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Blue plaque honour for football manager known as 'Mr West Ham'

17 February 2017 in Community neighbourhoods and Sport and leisure
West Ham United’s second full time manager Charlie Paynter has been honoured by Newham Council with the unveiling of a blue plaque at his former East Ham home.
Charles Paynter, known as ‘Mr West Ham’, managed the club between 1932 and 1950 after succeeding Syd King. He is the club’s second longest serving manager and led them to their first ever victory at Wembley – a 1-0 Football League War Cup final win over Blackburn Rovers in June 1940.

A ceremony to unveil the plaque took place yesterday (16 February) at the house in Ladysmith Avenue where the family lived after moving from the West Country when Charlie was a child. Newham Council is replacing street signs or adding plaques to buildings about people, places, and events that have significant historical links with the borough.

The event was attended by Newham councillors and officers, members of the Paynter family, and David Gold, co-chairman of West Ham United.

Charlie first became involved with West Ham United in 1897 as a teenage volunteer, joining the playing staff as a young player for the 1900/1901 season. Unfortunately he suffered a knee injury in a reserve team match against Woolwich Arsenal that forced him to retire without making a first team appearance.

Although still in his teens Charlie was appointed reserve-team trainer in 1902, before being promoted to first team trainer when Syd King was appointed as first team manager. When King left in 1933 Paynter was chosen as his replacement. He remained manager until 1950 when he handed over the reins to his hand-picked successor, Ted Fenton.

A talented trainer, Charlie was also given the job of coaching the England team for the first international match at Wembley in April 1924 – a 1-1 draw with Scotland.

To mark his 50 years service at the club, West Ham United held a testimonial match in 1950, the first such game to be hosted by the Hammers, in his honour against Arsenal, which attracted a crowd of 18,000. Among the guests was “Forces Sweetheart” Dame Vera Lynn, who lived next to the Paynter family in Ladysmith Avenue. Charlie died in December 1970 aged 91.

Councillor Ken Clark, Newham’ Council’s Cabinet member for building communities, public affairs, regeneration and planning; Councillor Clark 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.”

Alan Paynter, one of Charlie’s grandsons, said: “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.”

West Ham United Joint Chairman David Gold 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, including the transition from Thames Ironworks to West Ham United, our election to the Football League in 1919, the first Wembley FA Cup final in 1923 and our first trophy, the Football League War Cup in 1940.

“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.”