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Peacock recalls 'big freeze' of 1963

edited March 2 in General Charlton
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Although the recent snowstorms have knocked out most of this weekend’s League One action, including the Addicks’ trip to AFC Wimbledon, it is nothing compared to what Keith Peacock faced during the big freeze of 1963.

Having made his senior debut under Frank Hill earlier in the 1962/63 campaign, he was part of a Charlton side that was only able to play one match in 10 weeks as one of the coldest winters on record in the United Kingdom put pay to the Football League calendar.

Between December 22nd, 1962 and March 2nd, 1963, just one match was able to be completed thanks to snow and frozen temperatures, while a match at The Valley was abandoned in the 57th minute on January 19th [pictured above] due to a snowstorm.

“We were 1-0 up against Southampton,” recalled Peacock.

“The snow came down and it was abandoned. The freeze came in that winter and we only played one game in 10 weeks which is incredible when you think of it now.

“We didn’t have anywhere to train and couldn’t have done what the first team do today. They’ve done magnificently to get The Valley in shape so the players can train.”

“We just made do,” he continued.

“There was obviously a backlog of fixtures, but we got by and by the end of that season we stayed up by beating Walsall away. It was the end of May by the time that came around because the season had to be extended.”

The Addicks legend has some not-so-fond memories of battling the elements on the pitch back in his playing days. Indeed, he believes that some of the surfaces that were played on in adverse weather in the 1960s and 1970s would never be past fit in the modern age.

“I remember playing in games where the markings had to be put in on top of the snow,” he said.

“There were games where the pitches were frozen solid – that would never be allowed today with health and safety.

“Other times there was lots of sand thrown on the pitch to soak up the water and it would become heavy and sludgy. I was never too happy under those circumstances.

“I would do my best and grit my teeth to do whatever I could, but it wasn’t one of those that I would relish at all. It suited the big centre-halves that could plough through the difficult conditions better than ball players. I considered myself more of a ball player.

“There were good players in those days, like George Best, who could play in any condition,” Peacock continued.

“The really great players can just adapt. It’s an intuitive thing where they can watch the bounce of the ball and read things better.

“It’s much better these days, especially at the higher level where the pitches are always perfect. But I saw players who had the ball stopped in a puddle, but would skip on because they could adapt to the circumstances.”



Oh the good old days, I remember them well

Taken from CAFC OS

Comments

  • What a great pic -Unbelievable really how the game and pitches have changed since then.Always remember Keithy Keithy Peacock on the wing - he never used to dive
  • Was at that game and remember the Sunday Express next day had a picture of us scoring the goal, Brian Kinsey I think.

    The replayed game was the last but one which we had to win to have a chance of staying up, and Cliff Durandt who we signed from Wolves scored the winner in the last minute.

    Loads of us behind the goal ran on the pitch to celebrate and got chased off by a copper!

    Happy, happy days.
  • I remember to, and yes the trains kept going much better than now.
  • Welly said:

    I remember to, and yes the trains kept going much better than now.

    Wrong type of snow these days mate, cough, cough :wink:
  • Think The Thames froze over that year. At least that is what my Dad says.
  • Was at that game and remember the Sunday Express next day had a picture of us scoring the goal, Brian Kinsey I think.

    The replayed game was the last but one which we had to win to have a chance of staying up, and Cliff Durandt who we signed from Wolves scored the winner in the last minute.

    Loads of us behind the goal ran on the pitch to celebrate and got chased off by a copper!

    Happy, happy days.

    Yes, lets see if my memory is any good.

    Cliff Durandt was a strange shape for a footballer and scored a really strange goal that day.

    Just a yard in from the east touchline and around 30 yards from the south touchline he was tackled, as he fell over and completely off balance he kicked out at the ball which sailed up high and over the keeper into the far corner.

    No idea why the goal has stayed in the memory. Its possible though that goal was in another game. Anyone else remember it?
  • edited March 2

    Was at that game and remember the Sunday Express next day had a picture of us scoring the goal, Brian Kinsey I think.

    The replayed game was the last but one which we had to win to have a chance of staying up, and Cliff Durandt who we signed from Wolves scored the winner in the last minute.

    Loads of us behind the goal ran on the pitch to celebrate and got chased off by a copper!

    Happy, happy days.

    Yes, lets see if my memory is any good.

    Cliff Durandt was a strange shape for a footballer and scored a really strange goal that day.

    Just a yard in from the east touchline and around 30 yards from the south touchline he was tackled, as he fell over and completely off balance he kicked out at the ball which sailed up high and over the keeper into the far corner.

    No idea why the goal has stayed in the memory. Its possible though that goal was in another game. Anyone else remember it?
    Yes, I remember Cliff Durandt's goal more clearly than many. Then, we reduced Walsall to 9 men and scraped a win to stay up.
  • edited March 2

    Was at that game and remember the Sunday Express next day had a picture of us scoring the goal, Brian Kinsey I think.

    The replayed game was the last but one which we had to win to have a chance of staying up, and Cliff Durandt who we signed from Wolves scored the winner in the last minute.

    Loads of us behind the goal ran on the pitch to celebrate and got chased off by a copper!

    Happy, happy days.

    Yes, lets see if my memory is any good.

    Cliff Durandt was a strange shape for a footballer and scored a really strange goal that day.

    Just a yard in from the east touchline and around 30 yards from the south touchline he was tackled, as he fell over and completely off balance he kicked out at the ball which sailed up high and over the keeper into the far corner.

    No idea why the goal has stayed in the memory. Its possible though that goal was in another game. Anyone else remember it?
    In real time no because I was down by the level crossing after Dad had led me out with a........ 'I've had enough of this crap son, we're down c'mon we're off'. Was the goal shown on tv afterwards?
  • I remember it well from my pram :smile:
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  • Sorry Ollie, I should have put CAFC at the end as an acknowledgement
  • Great post GHF, my first full season having started supporting Charlton in January 1962.

    I remember the Chelsea FA cup game well, still freezing conditions but a crowd of over 37,000!
  • I believe the Chelsea Cup game was my first cup tie.
  • edited March 3
    The photo in the opening post......who is the Charlton player?
    I think it’s Cliff Durant.
  • My mum said you cannot go to the Chelsea match as you have school in the morning.
    She then proceeded to shake me awake after seeing the result on the news and said "we lost 3-0".
    I would have been back well before then and fast akip.Cheers mum.
  • The photo in the opening post......who is the Charlton player?
    I think it’s Cliff Durant.

    Yes, my money would be on the stocky figure of Cliff Durandt.
  • @ GlassHalFull

    My recollection of Durants winning goal against the Saints, was he hit low shot through a crowd of legs and it finished in the bottom right corner, he was just outside the box to the left (West). Wasn't it about 2 mins from the end. I know we were all desperate with the time ticking down. The jubilation of that goal was amazing we were relegated without it.

    I was standing low part of the East terrace slightly away end of centre. All a long time ago now. That moment I will never forget, but details get hazy over time.
  • edited March 3
    From the tv highlights / match reports I seem to recall it being described as a banana shot off the deck.
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  • In the photo all the players are wearing gloves! I thought it was only modern day pansies who did that.
  • Did anyone see this? https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01q9d86/winterwatch-1963-the-big-freeze

    Fascinating stuff. Medway completely froze and I'm sure it mentions a glacier at Greenwich.
  • @ GlassHalFull

    My recollection of Durants winning goal against the Saints, was he hit low shot through a crowd of legs and it finished in the bottom right corner, he was just outside the box to the left (West). Wasn't it about 2 mins from the end. I know we were all desperate with the time ticking down. The jubilation of that goal was amazing we were relegated without it.

    I was standing low part of the East terrace slightly away end of centre. All a long time ago now. That moment I will never forget, but details get hazy over time.

    Well, it was 55 years ago!! As mentioned by previous posters the ball definitely sailed up into the air and was almost pulled by the wind down into the goal - a complete and utter fluke. (As was, might I say, the fact that the match highlights were shown on TV.) I remember our stunned disbelief at such a dramatic reprieve.

    A surprising amount still remains in the memory from those far-off days, with relegation often in the background. In late April 1966 Southampton featured again - this time we lost 0-1 at The Dell to an 89' heart-breaker after a fantastic rearguard action nearly earned a priceless point. And in 1967 there was another end of season winner-take-all game, when we beat Northampton 3-0 at The Valley in a truly epic match.

    CTID!!
  • edited March 3
    Ah that Northampton match and the Alan Campbell wonder goal.

  • That BBC docu is brilliant!!
  • seth plum said:

    Ah that Northampton match and the Alan Campbell wonder goal.

    Frank Large tried to put our Eddie out of the game. It ended with Eddie on top of him and to put it eloquently trying to smash Large's head in.
  • Stig said:

    Did anyone see this? https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01q9d86/winterwatch-1963-the-big-freeze

    Fascinating stuff. Medway completely froze and I'm sure it mentions a glacier at Greenwich.

    Ineresting to see the "designer" on the credits at the end of that Tonight special - one Ridley Scott. Probably gave him the idea for a couple of films.
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