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Charlton v Chelsea 8/9/1948 - Gags & Halibut Oil

I recently picked up an interesting item. Chelsea's visit to Charlton Athletic on Wednesday September 8th 1948 was not, in itself, exceptionally notable but there are a couple of unusual aspects.

Charlton went into the match unbeaten after 5 games and a 1-1 draw in this match (in front of 38,492 spectators) kept that run going. Chelsea had only 4 points from their 5 matches up until this point but at the end of the season both clubs were placed mid-table, the Addicks only 4 points above the west London team.

The Charlton players include the legendary Sam Bartram who played almost 600 games for the club and also Benny Fenton who I once saw on the central line when he was manager of Millwall (sadly still in my top 10 of famous people I have met/glimpsed). He scored Charlton's equalising goal on the day after Reg Williams had put the visitors in front.. Chelsea have Roy Bentley in their ranks, scorer of 130 goals for the club before moving to west London rivals Fulham and Queens Park Rangers. Noteworthy the presence on the right wing for the blues of Bobby Campbell. Bobby had much more fame in later life as a highly regarded coach.

But onto the two unusual aspects of the programme, at least in my eyes. The first is a advertisement on the back page for Crookes Halibut Oil. Obviously that's not odd in itself but it takes the form of a letter from the Charlton manager, James Seed, on headed notepaper lauding the product.

Not only does he attribute 'a fine record of fitness and .....freedom from coughs and colds' to this elixir but 'I firmly believe it contributed to our success in winning the Cup-tie at Wembley last week'!!!

But what really caught my eye in this issue was the jokes that were carried. Small snippets, mainly but not exclusively on the middle team sheet page alongside more traditional adverts. Not sure many will elicit more than a half smile now - humour doesn't date well (try a Bob Hope film sometime). Humorous asides in programmes of this era are not unknown, of course, mostly in the form of cartoons, but I haven't seen this type in programmes before.


Paul Gibbons
Paul Gibbons
Feb 03, 2023

Great article.

Alan Collins
Alan Collins
Feb 04, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Paul

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