On Thursday 28 February 2007a community that once formed part of the mighty Durham coalfield, gathered to watch and play in a football festival to honour two former local players who started out with the village team and became top flight professionals. Goalkeeper Sam Bartram and full back Jack Shreeve left Boldon Villa in the 1930s for a professional career with Charlton Athletic. The pair went on to make around 1,000 appearances for the South London club, mostly in the top division.
In 1947 following Charlton's 1-0 Wembley victory over Burnley they returned triumphantly to Boldon with the FA Cup. The event later this month seeks to honour the local heroes and inspire South Tyneside's young players of today. Two games will be played and winners' trophies have been commissioned styled on the famous cup itself, with Charlton providing match kit and a signed goalkeeper's jersey for the hosts, now known as Boldon Community Association (The Villa). Later in the year youngsters from Boldon are to make a pilgrimage to The Valley to watch a match and view Bartram's statue.  The competition for The Sam Bartram Cups is set to become an annual affair.
Further details
Mike Blake 0208 852 3001

Sam Bartram

Sam Bartram played football for Boldon Colliery School, Sunderland Schoolboys and for County Durham then he became a miner and played for Boldon Villa.  In the 1920's he played wing-half for Durham.

In the following years he played as a wing-half, centre forward and later as goalkeeper for Villa before joining Charlton Athletic in 1934 for whom he played for 22 years and was never dropped from the team.  I believe that he owes his goalkeeping career to the unfortunate illness of the goalkeeper of his team as Sam was spotted by a scout while acting as substitute goalie.

It was an incredible quirk of fate that gave Sam his leap into prosperity and fame.  During a match for Boldon Villa, which Sam would never forget, Jimmy Seed from Whitburn, a Scout for Charlton Athletic decided to attend. This is where fate took over. Sam was playing mid field when the goal keeper was injured, Sam, took over in goal and played such a blinder the Jimmy Seed didn’t hesitate to recommend him to Charlton and the rest is history. That day Jimmy Seed also took with him Jack Shreene and impressive full back.

Charlton Athletic celebrated their centenary on Sunday 17th October with a match against Newastle where they opened a fund to raise a statue of their most famous player, Sam Bartram, to mark the occassion.  It could not have been a better team for Charlton to play on this day as Sam Bartram had been a fanatical supporter of Newcastle as a boy and young man.

Mike Blake is researching for a book about Sam and would be pleased to receive any further insight into his Boldons days.  So if you have anything you would like to have recorded for posterity please put a message on the message board or start a photo album.  Perhaps some of the older members of your family will remember him personally.

There is now a biography of Sam available,  "Sam Bartram The Story of a Goalkeeping Legend" by Mike Blake at £14.99.  ISBN 0 7524 3574 4.  ( There is an order form in the messages section if you find difficulty in finding a copy.

Links to other Boldon Characters:
Catherine Lynch | Cristobal Compois | Elaine Carr | Etta | Hannah Walker | Harry Reay | Hilary and Wout |  Howard Ross | Ian Cullen | Keith Jones | Ken Longstaff | Sam Bartram | Yvonne Quenet


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