Sad news that Graham Moore has died, aged 74. No doubt he will be better remembered and celebrated in Wales, Cardiff in particular where he started his professional career. But he fully merits honourable mentions in dispatches from us too. His time with us spanned four seasons (1967/68 to 1970/71), having been signed from Northampton after they were relegated to the third division. He may have arrived at Charlton in the later stages of his career (reflected in the values: Chelsea paid £35,000 for him in 1961, Man Utd also £35,000 in 1963, before Northampton picked him up for £15,000 in 1965 and we paid £6,000 in 1967) but he made a total of 110 league appearances for us, chipping in with eight goals from midfield, and was near ever-present in the 1968/69 and 1969/70 campaigns (before being sold to Doncaster for £4,000 in 1971). I'm sure that all our condolences go to his family and friends.
I can't say I remember too much about his actual performances on the pitch, being knee-high to the proverbial grasshopper when he arrived (or so I like to think). But he was a key player in the glorious 1968/69 season when we - having for all my time until then hovered around the lower end of the second division table, sometimes barely staying up - suddenly under Eddie Firmani became a force in the league, played great football, and only just missed out on promotion by finishing third (Derby and another team actually went up). For reasons I'm not entirely clear on in the area my father used to congregate with his pals he was affectionately referred to as Mrs Moore. My memory tells me that he had no pace, would stroll through games at his own tempo, but couldn't be knocked off the ball (I believe stocky is the polite term, more a Molby figure than a racehorse), played a decent pass, and had a venomous shot (it's possible I only remember the good ones). He obviously slotted in well in a team that had more drive around him (Alan Campbell, Harry Gregory, and a certain Keith Peacock) and two front men (Matt Tees and Ray Treacy) who were my real heroes of the time.
Neither can I say that I distinctly remember meeting him, but I did - as I have his autograph to prove it. The club used to have open nights for supporters and I went to one of these, no doubt open-mouthed and with autograph book in hand, thrusting that at the various seated individuals who, with notable exceptions (especially Charlie Wright), looked as if they would rather be somewhere else. I can make out most of the scribbles: on the page with Graham Moore are the signatures of Theo Foley and Charlie Wright; on the next page you find Peter Reeves, Len Glover, Ian King and two others I have yet to decipher; and on page three there's Eddie Firmani, Cliff Hall, Luciano Masiello, Les Burns, what looks like a certain A. Fagan (but I could be wrong) and a Lenny something (definitely not Glover). The pages are proudly displayed on the wall, along with some from my father's autograph book. Those that I can make out include Don Welsh, Harold Hobbis, George Tadman, John Oaks, Jimmy Trotter (who splendidly wrote under his signature 'trainer' just to be on the safe side). There are many others that I should spend a bit of time working out, but Mrs Moore is in good company.
Of course the glory of that 1968/69 season did not prove to be a launching pad, rather the exception that proved the rule (for a long time to come). It all went pear-shaped after a particularly daft transfer out of a forward, Matt Tees, a decision that just goes to show it isn't only Belgians who stupidly dispose of talisman forwards. The ageing Ray Crawford proved to be a disaster, we scored 35 goals in the 1969/70 season (compared with 61 the previous season) and after sacking Firmani under Foley we somehow scrambled enough points at the last to end up third from bottom (a position we were to retain the following season before the first relegation in my lifetime in 1971/72). But all that's another story, you will be fondly remembered in SE7 Mr Moore.