Remembering club legend Eddie Marshall


The name Edwin “Eddie” William Marshall might not be one that all Addicks immediately recognise. But 119 years ago today, with the football craze sweeping Edwardian England, he was the driving force behind a group of teenagers forming a football team. Their name? Charlton Athletic FC.

Appointed as vice-captain and regarded by many as the true founder of the club, Marshall would remain with Charlton for nearly two decades and was involved in nearly every match the Addicks played before the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

The club’s first known game took place on November 11th, 1905 against Victoria United, and with Marshall – a centre-back or “pivot” as the position was known in those days – anchored the defence in an 8-0 victory.

But Marshall was not just a rock at the back. He was also able to contribute going forward, scoring in the club’s first ever league game, a 6-1 win over Nunhead Swifts Reserves.

A few years later, despite the arrival of his brother Frederick, a prolific centre-forward, it was Eddie Marshall who scored what some consider the greatest goal in Charlton’s history, in a 7-0 win over Tufnell Park. 

As the Kentish Independent’s match report stated, “Marshall’s goal was a particularly brilliant effort, and was quite the best scored for Charlton this season. He secured the ball on his own goal-line, and, running at top speed, beat no fewer than seven Tufnell players before finishing with a terrific shot from thirty yards range that burst the net, and finally came to rest some forty yards behind the goal. It was a phenomenal effort, and quite deserved the vociferous applause afforded it.”

Indeed, these impressive score-lines are an indication of Charlton’s dominance during the early years. They won the league in the first year that they entered it, and Marshall’s medal is now in the Charlton Athletic Museum.

Such was Marshall’s impact on the team that after he returned from a two-month lay-off with the only injury of his career in 1907/08, the team won 17 successive games with him back in the side.

Teammates will have been concerned, then, when on October 8th, 1910 during a game against Prices Athletic, Marshall became the first ever Charlton player to be sent off. They need not have worried, winning 3-2 that day.

With the club interrupted between 1914 and 1918, Charlton raised £800 for war charities. As captain of the side, Marshall was presented with a medal. 

It would not be the last he received. As the club went professional and Marshall began to wind down his career, he was given a gold medal by the club. Dated June 30th, 1921, the inscription read: “Charlton Athletic, Presented to E. Marshall for long and devoted service.”

Marshall would continue to play for the reserves until his final game away at Swindon Town Reserves in May 1922, meaning he was with the club for more than half the time it took for Charlton to go from its inception to the First Division in 1936.

Eddie Marshall died in Woolwich on April 27th, 1962 at the age of 72, having no doubt watched on with pride as Jimmy Seed led the club to the FA Cup title 15 years prior. While Seed is rightly remembered as a club legend, we should not forget those, like Marshall, who built the club from nothing.

Thank you to Paul Baker at the Charlton Athletic Museum for his research.

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