Daisy Bank, Edgworth, Lancashire born inside forward Charlie Sagar began his career playing in 1895 for Turton Sunday School local side St Anne’s. Sagar was also playing for Edgworth Rovers in 1896 and Lancashire Combination side Turton Rovers in 1897, before he joined First Division Bury in 1898 after a two-goal performance for Turton Rovers against Bury Reserves.
In a seven-year spell with Bury, Sagar scored 71 goals in 186 appearances, and finished as the club’s top scorer from 1903 to 1905. He was also part of the Bury team that won the FA Cup in both 1900 and 1903, playing in Bury’s 4-0 victory over Southampton at The Crystal Palace in 1900 and scoring the second of six goals in the latter game. Bury’s 6-0 win over Derby County (at the same venue) is still a record margin of victory in the FA Cup Final.
During his time at Bury, Sagar earned two caps for England. He made his debut on 17th March 1900 against Ireland at Lansdowne Road, Dublin, scoring in a 2-0 win, winning his second cap in March 1902 when he played in a 0-0 draw with Wales at The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham. Sagar played for The Football League four times between November 1900 and October 1903.
Bury finished in 17th in the First Division in 1904-05, which would have seen them relegated had the League not chosen to expand the division from 18 teams to 20. Nevertheless, Sagar joined Manchester United in May 1905, and made his debut on the opening day of the 1905-06 season at home to Bristol City, a game which Manchester United won 5-1, with Sagar scoring a hat-trick (only Wayne Rooney has since scored a hat-trick on his Manchester United debut). He scored another hat-trick in another 5-1 win against Barnsley later in the season on the way to a total of 20 goals in 23 appearances; only a knee injury prevented him from contributing further to the club’s second-place finish in the Second Division and subsequent promotion. The injury worsened over the course of the following season, limiting Sagar to sporadic appearances and his eventual release at the end of the season by when he had managed only four more goals in 10 appearances during 1906–07.
After leaving Manchester United, Sagar joined Atherton of the Lancashire Combination First Division, but left for Second Division Haslingden after Atherton finished bottom of the league in 1909. The year after Sagar joined Haslingden, they scored 113 league goals, but it is not known how many of these he contributed, similarly when they scored 98 goals the following year on the way to securing the Division Two title and promotion to Division One.
NB in the photograph taken during the match against Sunderland at Roker Park on 31st March 1900, Sagar is in the white shirt on the ground in the foreground. The player in the striped Sunderland shirt walking away from him is future England team mate Billy Hogg, who played with Sagar in Sagar’s second England international and who scored the only goal of the match for Sunderland.