Former West Ham manager Charlie Paynter honoured with blue plaque
- Credit: Andrew Baker
Ask a Hammers fan who their ultimate ‘Mr West Ham’ would be, and a few names might spring to mind.
The first to be bestowed with that moniker, though, was the club’s second longest serving manager who led them to their first ever Wembley victory.
Now Charles ‘Charlie’ Paynter, who was in charge of the Hammers between 1932 and 1950, has been honoured by Newham Council with a blue plaque at his former East Ham home.
Charlie and his family moved to Ladysmith Avenue from the West Country when he was a child, and first became involved with the club as a teenage volunteer in 1897.
As a young player, he made the 1900/1901 squad but a knee injury sustained in a reserve match against Woolwich Arsenal forced him to retire without making a first team appearance.
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Despite that, he remained with the club and was appointed reserve team trainer in 1902 while still in his teens.
He was promoted to first team trainer later that when Syd King became first team manager, and in 1924 was given the job of coaching the England team for the first international match at Wembley Stadium – a 1-1 draw with Scotland.
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That wasn’t the only time Charlie would appear at the national stadium, as he led West Ham to a 1-0 Football League War Cup final win over Blackburn Rovers in June 1940.
Such was Charlie’s devotion to the club that a testimonial for him was held in 1950 – the first such game hosted by the Hammers.
Among the 18,000-strong crowd was Dame Vera Lynn, who lived next to the Paynter family in Ladysmith Avenue.
Charlie handed over the managerial reins to his hand-picked successor, Ted Fenton, that same year. He died in 1970 aged 91.
Cllr Ken Clark, Newham’ Council’s cabinet member for building communities, public affairs, regeneration and planning, said: “Charlie Paynter is an iconic figure in the history of West Ham United, with his career the epitome of the family club tradition it has been built on.
“He showed amazing dedication to the club, helping them win their first trophy. For these reasons alone it is only right and proper that we mark his achievements with a lasting memorial.
“Charlie is one of a host of famous people including sporting greats, philanthropists and political figures that have called Newham home. We want to highlight their time in the borough and blue plaques are a perfect way of doing just that.”
West Ham United joint chairman David Gold, who attended yesterday’s unveiling, said: “I am delighted that Newham Council have chosen to honour Charlie Paynter in this manner. It is fitting recognition for a man who did more than anyone to establish West Ham United as one of the greatest football clubs in England.
“Charlie was instrumental in so many milestones for the club. More than that, he managed every aspect of West Ham United during his 18 years in charge, and introduced a style, discipline and professionalism that paved the way for the club’s future success. He truly was Mr West Ham.”
Alan Paynter, one of Charlie’s grandsons, added: “My grandfather was totally dedicated to West Ham all his life. The plaque is a fitting tribute to his contribution both to football and, more generally, the people of Newham.”