beaming from ear to ear and a bit more. I felt 10 feet tall WOW what a day that is why Sam will always be my hero. John W

    1. I wish I had had that sort of personal contact with Bartram!