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Ben Odeje

I remember this guy from the programme in the early 70s. Think he made one appearance for Charlton but I might be wrong - could've been an unused sub


  • Yes, I think you're right Johnny. I remember this name from way back when. Think he played for Blackheath District Schoolboys and/or representated Kent as well.

    Good player if I remember rightly.

  • I was at that game at Wembley. Best school trip ever. I remember him because was Charlton and he looked good, but had no idea that he was the first black player to represent England. Wasn't really aware of stuff like that at that age I suppose. Not sure if he ever played for our first team though.
  • Here are my pics of Roy, with the programme of Benjamin, taken at Erith library to publicise the Sam Bartram book.
    Got a surprise when this was on bbc this morning?.
    I think the club should contact Roy and get the programme an important bit of footballing history.

    Roy Hobson captain of the Charlton C team which included Gary Nelson,Mark Penfold and Benjamin Odeje who Roy claims was the first black player to play for an England football team. As Roy wrote...Benjamin Odeje was the FIRST black boy to play football for England Schoolboy U15's in the 1970/71 season. I played No 5 behind Benjamin Odeje's No 9 for Blackheath Schools in the 1970/71 season and then also for Charlton Athletic/Great Britain in the 1971/72 season Centenaire du Havre Athletic Club Tournament
  • My link for flikr is a bit out of sink .
    I will try and sort.
  • Saw Benny Odeje play a couple of times for Dulwich Hamlet around 1975-76. I remember a FA Cup Qualifying game against Sutton Utd in particular.
  • He came into my school reception (a long time ago now) and he saw me with my Charlton jacket and started telling me how he played for us and how he was the first ever black player to play for England, I just thought he was some nutter.
  • He came into my school reception (a long time ago now) and he saw me with my Charlton jacket and started telling me how he played for us and how he was the first ever black player to play for England, I just thought he was some nutter.

    Must admit I was quite upset at the quote "They tell friends I was the first black footballer and other children call them liars. But I am, it is a fact."
    Playing for your country must be a great honour, but not to be recognised for so long is a upsetting and distressing situation.
    I am sure the club will want to recognise 'one of ours', he seems a decent type teaching kids football, hopefully we will see him down at the Valley in the near future.

  • I'm sure he turned up for the opposition when I played Sunday football I think in the Kent Suburban league in the early 80's. I seem to recall someone saying that Odeje was the winger and ex-charlton (or was it ringer ;o)
  • Here is a comment I left yesterday on the Millennium Quay facebook page, and it was also copied as an email to Ben Odeje, Marc Ashdown of BBC TV News, and 20 other copyees including my MP.... I am professionally engaged in Bexleyheath where the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Sculpture is being unveiled at 12 noon. I have been discussing the great news with MPs, Councillors & anybody who will listen that Deptford's Ben Odeje's FARE network Kick It Outi story has broken after 42 years. Here is the text that I sent this morning to prime this South East London City Challenge event.. Yesterday before England's U21s crashed out ot the European Championships in Israel I Googled 'Ben Odeje Charlton' & Charlton fans have made the connection that was missed by Marc Ashdown of BBC TV News on 24th May 2013 i.e that Ben Odeje the first black footballer to play for England at any level also played for Charlton Athletic FC - Official & his story is their story too. Ken from Bexley has called for the club to speak to Roy Hobson i.e me, about the long hard fight that has been fought against institutionalised prejudice to get African born Ben the recognition he had been cruelly denied for 42 years. Today as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Sculpture is unveiled at Bexleyheath Clocktower I will be in Central Library Bexleyheath attempting to develop this archetypal FOOTBALL AGAINST RACISM IN EUROPE story further. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN. Regards Roy Hobson aka "Vesper"
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  • Well done Hobbo!
  • Well done Roy, your campaign to get Ben recognised is a great credit to your fellow team mate, and is a first for Charlton that they should be very proud of.
    You efforts have been acknowledged, well done to you and Ben. I wrote this for the trust website.
  • Thank you 'superdulvertonred'. Were we ever team mates, or cell mates as you have Cat AA insider's knowledge on my Old Addeyans FC nickname?

    Thank you 'Ken from Bexley' for responding to my request at Erith Library a few years ago, when you sent me the photos that you took there of me at the Sam Bartram event.

    There were a number of errors in the Ben Odeje piece by Marc Ashdown of BBC TV News. Ben and I both grew up in Deptford, where he went to Lucas Vale Primary School, and I went to Tidemill Primary School. Ben then went to South East London School in Creek Road, and I went to Addey & Stanhope Grammar School in New Cross Road. We both played for Blackheath District, and Kent Schools in the 1970/71 season when Ben played for England Schools U15s. In the 1971/72 season I turned down offers from the professional game to concentrate on my O & A Level education (later South Bank University - Graduate Diploma in Quantity Surveying 1981, Royal Instition of Chartered Surveyors 1984, Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors 1990). Ben signed apprentice professional & professional contracts with Charlton, and he did eventually go on to play for Charlton's first team as well. The photos that I showed Ken from Bexley at Erith Library were from the Pentecost Tour to Le Havre in France for a major international tournament where Charlton Athletic represented GB in 1972.

    Breaking Ben's story on the BBC after 42 years was a major breakthrough for us, as his story represents the beginning of South East London's & England's FOOTBALL AGAINST RACISM IN EUROPE - KICK IT OUT - SHOW RACISM THE RED CARD : THAMES GATEWAY, CITY CHALLENGE development, both on and off the pitch. After Ken from Bexley sent the Erith Library photos that he took of me at the Sam Bartram event, John Austin the former MP for Erith & Thamesmead Labour, and former leader of Greenwich Council, wrote to the Home Secretary Theresa May when this Government came to power in 2010. John Austin asked Theresa May for a meeting to discuss my individual legal case for the defence against NF/BNP entry-ism into London's Sporting/Planning Arena, that began with the ILCC trial Regina v Hobson 1991 after I had discovered that the odious NF/BNP leadership were being allowed to use the Old Addeyans FC/Densitron International PLC clubhouse for their malevolent planning meetings. The Police Minister Nick Herbert arbitrarily turned down the offer of a meeting to discuss the case, and it's wider implications.

    Since I received two not guilty verdicts in the original 1991 trial, I have faced many further trials including a Judicial Review at the Royal Courts of Justice on the 28th February 2007 that saw me defeat both the IPCC, and Lord Blair the Met Commissioner of Police before the Hon Mr Justice Goldring.

    On 16th May 2013 the IPCC upheld my appeal against the non-recording of my latest complaint against the Met Commissioner of Police Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe by Stephen Greenhalgh, the Deputy Mayor for Policing & Crime & MOPAC, and I am currently waiting for a response from MOPAC.

    Yesterday Ben Odeje rang me after I had posted a contemporary picture of him on facebook, I suggested to Ben that he speak again to Marc Ashdown BBC TV News, and request a follow up piece that corrects the mistakes in the first piece, and includes the omissions that occurred when Marc Ashdown cancelled an interview with me that was proposed for Erith library the day before Drummer Rigby was murdered in Woolwich.

    My legal case began two years before the murder of Stephen Lawrence, and Stephen's mother Doreen asked me at the Albany in Deptford to keep up the good work. I have recently linked the ongoing BEN ODEJE FILM FOCUS to the Anglo-Nigerian artist Karl Ohiri and the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, which is at the heart of contemporary developments at the University of Greenwich, .

    Kind regards

    Roy Hobson aka "Vesper"
  • Interesting stuff Roy and well done for taking on the racists.

    Afraid I'm not grasping why the crown was taking you to court and what charges you were found not guilty of. Could you explain?

    Also Ben didn't play a first team competitive match according to the records I have. If you know otherwise can you say which game/s they were.
  • Regina v Hobson 1991 trial manuscript is available. Sure Ben played 1 game
  • I'm sure a manuscript is available but could you give me a brief summary.

    Pretty sure he didn't. No mention in the Valiant 500 which is the definative record.
  • He didn't make a first team appearance. From the Cardiff programme last season:

    Unfortunately, he was unable to graduate to the first team – although he couldn’t have come any closer to making his Charlton debut.

    Under manager Theo Foley, Odeje was poised to come on as a substitute in a League Cup match against Mansfield Town in early September 1972 as the Addicks enjoyed a comfortable 4-0 lead in the Valley fixture.

    However, just as he was about to be introduced, Mansfield pulled a goal back, prompting Foley to change his mind because he considered, according to club historian Colin Cameron, that “it would be a hard baptism for him”.

    “I made the substitutes’ bench,” said a rueful Odeje. “To be honest, I don’t know why I wasn’t given the opportunity to cross that white line, but it was difficult.

    “I didn’t know what they were looking for. I played in end-of-season tournaments in France and so on, and I felt that I did well, and that was the message that I was getting from the club, but I never got that chance.”
  • Thanks for clearing up the issue of Ben's 'one game' for Charlton's 1st team. I'm sure that we can agree though, that he was a professional footballer with Charlton for a season or two? I played for Charlton Athletic with Ben at the Le Havre, Centenary event which took place during Pentecost 1972. Also in that touring party were the late Ray Tumbridge, Mark Penfold, Johnny Arnold, Richie Bowman etc.

    A brief summary of 22 years of fighting for FARE JUSTICE NOT VENGEANCE is not easy, but here goes..... I went from the professional high of discussing architectural solutions for Deptford City Challenge, and the wider Thames Gateway, with HRH The Prince of Wales's Institute of Architecture at St James's Palace, to the inside of the Cat 'AA' prison Belmarsh, following a fight at the Old Addeyans FC/Densitron International PLC clubhouse development, after I had discovered the neo-Nazi National Front (NF) & British National Party (BNP) leadership, who have links to the KKK etc in the USA, were using the clubhouse for their malevolent planning meetings. I was 1st XI captain at Old Addeyans for many years, and when I discovered the letters NF in the club diary we had 5 black players in the 1st XI. Add to this fact, that I had also played in the same Charlton Athletic team as England's first black footballer Ben Odeje, and worked with his cousin Faith Isiakpere the former BBC Black Britain film producer for the documentary on the New Cross Fire, and I think you will get some idea of the seriousness of the critical situation that I was faced with.

    It's 22 years since I received two not guilty verdicts (Threats to Kill, ABH) in Regina v Hobson 1991, and I find that I am still fighting for my life in a 'bottom to top' battle for FARE JUSTICE NOT VENGEANCE 1991-2013. Chris Powell should be aware that I engaged the black solicitor Wayne Thompson to deal with case in 1991 and it was he who told me to look after the trial manuscript after we had won 2 not guilty verdicts against the pro NF/BNP prosecution produced by CID Greenwich. Charlton Ladies should be aware that I asked my Deptford Solicitor Macauley Smith & Co to provide me with a woman QC for my last associated Crown Court case in March 2012 as I knew it was an important 'Counting Women In' issue for both Dame Joan Ruddock MP for Deptford, and Teresa Pearce MP for Erith. Paul Macauley really excelled himself and my Counsel a young woman Joanne Hardy QC excelled herself in Woolwich Crown Court against all the odds. On 16th May 2013 the IPCC upheld my appeal against the non-recording of my latest complaint against the Met Commissioner of Police Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe by Stephen Greenhalgh, the Deputy Mayor for Policing & Crime & MOPAC, and I am currently waiting for a response from MOPAC.

    Arno Breker was the Nazi sculptor who died in 1991 the same year that I faced trial in London for fighting against neo-Nazi NF/BNP entryism into London's Sporting/Planning Arena at the Old Addeyans / Densitron International PLC development in S.E London. Breker made a fortune from Hitler's love of his work,which features enormous ,naked Aryan models.Hitler's architect Albert Speer planned his grandest buildings to be decorated with Breker's distinctive pieces. I don't like Hitler or his Architect Albert Speer.

    Here is the Government's latest Thames Gateway City Challenge development proposal for the Convoys site in Deptford I opposed the design solution proposed for the Convoys site by Murdoch's News International PLC,Tony Blair, and his architectural visionary Richard Rogers. It looks like it's going the same way with Cameron, and his architectural visionary Terry Farrell the senior partner of Farrells , who I would respectfully suggest, explores the role of St Paul's Church, Deptford as an architectural hub of experimental thinking, learning and practice.
  • Excellent stuff Roy, I shall follow the story with great interest.

    On a lighter note I played for many years (1973-85) for Old Sedcopians and we played Old Addeyans many times during my time there. Was your home ground in Bromley near the old gas holder or am I thinking of another team?

    We were based in Sidcup but traveled all over the place, Reigate, Dorking, Warlingham etc. So many happy memories of muddy pitches and a few pints after. Great days.
  • All power to your elbow in fighting for justice, Roy. I particularly appreciate your distinction between St Paul's Church and Convoys Wharf, both in Deptford: contrasting symbols of God and mammon. Keep us posted with news of Ben.
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  • mistrollingin -

    Thank you for your kind words.

    The happy memories, muddy pitches, and a few beers after the game seem like a long time ago for me now.

    Yes Havelock Road in Bromley by the gas holder was the home for Old Addeyans FC for many years. I played for the club between the ages of 17-35. As Hon Sec of Old Addeyans I commissioned the Sports Turf Research Institute report of the Old Addeyans FC (OAFC) pitches in August 1984 under the STRI Directorship of Peter Hayes. This commission was my first truly independent action as a sole principle in private practice after I had qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 1984, and it revealed that Bromley had sold us a unstable brick field, with a very thin layer of topsoil that was a danger to anybody who played on it. Stuart Ormondroyd did the Havelock Road report for STRI who also look after the sacred Wembley turf that Ben Odeje played on against Northern Ireland when he became England's first black footballer at any level.

    Cliff Hardcastle the Chairman of Densitron International PLC, who was also Chairman of Addey & Stanhope School, and Old Addeyans FC, then asked to take control of this 'City Challenge' legal claim against the London Borough of Bromley that I was proposing to take to the Civil Courts on behalf of my club mates. I agreed.

    It is fair to say that Chairman Cliff Hardcastle OBE, Treasurer Jim Pollard, and Old Addeyans FC withdrew their support 'sic' for my Londoner's family business development the day they allowed the NF/BNP to hold their malevolent neo-Nazi meetings at Havelock Road in the 1990/91 season before the club moved to the Blackheath Park ground which belonged to Densitron International PLC.

    Since receiving his OBE in 2001 Cliff Hardcastle has been replaced as Chairman of Densitron Technologies PLC, and Old Addeyans FC have been evicted from the Blackheath Park ground so that the new owners can pursue their luxury housing development plans.

    The wider nightmare FOOTBALL AGAINST RACISM IN EUROPE development scenario that I have fought against INSIDE 'n' OUT for over 20 years became a living reality for me the day Nick Griffin, the neo-Nazi leader, and Andrew Brons were elected to the European Parliament as BNP MEP's. This hellish situation requires all of us to face up to the greatest fascist threat ever to emerge from within an English speaking democracy. Oswald Moseley and his blackshirts never broke into the mainstream via the ballot box, and they certainly never represented Britain on the European political stage. It sickened me to see Nick Griffin visiting Syria on this ticket.

    Viewfinder -

    Thank you for your kind words too.

    You are right to focus on the distinction between St Paul's Church, and Convoys Wharf in Deptford. It was working with the late Guardian of Walsingham Canon David Diamond that led to me becoming a Roman Catholic. Father Diamond is buried in the St Paul's Churchyard which makes it a real church for me at least, as I stop and pray there when I visit.

    London's Anglo Catholics will clearly recall that Canon Diamond invited HRH The Prince of Wales to open the First Premise, St Paul's Court in the 1987/88 football season.

    Addey & Stanhope School's Steve Pratt can confirm that Canon Diamond also used my poetry to invite HRH the Prince of Wales to the opening of St Paul 's Court:

    SE8 MATE

    16 ACRES FREE.

    Canon Diamond, Addey & Stanhope School's Chairman of Governors Frank Barber, and I are all recorded as being professional Thames Gateway contributors to the Civic Trust report which preceded Deptford City Challenge. Twenty five years later Millenium Quay is in place, New Capital Quay is nearing completion, and the Sir Terry Farrell's proposals for former News International PLC site Convoys are on the table.

    Johann Alexander the FA's young black PR manager gave me his card a couple of years ago at the inaugural Black & Asian Coaches Association event, which was held at the London Soccerdome, I passed the card on to Keith Peacock at Bexley Athletic Club (BAC), and asked him to let both the CAFC Chairman, and Chris Powell know that Johann was interested in developing Ben's story too. I never heard anything more about it from Keith or Charlton, and I have since been excluded & treated very badly by BAC. Yesterday the Durban International Film Festival unveiled their poster for 2013 on facebook, here is the associated comment that I have posted...... Interesting FOCUS that has emerged after 42 years here in London and is directly connected to my individual FARE network Kick It Out legal case. Ben Odeje is the veteran film producer Faith Isiakpere's Nigerian cousin from Deptford, and Faith should be made aware of this too. NB Global Entrepreneurship Week UK, What's your story, African Cup of Nations 2013
  • Thanks for the response Roy. I remember young Ben and saw him play for the South East Counties side at Sparrows Lane around 71-3 a few times. Line up vs West Ham, played 4-3-72, as well as Ben, included Ritchie Bowman, Mike Franklin and Ray Tumbridge. I also seem to recall rumours at the time that Leeds Utd kept tabs on him for a while. .
  • Here's a picture of the Le Havre squad. Hope you can access it via facebook The comments make for interesting reading
  • Roy said:

    Here's a picture of the Le Havre squad. Hope you can access it via facebook The comments make for interesting reading

    A good historical photo, Roy. Which ones are Messrs Bowman, Tumbridge and Penfold - and you? I presume Gary Nelson is seated centre, with the ball.

  • Viewfinder -

    As you look at the photo the tour manager Colin Murphy is standing rear left wearing a suit, and immediately next to him is the late Ray Tumbridge. Standing rear right in the tracksuit is the physio Joe Dowling, and you will find me (with hair shock!!!!) standing one place away from Joe, separated the former by East London Schools star Pat Fanning. Richie Bowman is seated 2nd left in front of Ben Odeje, and Mark Penfold is seated immediately to the right of the tour captain Alan Wood who has the ball at his feet. The Gary Nelson in this picture is seated on the extreme right in front of Joe Dowling, and this Gary played for Woolwich Schools and later famously for Plumstead Maybloom. He is not THE Gary Nelson who played for Charlton's 1st team.

    At the time this picture was taken in 1972 apartheid ruled in South Africa, and Nelson Mandela was in prison. Two years later Ben Odeje's Nigerian cousin Faith Isiakpere crossed the white line to come on as a substitute for Addey & Stanhope School in an U18 London Cup Final against Crown Woods, which sadly Addey's lost. I was the Addey & Stanhope school U18 team captain who made that call for change.

    In the 1985/86 season I was Ist XI captain for Old Addeyans FC who played in the London Old Boys League. Nelson Mandela was still in prison when as a newly qualified Chartered Surveyor for the UNITY PROJECT in the London Borough of Southwark I involved the black film producer Faith Isiakpere, my old school friend from Addey & Stanhope School after discovering that the trade literature was headed up COON DISCO This in turn led to the development of the Channel 4 film 'The Crossing', a story which drew upon our Peckham High Street experiences, to tell the transposed story about a white man who helped the ANC in South Africa. After 'The Crossing' I involved another former Addey & Stanhope School pupil with the UNITY PROJECT, Ezra Attia's black interior designer Elaine Tomlinson was engaged to transform the building's grim unfinished interior.

    After the Channel 4 film 'The Crossing', Faith's career included a series of films for BBC Black Britain which included The New Cross Fire, and he then moved on to the Children of Africa production with the now released Nelson Mandela, Stevie Wonder, Isaac Hayes etc

    Faith Isiakpere’s film The Algiers Murders premiered at the 2012 Durban International Film Festival, it is/was a dark narcotics thriller set against the violent background of the amphetamine and cocaine trade. It is based on a series of police-instigated killings that took place in New Orleans in 1980 and is a relentless narrative of power, manipulation, murder, corruption and degradation. In the build-up to Faith's premier I emailed the Durban International Film Festival across the board, as a way of bringing them, and South Africa 100% up to speed with the real life drama here in London 2012 that not only underpins Faith Isiakpere's work, but which also has yet to receive the exposé that the case evidence deserves from Regina v Hobson ILCC 1991 to the present day. I also floated the idea of making a film about Ben Odeje the first black footballer to play for England at any level, and this idea met a number of positive responses.

    Black Madonna of UNITY pray for us! RIP Ray Tumbridge too!
  • edited June 2013
  • LenGlover - ?

    superdulvertonred, ken from bexley , Henry Irving, Ollywozere, mistrollingin, Viewfinder -

    Yesterday I linked the Save Our Local Hospitals facebook page to this critical developing thread here on CHARLTON LIFE because England's Rooneys had kindly brought this informative link to my attention there

    My new facebook friend Matthew Pennycook, is a Greenwich Councillor for Greenwich West Ward, and he has declared that he will be putting his name forward for members to consider him as the Greenwich PPC, to replace Nick Raynesford MP for Greenwich, who will be standing down at the next election. I was christened at St Nicholas Church SE8 in Greenwich West Ward, and yesterday I sent Matthew the following message ..... John Austin the former leader of Greenwich Council, and MP for Erith & Thamesmead put my FOOTBALL AGAINST RACISM IN EUROPE development case on the Home Secretary's desk before he retired. Here is where we are today Teresa Pearce MP has been kept fully informed, and the case is very, very hot as the IPCC have upheld my appeal against the non-recording of my latest complaint against the Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe by Stephen Greenhalgh the Deputy Mayor for Policing & Crime and MOPAC. John Austin can confirm that we beat both Lord Blair and the IPCC at Judicial Review on 28th Feb 2007. The Millennium Quay facebook page is inspired and inspiring today
  • edited June 2013
    I just posted about a possible mutual acquaintance from the dark ages of the seventies but on reflection decided to preserve their anonymity.
  • Thanks, Roy. It's strange that the centrally seated chap does actually look like Gary Nelson! I like what you said in an earlier message, about the sharp contrast between St Paul's in Deptford and Convoys Wharf. I never met Father Diamond - did you? A friend of mine was talking about him just the other day: he did so much good work for the parish.
  • I hope you are well Roy. It's been a long time....
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