Crump, Charles

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Born on 15th December 1840 at Kingsland, Hereford to Thomas & Elizabeth Crump, he moved to Shrewsbury where he had relations who were butchers, and at the age of 13 began work as a 'butcher's errand boy'. In 1857 he moved to Wolverhampton to be a junior clerk at the Great Western Railway Locomotive and Carriage works. In 1868 he was promoted to chief clerk of the Northern Division, a position he held until he retired. Crump encouraged and organised young men from the company to enjoy sporting activities on Saturday afternoons. At first they went cross-country walking, then played bandy (an early form of hockey). This led to their playing football and the first Stafford Road Football Club was formed in 1871. Crump became its first captain a position he held for several years. The 'Roaders' (Stafford Road F.C.) was the first football team to play in Wolverhampton. Their first match was against Wednesbury Old Athletic Club.

At the foundation of the Birmingham Football Association in 1875 Charles Crump became its President, an office he held until his death. In 1881 he captained the Stafford Road F.C. in the 5th round of the F.A. Cup against the Old Etonians before a crowd of 3000 at Wolverhampton. He played until his 40s and then became a highly respected referee, being in demand for local F A cup finals. In 1883 he refereed the F.A. Cup final at Kennington oval before a crowd of 6000, when Blackburn Olympic beat the Old Etonians 2-1. In 1889 he refereed the first Wolverhampton Wanderer's league match against Aston Villa and regularly refereed international matches.

In 1883 Crump was elected to the Football Association Council and in 1886 became Vice- President of the Football Association. becoming its senior Vice-President until his death. He was a legislator for the game and was a member of the International committee, renowned for his ability to solve difficult problems in connection with the laws and regulations of the game. In his speech at the Football League's 'Coming of Age' banquet he said, 'The duty of the Association was legislative and administrative, and the duty of the League was to provide attractive football for the country.'

Like many early football enthusiasts he was a deeply committed Christian. He was for over 40 years the Superintendent of the Darlington Street Wesleyan Sunday School, Wolverhampton. He was a valued supporter of the Royal Wolverhampton Orphanage and was the President of the Wolverhampton Charity Association.

To celebrate his 80th birthday the Football Association gave a banquet in his honour at the Holborn Restaurant, London attended by 200 guests. He was given £4,000 in recognition of his valuable contribution to the game. He died on 15th April 1923 in Edinburgh shortly after attending the England v. Scotland football match at Hampden Park, Glasgow. At his funeral service in Darlington Street Church, the Rev Richard Wormwell said that 'Mr Crump's constant effort was to keep our sport, especially football, clean, and to make sport contribute to the highest end of man's being.'

  • Darlington Street Wesleyan Centenary 1799-1899, Souvenir Booklet
  • Stephen Wragg, Myths and Milestones in the History of Sport (2001)
  • Percy M. Young, Centenary of Wolves Wolverhampton (Wanderers Football Club, 1976)
  • Donald Ryan, 'Charles Crump (1840-1923)', in WHS Proceedings vol. 60, p.17; vol.61, pp.200-207
  • Wolverhampton Express & Star, 16 April 1923

Entry written by: DHR
Category: Person
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