Sam Bartram

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Sam Bartram
Personal information
Full name Samuel Bartram
Date of birth 22 January 1914
Place of birth South Shields, England
Date of death 17 July 1981(1981-07-17) (aged 67)
Place of death Harpenden, England
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Boldon Villa
1934–1956 Charlton Athletic 579 (0)
National team
England Wartime matches 3 (0)
Teams managed
1956–1960 York City
1960–1962 Luton Town

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Samuel "Sam" Bartram (22 January 1914 – 17 July 1981) was an English footballer and manager.


After school, Sam Bartram became a miner and played as either centre forward or wing-half in north east non-league football. As a teenager he had an unsuccessful trial with Reading. When his local village club Boldon Villa were without a goalkeeper for a cup final in 1934 Sam took over in goal. A scout from Charlton Athletic, Angus Seed, was watching the game and Sam played so well that Angus recommended him to Charlton Athletic. In his first three years with Charlton the club rose from Division Three to runners-up in the top division. He subsequently played in goal for Charlton for 22 years, and was never dropped from the team until he retired in 1956. He is considered one of Charlton's greatest players, and their finest keeper. In his time at Charlton he won the FA Cup in 1947.

Bartram was involved in a well reported incident when thick fog closed in on a game he was playing against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

"Soon after the kick-off," he wrote in his autobiography, "[fog] began to thicken rapidly at the far end, travelling past Vic Woodley in the Chelsea goal and rolling steadily towards me. The referee stopped the game, and then, as visibility became clearer, restarted it. We were on top at this time, and I saw fewer and fewer figures as we attacked steadily."

The game went unusually silent but Sam remained at his post, peering into the thickening fog from the edge of the penalty area. And he wondered why the play was not coming his way.

"After a long time," he wrote, "a figure loomed out of the curtain of fog in front of me. It was a policeman, and he gaped at me incredulously. "What on earth are you doing here?" he gasped. "The game was stopped a quarter of an hour ago. The field's completely empty".'

Although Bartram toured Australia with an England XI in 1951[1] and played for the England B team, he was burdened with the unwanted praise of 'the finest goalkeeper never to play for England' as the England national football team had both Frank Swift and Ted Ditchburn jostling for the goalkeeper position. He played in four successive Wembley finals between 1944 and 1947 and was runner-up in the 1954 Footballer of the Year vote at the age of 40.

Bartram left Charlton to manage York City, then Luton Town, prior to a career as a football columnist for The People and spent his final years in Harpenden. In 1976/7 an estate was built at the Jimmy Seed end of the ground consisting of a block of flats and seven houses. It was named Sam Bartram Close. In 2005, a nine-foot statue of Sam Bartram was erected outside The Valley, home of Charlton Athletic, in order to celebrate the club's centenary.

Fifty years after his retirement, Charlton Athletic named Bartram's bar and restaurant in his honour at their Valley headquarters.

Professional statistics

Sam Bartram holds the following records for Charlton Athletic:

  • Most FA Cup Appearances: 44
  • Most Total Appearances: 623
  • Most League Appearances: 579
  • Oldest League Player Aged: 42

Managerial stats

Team From To Record
G W L D Win %
York City 1 March 1956 1 July 1960 211 85 70 56 40.28
Luton Town 1 July 1960 1 June 1962 95 35 42 18 36.84


  1. "'COOM ON CHOOM' IN MANY LANGUAGES". The Sunday Herald. 27 May 1951. p. 3. 'But the name of the English goalie, Sam Bartram, was included in a section of the packets.' |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links