Sam Bartram – Goalkeeping legend

South Shields and Boldon CA will compete for the Sam Bartram Memorial Cup tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Boldon Colliery Welfare Ground.

Here, club committee member Bob Wray looks at the life of Bartram, who is now the subject of the annual event.

Sam was born in Simonside, South Shields, on January 22, 1914. The family had a green grocers shop on Green Lane by the bridge, not far from where the Simonside Social Club now is…

He died in Harpenden, London, on July 17, 1981, aged 67 years.


Boldon Colliery School and Sunderland School Boys, Durham County School Boys. Hylton Colliery Welfare, December 1931. Sunderland AFC as an amateur. Chester-le-Street, Jarrow, Boldon Villa, Boldon Colliery Welfare, Reading trial March 1933. Easington Colliery Welfare, late 1933. North Shields July 1934. Signed for Charlton Athletic September 1934-1956.

York City manager March 1956-July 1960, Luton Town manager July 1960-June 1962, and thereafter became a sports reporter for the ‘Sunday People’ for some years and as a private business had a sports shop.

His signing for Charlton was following the Tyne Alliance League Challenge Cup Final Replay on Saturday, April 21, 1934 at the Harton Colliery Athletic enclosure on Green Lane, South Shields, between Boldon Villa and Pyman’s.

Boldon Villa’s regular ‘keeper was injured and aspiring goalkeeper and team left half Sam persuaded the club to let him play in goal, and the rest as they say is history…….

At one time he worked in a coal mine, and liked tennis as a sport a well as football, and originally only took up goalkeeping in an emergency club situation.

In WW2, he guested with Notts County 1939/40. Bournemouth 40/41. Liverpool 40/41. Brentford 41/42. Crystal Palace 41/42. York City 42/43. Bradford City 42/43. Birmingham (not the one known as City!) 42/43. West Ham Utd. Jan 1943. Crewe Alexandra 44/45. Millwall March 1945, and RAF football during his WW2 service.

He never got a full England international cap! He did, however, win unofficial England caps on three occasions during the war and the FA also on six occasions 1939-1951.

FA Cup Winner 1947. Finalist 1946. League Cup South Winner 1944. Finalist 1945. Represented the FA and the RAF.

Sam was one of the greatest goalkeepers NEVER to be capped in a full international for his country.

He played for 22 years with Charlton Athletic and was never dropped or rested during this time, a remarkable achievement.

A 9-foot bronze stature was unveiled just outside the club ground of The Valley in 2005 in honour of his memory, on the occasion of the club’s 100th birthday.

The Sam Bartram Memorial Trophy was presented by his daughter Moira (in 2008 for an annual challenge match to perpetuate his memory locally) who lives in Canada to commemorate a most famous career of her illustrious father, who is one of the game’s greatest ever and much loved players, and who is an absolute legend at Charlton Athletic, where he made a most remarkable total of 623 appearances.