“Making the Arsenal” – the book of Arsenal’s rebirth
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By Tony Attwood
This series of articles considers the Swindin/Wright period of Arsenal’s history in which we not only won nothing, we also failed even to enter the top four in the 1st division.
Having looked at Swindin himself as a manager, I’ll move on to a few of the players taking (as I have done with other managers) the first game and working through the team.
Jack Kelsey, who was in goal, has been covered already, so we move on to Stan Charlton who played for us between 1955 and 1958 making 110 appearances and scoring 3 goals.
He was born on 28 June 1929, the son of a footballer for Exeter and Crystal Palace. Stan junior started his career with Bromley, moved to Leyton Orient in 1952, then Arsenal (for £30,000 along with Vic Groves) and then back to Leyton. He was introduced in the 1955/6 season with 19 games, then played 40 league games in 56/7, 36 in 57/8 and just four in the following season – his last with the club.
When he returned to Orient in December 1958 he became the captain and was still there when they made their one and only appearance in the first division. Orient’s first match was at home to Arsenal.
Stan also during his career won four amateur caps with England and was a member of the GB Olympic football team in 1952, but didn’t play.
Stan Charlton retired in summer 1965, and became manager of Weymouth FC where he remained for seven years before moving out of football. He remained a favourite of Leyton Orient, because of his part in their promotion.
In terms of the history of Arsenal we can note that Stan arrived in the Whittaker era at a time when Len Wills was a regular right back, but not a consistent occupant of that spot. Jack Crayston kept him as the first choice right back, but George Swindin dropped him in favour of Len Wills who took over the position after just four matches in the 58/9 season (Swindin’s first).
This seems typical of the Swindin era – a move backwards or sideways rather than a clear step forwards, identifying the right new man for the job.
The series will continue with reviews of other players and tactics from the Dark Ages of Arsenal.
Into the Darkness. Arsenal 1958-1967