Charlie Chambers -

Charlie Chambers
Place Of BirthLlanelli
HonoursSouth Wales Football Club
Position: Quarter-back, half-back
Teams: Swansea, South Wales Football Club.
Born in Llanelli in 1851 and a working as a Commercial Clerk in an Iron Merchants, C.C. (Charles, Cyril) "Charlie" Chambers was one of the founding members of the Swansea club. As with other players of the fledgling rugby football club, he was a keen cricketer and active member of Swansea Cricket Club.
He was educated at Cheltenham College (enrolling in January 1862) thus forming an early link with that institution reinforced by the attendance of other Swansea players such as A. H. Richardson, R. H and H. G. Brown and M. I. E. Morris.
Chambers played in the first ever fixture of the Swansea Football Club when it was playing under Association rules. This was against Neath on 23rd November 1872. He had in fact, been the moving force in the staging of a football match in 1871 between 12 boys of the Swansea Grammar School and 12 gentlemen of the town, this being the earliest reference to football in Swansea from the Cambrian newspaper. What form this game took can only be guessed at from this distance.
When the decision was taken on 17th October 1874 to adopt rugby football rules over association football, Charlie Chambers was elected the club's first captain for the 1874-75 season ahead, an honour he was to hold again in 1875-76. He played in several different positions, though predominantly as a forward. He is listed as a "quarter back" against Llandovery College 12th December 1876 a game in which he scored a goal from a 'mark'. He played as a "half back" on 7th December 1876 against Llanelli in a match where there were 18 a side! Though his preferred position was at half-back in his early games, from January 1877 onwards Charlie Chambers appears as a forward for the Swansea club.
His last known appearance as a player was on 19th march1879 away against Neath in the last of the famous seven matches against the club that season in the South Wales Challenge Cup. Chambers captained the Swansea team that day. Neath emerged victors after an hour's extension was played following no score at full time.
Although Chambers holds the honour of captaining Swansea Rugby Football Club for its first two full seasons, his major contribution lies in his place on the board of the fledgling Welsh union where he ensured that the Swansea Club was at the forefront of the development of the game in Wales. In September 1875, as captain of the Swansea Club, he joined with other clubs in South Wales to form the South Wales Football Club (SWFC) who oversaw representative games against English Counties as a precursor to full internationals. The SWFC was joined by players as opposed to clubs. In 1878, Chambers was again at the forefront of the SWFC's successor, the South Wales Football Union. This is now recognised as the lineal parent body of the Welsh Football Union (1881) and modern WRU. Charlie Chambers had the honour of becoming the WFU's first president in 1881 (March - September, succeeded by the Earl of Jersey). His advocacy of the incomparable St Helens ground saw the Union agree to hold the first international to be played on Welsh soil at the Swansea ground in 1882 (v England). So C.C. Chambers saw the birth of the Swansea club and the founding and early development of the Welsh Union and international rugby at St Helens. As such he is an important figure in the story of the club's developing years and of the advance of rugby football in Wales.
Chambers' wife Susan's family was in the oil and ore trade (she was born in Chile, a British Subject). Later years saw him move to London as an agent of an oil merchant and later, a partner in the company. Charlie Chambers was a kinsman of John Graham Chambers who rowed then coached the rowing team at Cambridge in the 1870's. John Graham also formed the Amateur Athletics Association (A.A.A.) and wrote the Queensbury Rules for boxing.
1872-1873 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
1874-1875 5 2 2 1 0 2 0 0 0
1875-1876 7 3 3 1 1 0 0 1 0
1876-1877 4 2 0 2 0 0 0 1 0
1877-1878 5 3 0 2 0 1 0 0 1
1878-1879 6 1 4 1 0 0 0 1 0
TOTAL 28 11 10 7 1 3 0 3 1
Cardiff 11 9 0 2 374 210 46
Newport 11 9 0 2 337 214 45
Aberavon 11 7 0 4 322 243 37
Llandovery 11 6 0 5 303 287 31
RGC 1404 11 6 0 5 286 244 31
Merthyr 11 5 0 6 329 294 31
Pontypridd 11 7 0 4 239 259 30
Carmarthen Quins 11 6 0 5 232 254 30
Bridgend Ravens 11 4 0 7 186 276 18
Swansea 11 3 0 8 212 269 18
Ebbw Vale 11 3 0 8 157 263 14
Llanelli 11 1 0 10 189 353 10