Windsor, Berkshire born outside left, inside right or half back Charlie Bambridge began playing football while at Malvern College. His club football career was spent with Swifts, Windsor Home Park, Streatham, Upton Park, Clapham Rovers and he played for The Corinthians between 1886 and 1889 and he gained representative honours for Surrey, Berkshire and London.
He made his debut for England against Scotland at Kennington Oval on 5th April 1879. At half time, England were 4-1 down to the Scots. Bambridge scored early in the second half and his teammates had levelled the score by the 75th minute. With less than ten minutes remaining, the Scots scored what they thought was the winning goal but the referee disallowed it for offside. The English forwards then raced upfield with Bambridge scoring the winning goal, thus enabling England to claim their first victory over the Scots since 1873 in what was described as “the most exciting England and Scotland game to date”.
His next England appearance came a year later on 13th March 1880 and it was another exciting encounter in which Bambridge again scored twice. This time it was the Scots who were the winners, 5-4, with a hat-trick from George Ker. Bambridge scored against the Scots again in the following year’s international, a consolation goal in a 6-1 defeat.
He was appointed captain for the first match between England and Ireland played at Bloomfield, Belfast on 18 February 1882. Ireland were “totally dominated by the visitors” who won the game 13-0, with Bambridge scoring once. The other goal scorers included Aston Villa forwards, Howard Vaughton who scored five and Arthur Brown with four. In the match against Wales on 13th March 1882, Bambridge left the field after only three minutes because of injury, and England played on with ten men, losing 5-3 with two late goals for the Welsh.
The English gained their revenge the following year with a 5-0 victory in which Bambridge scored once, with Clement Mitchell scoring a hat-trick. In this match his younger brother Arthur played on the right wing. For the match against Ireland on 23rd February 1884, Charles again played alongside Arthur; both brothers scored in an 8-1 victory, (Charles scoring twice) but he again left the pitch with an injury after 75 minutes. He continued to be selected regularly for England over the next few years, scoring against the Irish and the Scots in 1885. His second captaincy came in a 7-0 victory over the Irish on 5th February 1887, in which Tinsley Lindley scored a hat-trick. His final England appearance came a month later against Scotland on 19th March in a 2-3 defeat at Leamington Road, Blackburn. In all he scored 12 goals in his 18 England caps, and he was a member of England teams that won the British Home Championship in four years between 1884 and 1888.
He was a member of the Football Association committee from 1883 to 1886 and a member of The Corinthians original committee in 1882. He became honorary secretary of The Corinthians between 1923 and 1932.
Two of his brothers, Arthur and Ernest, also played for England making three and one appearances respectively. They are the only trio of brothers to have played for England. Two of his sons, Rupert and Frederick, were killed in France during the First World War.