A few years ago when scanning programme covers, I came across the Charlton v Derby 16 January 1965 issue which had the back page neatly cut out. Assuming it had been damaged by a previous owner removing a form, or perhaps a photo of a favourite player, I thought nothing of it, added it to my spares pile and made a note to buy a replacement. Several months later a copy was purchased on eBay but when it arrived the back page had also been neatly removed. A coincidence I thought until a third copy was obtained, again with the same problem. The story behind the missing page is to do with one of Charlton Athletic’s greatest ever players….and a packet of bacon and cheese.
In December 1964 Don Welsh, Charlton’s 1947 FA Cup winning captain, who also played in the 4-1 defeat to the Rams in the 1946 Final, was newly employed by Charlton as a liaison officer to engage with supporters. However, just a few weeks later the January 20th back page headline of the Liverpool Echo read: ‘Ex-Liverpool Manager Fined for Stealing’. The article reported that Welsh had pleaded guilty to stealing 1lb of bacon and ten ounces of cheese valued at 6s 10d (34p) at a self-service store in High Wycombe. A witness had seen Welsh put the items inside his coat while at the queue for the checkout. When police asked for an explanation, Welsh said: ‘I was trying to be smart’ and ‘I don’t know why I did it.’ He was fined £10 and resigned from his role at Charlton.
The Charlton v Derby fixture took place before Welsh appeared in court so the removal of the back page of the programme was a pre-emptive measure by the club. The office staff at the time must have spent hours in the run up to the game cutting the back page from thousands of programmes. The space was usually used for fund-raising messages and the key to half time scores displayed around the ground. The 8,896 that watched the 3-1 win for Derby, Alan Durban scoring a brace and Ian Buxton with the third, must have been puzzled as to why their copy of the programme was not complete.
Colin Cameron, the late Charlton historian and statistician, knew about the story at the time and kept a copy of the original programme. It is now owned by The Charlton Athletic Museum, who believe their full copy is the only one in existence. Get in touch if you know otherwise.
With thanks to Rick Everitt for permission to reproduce parts of his article A Missing Page in History, which appeared in the April 2020 issue of the Charlton Athletic fanzine Voice of the Valley. Thanks also to the Charlton Athletic Museum for providing the image of the programme. They can be contacted on CAFChistorian@gmail.com and @chathmuseum on Twitter.
This article first appeared in issue 16 of Derby County Memories magazine and has since been updated to the version above. Individual copies of the magazine can be purchased on eBay for £1.99 post-free. A near complete collection of issues 2-21 can be purchased for £19.99 plus postage. For further details, see the About section.