Barley Charles Image 1 Arsenal 1926

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Barley Charles Image 1 Arsenal 1926


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Staveley, Derbyshire born left half Charles Barley began his football career with Staveley Town from where he was signed by First Division club Arsenal in October 1925, becoming one of Herbert Chapman’s first signings, making his Football League debut against Leeds United in February 1927. He scored his only goal for Arsenal in a 3-2 win at Aston Villa in April 1927. But over three seasons on the fringes at Highbury he never managed more than 4 appearances in any season and joined Second Division Reading in May 1929 having played 10 matches for The Gunners.

He became a first team regular at Elm Park, missing only three matches in his first season, and after their relegation in 1931 he only missed two matches in three seasons as Reading narrowly missed out on promotion, finishing runners up and in fourth place in the Third Division (South). However he was less regular in the following three seasons as Reading kept up the promotion challenge, finishing as runners up in 1934-35 and twice in third place. After 16 goals in 214 appearances he joined Maidenhead United in 1937, where he played until his retirement.

Charles’ son, Derek, played for Arsenal Reserves and junior sides in the early 1950’s, and also played for Queen’s Park Rangers and Aldershot, while his father Peter Barley played for Chesterfield Town in 1899.

NB in the photograph he stands on the left with fellow Arsenal reserve Jack Lee.




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