Stockport, Cheshire born wing half, more often a right sider but he played across the line, Charlie Wilson began his senior career with Lancashire League hometown club Stockport County from where he joined First Division club Liverpool in December 1897, making his Football League debut against Bolton Wanderers in March 1898, his only appearance of the 1897-98 season. He played only seven more games the next season before becoming more established in 1899-1900, when he played in 22 of the 34 First Division fixtures. The highlight of his career was no doubt winning the League Championship in 1901 when he featured in 25 out of Liverpool’s 34 League matches. His playing style was so described by the club programme from 26th November 1904: “A sturdy, vigorous, and well-built youth, he plays football with all the energy he possesses, and his very exuberance of vitality is often mistaken for roughness by biassed individuals.”
The night before Liverpool were due to play Middlesbrough on 28th February 1903 Wilson dreamt that he would break his leg and told his comrades on the way to the game that he was worried it might come true. Only a minute had passed of the ‘Boro game when Wilson broke his leg! He returned eight months later but only played nine times for Liverpool in two seasons after that. The club programme from 15th December 1906 reflected on what could have been: “Before he broke his leg Wilson was a sound centre half, who studied the game, and played it accordingly. Indeed, there are many who think that he would have disputed pre-eminence with the great Raisbeck himself but for the unfortunate accident which practically stopped his First League career. He can score goals, and his offensive work was always splendid. Especially dangerous was he when corner kicks were taken. The juniors can learn much from Wilson if they will. He is bulky now, and must be one of the weightiest men playing in Combination football.”
Wilson’s final appearance for Liverpool’s first team came against Bolton Wanderers on 1st April 1905, but having scored 3 goals in 91 appearances for The Reds he stayed on at Liverpool working as a scout and trainer until 1939, the Second World War finishing one of the longest continuous relationships any man has had with Liverpool Football Club.
NB the photograph was taken immediately before Liverpool’s match against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on 17th October 1931, a late Gordon Gunson goal sealing a 2-1 Liverpool victory.