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Charlie James 1936-2019

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Firstly condolences for your loss.


Your dad has witness many many great times at City and I am sure that he would of remembered these very fondly. You have written so well

of all his exploits over the years and even though I don't know you I can 'feel' your pride coming through.


One thing is for certain though is that out of all you have mentioned I am sure your dad's greatest achievement through the years would of

been seeing his son follow in his footsteps and become the City devotee you undoubtedly are.


Many thanks for sharing your thoughts & memories. RIP

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Very moving Nick, your love for each other and the great times you spent together shines through. The pain of losing a parent never really goes away, but in the future the fond memories you shared with your dad will outweigh the raw sadness you're doubtlessly feeling now. I hope you found it cathartic to write.

RIP fellow red.

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53 minutes ago, NickJ said:

Not sure many on here would have known my dad, who passed away on the weekend at 82 years old, but nevertheless thought I’d share some City related memories.

Charlie James – or Charlie Boy, as he called himself – lived during his childhood at Exeter Road, Southville, and spent a significant part of his time socialising in South Bristol where he lived most of his life.

Dad was a City loyal. He often spoke about players from the early 50’s like Mike Thresher, Tony Cook and Alec Eisentrager, as well as the FA Cup game against Blackpool in 1959 which saw Sir Stanley Matthews play in front of 43,000 at Ashton Gate. Apparently Matthews didn’t get much change out of Thresher, who was one of the hardest nuts ever to wear a Bristol City shirt.


Dad took me to my first game at Ashton Gate as a 5 year old in 1967, a 0-0 draw against Middlesboro, where I remember being sat on the wall at the front of the old Park End with other young kids. Mostly after that we were East Enders, he’d sit me on a stanchion and hold me there for the duration of the game, another earliest memory was a 6-0 win against Blackburn.

Another memory was home to Hull on a wet and windy night in 1972 when Ray Cashley punted from his penalty area, the ball bounced deep into the opposition half and sailed over Jeff Wealands for what I had previously thought impossible, a goalkeeper scoring.

In the early 70’s, I think my dad’s little business took off enough so he could afford season tickets in the old Grandstand, where we sat with his cousin Pete Scragg, Bob Hunt, Brian Harding, my uncle Roger and a scouser mate of my dads, Chris Ashcroft, who had moved to Bristol and was an Everton fan. One of City’s first games back in the old First Division in 1976 was away to Everton, so we travelled to the game and stayed at Chris’ relatives house overnight after the game and went to a few Liverpool pubs, which at the time felt like being in a different country. City lost the game 2-0.

After each home game, we’d go into the Supporters Club, which in those days was under the grandstand, where most of the players would come in for a drink and a chat.

Dad was a drinker, night owl and sociable person, to say the least, and became quite friendly for a while with Roy Ashton, who was a big City fan and ran the Nelson (later the Fusells and now the Assembly Rooms) in East Street. A lot of the City players of the time got in there, that was the era of Gerry Gow and the other heros of the mid 70’s, and dad got to know a few of the players, mainly the drinkers which back then was most of them, through that.

Dad was also friendly with a great City player from the 60’s Alan Williams, like my dad a social butterfly at the time who went on to run the Miners in Farrington Gurney and the White Horse in West Street. “Willie” was also a very nice man, sadly also no longer with us. Sadly his pubs aren’t either.

Dad had distant family relationships through marriage with David Russe who was briefly Chairman during the 90’s, and Angus who is also well known for Bristol City reasons, both like him passionate City fans.

My wifes dad Phil Coggins, played a few games for City in the 1950’s, and they would occasionally share memories about friends and players from their generation.

Some stand out away games with dad in my early days were Leeds 1974 and Coventry 1977. Anyone like me at both of those games as a kid would probably agree that they were the most special games ever.

Leeds 1974 was an FA Cup 5th round replay and they were unbeaten all season. We drew the first game 1-1 at Ashton Gate and I can recall hugging my dad with sheer joy when Keith Fear lobbed Gary Sprake for the equaliser. It was the time of the miners strike and so no floodlights for the replay hence a Tuesday 1.30 kick off. No all-ticket in those days, they just played the game the week after the first one and you just turned up. So for that game 49,000 did, and as we arrived shortly before kick off I can remember the turnstiles to the terraces were locked, and me and my dad running around the stadium to bag the last few seating tickets for us, my uncle and sister. Not sure how many were locked out, but I can recall looking down from the rear of the stand where we were sat and seeing loads of lads on top of the roofs of the stands at each end, and the amazing moment when Donnie Gillies scored what turned out to be the only goal and winner.

Liverpool visited Ashton Gate for the Quarter Finals but I think it was Keegan that saw us off and after the previous cup game it was an anti climax.

Coventry May 1977 followed the game at Ashton Gate against champions of Europe, Liverpool, who we beat 2-0 to give us a chance of staying up. The infamous 2-2 draw at Coventry on a Thursday night had been preceded by an evacuation of South Bristol as City must have had what seemed like almost half the crowd of 38,000 and the draw kept both clubs in the First Division at the expense of Sunderland, a surreal experience capped off by a celebratory return journey preceded by a pub stop and continued with dad’s mate Brian producing a bottle of whiskey and literally drink driving all the way home.

City had been promoted to Division One in 1975/76 but another memorable away game was Southampton the previous season, March 1975 the terraces were packed with City fans including me and my dad, City won 1-0 and we thought we were going up, only for City to blow it with a home defeat to Norwich on Easter Friday and a home draw against Rovers the following Tuesday, another game incidentally where in addition to the 30,000 crowd that night at least hundreds were locked out.

An away game on a Tuesday night at West Brom in March 1976 also stands out, we were rivals for promotion, I got picked up from school by dad and his mates in a mini bus. West Brom battered us but we had taken a 1-0 lead through a goal from an unlikely source, think it may have been Gerry Sweeney, and we held on and that was the point where dad believed that after 65 years we were finally going back to the top division.

When I was about 10 or 11, dad took me and a mate to Eastville for a GFA trophy game. On the way into the ground, he spotted a City fan with blood streaming from his nose, and a bigger Rovers bully trying to wrestle the lad’s red and white scarf away from him. Dad was a passive man but I can recall his anger and words “give the kid his scarf back” as he gave the Rovers lad a couple of hard kicks who ran away with a deserved look of fright across his face. But it wasn’t because the victim was a City fan; dad would have done the same had it been a City bully doing the same.

Back in the 50’s it was common for City and Rovers fans to attend Ashton Gate and Eastville alternately. Not sure dad ever did that, but I do recall we went to Eastville on a couple of occasions when Rovers had a cup run in the early 70’s, against Ipswich and then Southampton; my main memory being the Southampton fans invading and running the length of the pitch in an attempt to take the Tote End where we were stood, and particularly a Southampton lad using a corner flag as a spear to throw into the Tote Enders.


In my teens, late 70’s early 80’s, I started playing local football, but dad continued his season tickets with his mates, and I would attend whenever not playing, but by now in the East End with mine.

At some time during the slide through the divisions my dad and his mates gave up their season tickets, and he would go as and when, but after a while he started going more regularly again with a different group of mates. That must have been around 1989 by which time City were back in the old Third Division having got out of the Fourth, because I recall being in the Supporters Club with dad and his mates after a game when the Liverpool disaster at Hillsborough started coming through on the TV news.

My dads mate Dave Bright, also sadly no longer with us, became a member of what was called the 51 Club, which was basically a club in the Grandstand for those with aspirations of becoming directors and I can recall going with dad on some 51 Club away executive type coach trips, which were a feast of booze and food followed by the game itself, West Ham and Forest spring to mind. Home games during this period were often followed by a session at a drinking den at Whitchurch, the Little Thatch, now a travesty of semi detached houses.

Then of course there was the FA Cup win at Liverpool in 1994, by then I had been regularly travelling away with mates whenever possible when we weren’t playing, so usually Tuesday nights at Mansfield or wherever, but for that one went with my dad and his mates. The atmosphere in the Liverpool pubs was electric, City had taken over the place, both me and my dad bumped into many other mates, I can recall seeing in one pub a great character and mate Dave Rich. The sight of City filling the entire away end and around into the adjacent stand, Brian Tinnion’s goal, plus the memory of the Kop applauding our team and us City fans after the game is something I will never forget.

For some reason, not long after that, my dad’s mates stopped going, so I decided to buy season tickets for him and our family, juggling playing football for a few last seasons with attending Ashton Gate whenever possible, and for the past at least 20 years we have all had the same 7 or 8 seats in the Dolman. Each home game usually followed by a few pints, to begin with in the Luckwell but for the past few years the Hen & Chicken. In a token concession to my liver, I don’t generally drink before a home game, but dad did and so he would go early with our mate Austin, my brother-in-law Karl and a few others for a couple of pre-match in the Coopers.

A number of years ago I started running a coach to one City away game each season, drunken trips which started with a 20 seater then a 50 seater as more wanted to come, but dad always said the best trip, don’t know why, was the first one, at Port Vale in I think 2006.

The season before last, dad stopped going to some games when it was colder, the first one he missed was the Man Utd game in 2017. I was abroad at the time, but was gutted for him that he didn’t get to go to the game either. If I’d been home I’d have made sure he got to Ashton Gate but anyway after that dad started missing other games and then more and more, until finally he wouldn’t go in the winter months at all. I managed to hire one of the exec boxes in the Lansdown from a mate for him and family for the Wolves FA Cup game in February, so we sat in there before the game and he was able to sit outside long enough to watch the game, wearing as he always did his red and white City hat.

That turned out to be his final game, I tried desperately hard to get him out of hospital and along to the Derby game in April, but he just wasn’t up to it and all I could feel was sadness as dad spoke to me about what a big crowd and great atmosphere it was going to be.

I hope those I’ve named are ok with it, they were all just some of those with Bristol City connections that were a part of my dads action packed life.

Cheers and thanks dad, great City memories and I will miss you so much.

Sorry for your loss.My old man passed away 6 years ago,he may be no longer with us but the memories remain.CTID

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A great read, Nick. Thank you. You and I must be near contemporaries because I've been at many of the same games, attended by you and your dad. Great memories, all of them.

My dad took me to Ashton Gate in the 60's and I was lucky enough to see the final appearances of the great John Atyeo, including the promotion clinching match v Oldham in April 1965. I've inflicted the same love of City onto my wife (who's been a season ticket holder sat alongside me in the Dolman for over thirty years) and both of our boys. It's the Circle of Life.

I know that you'll be sad right now but you've written your dad a eulogy of which he'd be very proud.

My regards and sincere condolences to you, your family and friends.

God Speed, Charlie Boy. CTYD. CTID.

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sorry for your loss . Some fantastic stories  snd memories . i went to most of the games you wrote about. coventry away was a fantastic night. those of the reported 10k city fans will never forget. one thing i never did or will do is go and watch Rovers when city are away. but i gather that was done by a few city fans back in the day. your dad sounded a bit of a character. best wishes to you and your family. 





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Nick J. @NickJ

Thanks for sharing your memories with us. They are very similar to many of mine except that Dad took me to Ashton Gate for the first time in April 1950. He died in 1987.

We share many of the same games at Leeds, Coventry and so on.

You'll miss him for the rest of your days. I do, but try to think of the good times you had with him and how enriched your life has been by the people you have met during your time as a City supporter. Many you just recognize, swapping names isn't done easily by the fans you sit near. But we are all for one and one for all as we smile at someone we pass in the concourse and who we've seen for decades. Best wishes to you and family.

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Your relationship with your Dad sounds very similar in some ways to how it was between me and my own Dad, about whom I wrote a brief note recently in another thread, so I can relate to a lot of what you've written. Your post is a lovely, moving tribute to your old man and if he could read it I don't doubt he'd be chuffed to bits. Good on you. My condolences, mate. Take care.

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Sorry to hear of your loss. Much strength to you for a wonderful post. 

My father was born 3 years later then yours, but I recall him telling me Mike Thresher never gave Stanley anything and what a "tough little bugger" he was. I prompted him at Trowbridge Town to say hello to Alec Einsentragger in the late 80s when he spotted him there watching his son play. Just 2 of his many heroes from a time when when people needed escapism and inspiration and entertainment enormously. 

Brought back a lot strong memories for me, few painful ones but it's more than worth it, I believe grief is the price we pay for love. Fair price too, wouldn't swap my times with my Dad at and talking about football for anything. 

And I love the story about your Dad sticking up to bullies, City or Rovers. Says so much. So much to be proud of, so many stories. He had a beautiful life by the sounds, let's all hope we can do the same. 

Go steady Charlie. 

Kind regards J.T

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