Les played in 1946 FA Cup final

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By Rochester People | Friday, October 22, 2010, 08:00

CHARLTON Athletic Football Club has paid tribute to player Les Fell, who played for the Addicks in the 1946 FA Cup final.

Mr Fell, who lived in Gillingham for most of his top-flight football career, died on October 9 aged 89, after a short battle with cancer.

His family, including daughter Lyn and son-in-law Peter Rous, from Hempstead, were at the south-east London club on Saturday, when players wore black armbands in a mark of respect to Mr Fell and Malcolm Allison.

Mr Allison, who died on October 15 aged 83, also played for Charlton, before going on to manage Manchester City.

Mr Fell was born in Leytonstone, east London, but grew up in Margate after his family left the capital to run a boarding house in the town.

He played for Margate Football Club before transferring to Gravesend FC.

He continued playing for the club during the later years of the Second World War, while working as a draughtsman at aircraft manufacturer Short Bros in Rochester.

His job was considered a vital occupation for the war effort, which meant he was unable to serve in the forces.

The winger was spotted by Charlton talent scouts in August 1944, and he played his first game for them two months later.

It was in 1946 that he proudly wore the number seven shirt in the squad, aiming for FA Cup victory at Wembley. They were beaten 4-1 in extra time by Derby County, but Mr Fell treasured his cast bronze medal, presented by King George VI after the game, when he was pictured shaking hands with the monarch.

A second medal – this time minted in gold – was presented to the team when supplies of the precious metal were restored some time later.

Mr Fell married his sweetheart Win not long after the epic game and the couple went on to have Lyn, now 61, and son Alan, 57.

He continued playing for the club before moving to Crystal Palace in 1953, the club where he finished his professional career.

Sadly Win died in 1963, after a long illness.

Mr Fell married a widow, Vi, three years later, becoming stepfather to her daughters Jill, now 60, and Sylvia, 57, and the family lived happily together in Medway.

Vi, who worked as a transport assistant for disabled children, died in 2004.

Lyn, a retired accounts manager, said her father, also a keen cricketer, was rightfully proud of his playing career.

She said: “He would talk about it from time to time and he obviously kept all his memorabilia.

“He was particularly pleased to have had his picture taken when he was shaking hands with the King, and that picture reproduced in commemorative brochures later.

“Things were very different for professional players back then. He only earned £12 a week from the club, and was expected to get to the ground by public transport.

“It was also their own responsibility to be match fit. There was none of the pampering the players get now.”

Mr Fell’s funeral took place on Tuesday.

Anyone who would like to make a donation to charity in his memory can do so by contacting John Weir Funeral Directors, 130-132 High Street, Rainham, phone 01634 373111.

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