Charlie Preedy: one of Chapman’s many keepers

By Tony Attwood

In working on this series of articles about the players that Chapman brought to Arsenal I am increasingly reaching the opinion that he really had a serious doubt about each and every goalkeeper he ever saw.

In fact the next article really has to be a list of the goalkeepers who played for Arsenal under Chapman.

But before I get to that I come on to Charlie Preedy (full name Charles James Fane Preedy) who was born on 11 January 1900

Charlie must be just about the first player Arsenal had who was born in India (his father was with the Royal Artillery).  But he moved with the family back to England aged 7 and started playing football – although he did not become a professional player until he was 24, when he joined Charlton Athletic in the recently formed Third Division South.

After 131 league appearances over four seasons Charlie went to Wigan Borough.  In Charlie’s final season at Charlton the team did make its way into mid-table, but he moved on to Wigan Borough spending one season there playing all but one of the league games that year.

Wigan Borough were one of the founder members of the Third Division North in 1921/2.  Although they had not performed well in the Lancashire Combination they survived the first season and became a solid mid-table club in the new League division.  Interestingly their pre-season friendly for 1921/2 to celebrate their election to the league was against Arsenal, and they won 2-1.

Wigan Borough continued to 1930/1, but Charlie only played one season there, before moving to Arsenal for the start of the 1929/30 season.

Dan Lewis started the first season in goal, the Charlie came in for five games, before letting in 5 against Villa.  Lewis came back in, missing just one or two games, but then on April 9 Charlie got a run of four matches.  Dan Lewis returned for the 6-6 draw with Leicester but Charlie got the last two games.  But Preedy did have the honour of the Cup Final – Arsenal’s first major trophy.    He only played 12 games that season but got his cup winner’s medal.

Next season the strange story of Keyser started up (more in another post) but then after 12 games Bill Harper got one, and then Charlie Preedy had one game, then Harper got a run, then Preedy, then Harper again.

1931/2 was more of the same.  Harper played the first two, Preedy had 13, Moss got 27 games, and then Chapman seemed to make up his mind.  Moss played 41 games in 1932 and Preedy got just the one.

As a result Charlie left for Bristol Rovers in 1933, having played just 40 games.  After that he went to Luton Town and then to Margate – the club that had had such a strong connection with Arsenal.

By the time Charlie arrived in 1935 the connection with Arsenal was over, and Margate without their sponsor were in decline.  Charlie retired and became a taxi driver in London, dying in 1978.

Here is the updated index of players we have been looking at:

This table shows all the players who played 10 games or more in the Championship season of 1930/1

Player 1st league season No of games in 1930/1 Most games in one season Year of most appearances
Bob John* 1922/3 40 41 1926/7
Jimmy Brain 1924/5 16 41 1925/6
William Harper 1925/6 19 23 1926/7
Joseph Hulme* 1925/6 32 41 1928/9
Tom Parker * 1925/6 41 42 1926/7, 1927/8, 1928/9
William Seddon* 1925/6 18 24 1929/30
Jack Lambert* 1926/7 34 36 1931/2
Herbie Roberts 1926/7 40 40 1930/1
Eddie Hapgood 1927/8 38 40 1933/4
Charlie Jones 1928/9 24 39 1928/9
David Jack* 1928/9 34 35 1930/31
Alex James* 1929/30 40 40 1930/31, 1932/3
Charles Preedy* 1929/30 11 13 1931/2
Cliff Bastin 1929/30 42 42 1929/30, 1931/2,
Gerald Keyser 1930/1 12 12 1930/1

* Also won the Cup in 1930

 The club that changed football

Making the Arsenal


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