Charlie Wayman

Short but lethal centre-forward


Charles Wayman, footballer: born Chilton, Co Durham 16 May 1921; played for Newcastle United 1941-47, Southampton 1947-50, Preston North End 1950-54, Middlesbrough 1954-56, Darlington 1956-58; married (four sons, two daughters); died 26 February 2006.

Charlie Wayman was an ebullient, bouncily inventive, prodigiously prolific centre-forward, a pint-sized predator who topped the scoring charts for a succession of major football clubs in the decade immediately after the Second World War. Many knowledgeable observers deemed the affable north-easterner a world-class finisher, and it was an outrage to them that he didn't win a single England cap.

The most obvious explanation for the omission was that Wayman was in competition for his country's No 9 shirt with the stellar likes of Tommy Lawton, Nat Lofthouse and Roy Bentley. A more contentious theory was that he couldn't find favour with members of the selection committee with which the team coach Walter Winterbottom was required to work - a group often derided by professionals for its collective lack of knowledge about the game - because they believed that, at 5ft 6in, he was too short for the international arena.

Such a stance was risible, as anyone would testify who had witnessed the quicksilver left-footer making buffoons out of towering defenders and rattling in the goals, 255 of them in 382 League appearances, season after season for Newcastle United, Southampton, Preston North End, Middlesbrough and, at the tag-end of his career, humble Darlington. Intelligent team-mates did not play the ball to Wayman in the air. They would deliver it to his feet, or into space behind his markers, a territory of uncertainty in which he was lethal.

Endowed with exquisite mastery over a moving ball, he loved to demonstrate a trademark trick, which involved flicking the leather over the head of a bemused opponent, nipping round the other side and catching it on his instep before clouting an invariably ferocious shot towards goal. It wasn't that he was flamboyant - in fact, for all his pugnacious manner on the pitch he was an engagingly unassuming individual - but it was a crowd-pleasing manoeuvre that the brave, elusive little marksman simply couldn't resist.

Like most of his schoolfriends, Wayman started his working life in the local coalfield, but, after excelling in the Chilton Colliery football team, then moving up to non-League Spennymoor United, he asked Newcastle United for a trial, which earned him a contract in 1941.

During the war he served as an able seaman in the Royal Navy before returning to essential work in the mines, but still found time to further his football development, scoring 35 goals in 71 games for the Magpies in unofficial emergency competitions as well as guesting briefly for Portsmouth. When peace resumed, Wayman was Second Division Newcastle's first-choice inside-left, making his senior entrance in a home FA Cup encounter with Barnsley in January 1946, then becoming leader of the attack in the following autumn.

His first game at centre-forward, against Newport County at St James' Park, was to prove eventful. After missing a penalty in the first minute, he netted four times, then contributed significantly to a double hat-trick for a debutant Len Shackleton as the hapless visitors were thrashed 13-0, a Football League record. That season the 24-year-old scored 34 goals in 46 outings as the spearhead of an extravagantly entertaining forward line which also contained the star inside-forwards Shackleton and Roy Bentley, and high-quality wingers Jackie Milburn and Tommy Pearson.

But the term was soured, not only by United's narrow failure to gain promotion but also by what appeared to Wayman to be a mild disagreement with the trainer Norman Smith on the eve of an FA Cup semi-final against Charlton Athletic. However, the club took a dim view of perceived insubordination, the leading scorer was controversially dropped for the match and the Magpies were drubbed 4-0.

It was a time of turbulence at the club, when other players were threatening strike action over a housing dispute, so Wayman might have been a victim of circumstance. Whatever the truth, which never came out publicly, his relationship with his employers never recovered and in October 1947 he was sold to Southampton, also of Division Two, for a club record fee of £10,000. It was a transfer which upset many supporters, but which facilitated the subsequent relocation of Milburn from outside-right to centre-forward, a position in which he blossomed luxuriantly as the Magpies lifted the FA Cup three times in the early 1950s.

On the south coast, where he had been promised "a strawberries-and-cream life style", a vivid contrast to his gritty north-eastern upbringing, Wayman was seen as the catalyst for the future success of a rapidly improving side which included the full-back Alf Ramsey, destined to lead England to World Cup ecstasy in 1966, and the dynamic inside-forward Ted Bates. Almost instantly he became a folk hero at the Dell, his reputation massaged by a five-goal spree at home to Leicester City in October 1948, but there was serial frustration in three successive near-misses in the promotion race.

Having seen the Saints pipped by goal average (the absurdly complicated precursor to goal difference) in 1949/50, and with his family not settling contentedly despite the ample supplies of soft fruit, Wayman hankered for a move back to the north. Thus in September 1950 he was transferred to Preston North End in exchange for £10,000 and his fellow striker Eddy Brown, and quickly became established as a Deepdale favourite.

Meshing fluently with the brilliant Tom Finney, practically a one-man forward line in himself, Wayman delivered an avalanche of goals, 27 in 34 matches, as the Lilywhites romped to the Second Division title in his first season on Ribbleside. Thereafter he continued to provide a fearsome cutting edge as Preston consolidated their place among the élite by finishing seventh in 1951/52, then ending 1952/53 as championship runners-up to Arsenal, Wayman again suffering goal-average agony.

There was yet another close encounter with glory at the climax of the 1953/54 campaign when North End were beaten in the FA Cup Final by West Bromwich Albion. Wayman had found the net in every round on the way to Wembley, and did so again beneath the twin towers, albeit from a position which looked suspiciously offside when he latched on to a raking through-pass from Tommy Docherty to give his side a 2-1 advantage. However, the Baggies proved resilient, fighting back to triumph 3-2.

Not surprisingly, there was uproar in the town during the following autumn when Wayman, the top scorer in each of his four terms at Deepdale and with six goals in his six games to date in the latest campaign, was dispatched to Middlesbrough for £8,000. The manager Frank Hill's rationale was that, at 33, the centre-forward's best days were behind him, but he continued to hit the target regularly on Teesside, his goals hugely instrumental in the Second Division club's attaining two years of mid-table safety.

In December 1956, having slowed appreciably, Wayman accepted his final move, to Darlington of the Third Division North, whom he served conscientiously - he had always been dedicated to physical fitness - until a knee injury prompted his departure from the professional game in April 1958.

Later he coached briefly at non-League Evenwood Town, and worked as a representative for Scottish and Newcastle Breweries before retiring to live in his native North-East.

Wayman, whose younger brother Frank played fleetingly for Chester and Darlington, was a warm and lively character, beloved of supporters for his ear-to-ear grin as well as his goals.

Ivan Ponting

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star