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Eddie Firmani (Valiants) More history lessons!

The purchase of Eddie Firmani was a long drawn out affair. Bids of £10,000 and £15,000 were turned down by Genoa. Charlton had a little spare money from the sale of MarvinHinton (£30,000) and buying Frank Haydock for £8,000. Bolton and Port Vale came in with serious bids. Eddie was training with Charlton throughout this period and was desperate for the deal to go through. Charlton even offered to play Genoa as part of the deal. We were desperate to get him back and I remember clearly trying to read all I could about whether we would finally get him. It went through in the end for £17,500. It was never quite clear whether Eddie was a Genoa or a Lazio player as he may have been transferred two months earlier.
Eddie scored within nine minutes away to Man City (1-3) and then again against Bury the following week at home. On 26th October 1963, versus Cardiff City and John Charles he was inspired in a 5-2 win which remains probably the greates game I have seen at the Valley. The build up and the national interest in the game made it so exciting for an impressionable 16 year old. I still retain newspaper cuttings for 1962-64. Any more lessons?
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    How tall was he?
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    5' 11" or thereabouts.
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    edited November 2012
    Serious question etp did you think he was better than Leary or Summers only we re-signed him towards the end of his career and I never saw him before he went to Italy when his brother Peter may also have been in the side.
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    edited November 2012
    I saw Firmani play. One thing I'm sure of is that he would have made it in this era. He had the relaxed attitude towards the ball of, for example, Claus Jensen. A ball could be played to him any old how, and he would have it under control instantly, and once it was his he could more or less do anything, except the mazy dribble. A good athlete, with pace and sharpness, a seemingly nerveless goalscorer...and has been demonstrated many times since he stopped playing, a football brain too.
    Younger fans won't have much idea about how good Firmani was, but let me say that he remains one of our best ever players, would make any Charlton all time top twenty I reckon.
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    edited November 2012
    Deadred said:

    Serious question etp did you think he was better than Leary or Summers only we resigned him towards the end of his career and I never saw him before he went to Italy when his brother Peter may also have been in the side.

    Three different kind of players. Leary had already moved on to QPR (this should never have happened) strung out contract problems with Gliksten/Trotter. Others may know more of the details about this. Leary was a smooth silky player, can't remember him ever running any distance with or without the ball. Effortlessly became our leading goalscorer; maybe his best was already behind him when I started regularly in 1959, however his best game for us was against Spurs in the 3rd round at WHL scoring in a 3-2 defeat in 1961 (Spurs double).
    Summers had probably the hardest shot in the team; put himself about. Jimmy Hill said that you stopped him at your peril "like a ton of bricks". Didn't dribble with the ball but very direct, shoot on sight. I had the luck to see him score his second lot of five goals against Portsmouth (7-4). He came late in his career to Charlton from Millwall but had his best days with us before tragically dying from cancer whilst still a player. His illness was not discussed at the time and his death was quite a shock. My other memory of Summers was travelling with him on the 75 bus back towards Sydenham after a game.....he got off at Catford.

    Peter Firmani, a full back, had played all his games before 1959 so I never saw him play. One odd thing about him was that Jimmy Trotter tried to convert him to goalkeeper probably when we were a bit short in the Willie Duff/Frank Reed days. He returned to S Africa shortly afterwards.

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    edited November 2012
    We must have started supporting around the same time then etp because I went to that Spurs 3rd round cup tie with my father uncle, and cousin. Feet never touched the floor coming out of the ground on the way back to the station. Six foot plus half back line that day if I remember Hewie, Jago, Tocknell? and I was at the Pompey (who were undefeated at the start of the season) 7-4 game also when our crowd at the end were singing 'You're not undefeated any more'! Happy days.
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    Great thread guys.
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    edited November 2012
    seth plum said:

    I saw Firmani play. One thing I'm sure of is that he would have made it in this era. He had the relaxed attitude towards the ball of, for example, Claus Jensen. A ball could be played to him any old how, and he would have it under control instantly, and once it was his he could more or less do anything, except the mazy dribble. A good athlete, with pace and sharpness, a seemingly nerveless goalscorer...and has been demonstrated many times since he stopped playing, a football brain too.
    Younger fans won't have much idea about how good Firmani was, but let me say that he remains one of our best ever players, would make any Charlton all time top twenty I reckon.

    Such a nerveless goalscorer that for Sampadoria and Internazionale he scored 100 goals in 145 appearances. An amazing record which is often overlooked. His 32 from 55 appearances for us on his return was also pretty fantastic in today's terms.

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    seth plum said:

    I saw Firmani play. One thing I'm sure of is that he would have made it in this era. He had the relaxed attitude towards the ball of, for example, Claus Jensen. A ball could be played to him any old how, and he would have it under control instantly, and once it was his he could more or less do anything, except the mazy dribble. A good athlete, with pace and sharpness, a seemingly nerveless goalscorer...and has been demonstrated many times since he stopped playing, a football brain too.
    Younger fans won't have much idea about how good Firmani was, but let me say that he remains one of our best ever players, would make any Charlton all time top twenty I reckon.</blockquo

    Relaxed is a great description, I always found Cantona reminded me of Firmani, he was that good, always seemed to have time to do whatever he wanted with the ball.

    Old heavy leather balls only went in a straight line and the first time I ever saw a football swerve was when Eddie hit a 30 yard volley that looked like it was sailing over the back of the south terrace when it suddenly dipped and skimmed the crossbar. Would look quite normal to today's fans but in those days it was a skill we'd never seen. I couldn't believe my eyes and to see it at the valley was unreal.

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    I had only just started supporting Charlton the season before when we stayed up in the last game of that campaign and the second season did not start off that promising either.I remember my dad sent me to get the paper and I told him that we had signed Firmani.His eyes lit up and said we will win today son.What a season that was,players came alive,Matthews,Kenning,Bailey,Glover etc and it was all down to him.I remember his third spell back when Frank Large of Northampton tried to put him out of the game and our Eddie ended up on top of him trying to pummel his head into the turf.Absolutely terrific player with a massive presence.
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    Along with Clive Mendonca, Eddie Firmani is my all time favorite Charlton player. It is a pity that he spent the best and most productive time of his career in Italy
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    CAFC 5-2 Cardiff 26 Oct 63 att 26K. A fabulous match. Perfect golden Autumn afternoon and a very good crowd.

    Cardiff were good for their two goals (and a sterling performance from the legendary John Charles, like EF back from fame and fortune in Italy), but Charlton could have had 10. Each forward scored, and each goal was superb. Champagne football - unforgettable !! Before the game I got EF's autograph, and after the game collected 11 different match reports. A vintage time indeed.

    I saw Firmani once before he went to Italy. His return in '63 was special enough, but the Messiah-like return in March 67 and the staggering impact he had on the customary relegation fight was even better. Wonderful technique but also a street fighter when necessary - everything exemplified in the winner-takes-all match vs Northampton on the last day of the season. Sublime skill and sheer brutality combined.

    He was a master of the centre-forward's trade, and at times made it all look so effortless in a way that few players can achieve (Di Canio and Mendonca prime examples). Simply a privilege to have seen him play.
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    One of the greatest players ever to don the Charlton shirt and a great honour for all who were privileged to enjoy his craft.
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    seth plum said:

    I saw Firmani play. One thing I'm sure of is that he would have made it in this era. He had the relaxed attitude towards the ball of, for example, Claus Jensen. A ball could be played to him any old how, and he would have it under control instantly, and once it was his he could more or less do anything, except the mazy dribble. A good athlete, with pace and sharpness, a seemingly nerveless goalscorer...and has been demonstrated many times since he stopped playing, a football brain too.
    Younger fans won't have much idea about how good Firmani was, but let me say that he remains one of our best ever players, would make any Charlton all time top twenty I reckon.

    Also a complete all round great guy. Always had time for an autograph or conversation when training. I remember he drove a Merc at the time, but never a flash guy.
    My centenary shirt bears the legend's name.

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    Worth also bearing in mind that EF played in the era of 5-man forward line, as centre forward flanked by two inside-forwards and two wingers. From memory (i.e. without consulting the books), it would have been Ronnie White and Bobby Ayre beside Eddie, with Gordon Hurst right wing and Billy Kiernan on the left. As stated, his ball control was exceptional, as was his football 'vision'.
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    Also a complete all round great guy. Always had time for an autograph or conversation when training. I remember he drove a Merc at the time, but never a flash guy.
    My centenary shirt bears the legend's name.



    When he became manager he changed the Merc for a Plymouth Valiant...maybe a coincidence.

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    Also a complete all round great guy. Always had time for an autograph or conversation when training. I remember he drove a Merc at the time, but never a flash guy.
    My centenary shirt bears the legend's name.

    When he became manager he changed the Merc for a Plymouth Valiant...maybe a coincidence.



    Not a Reliant Robin? :-)
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    pettgra said:

    I had only just started supporting Charlton the season before when we stayed up in the last game of that campaign and the second season did not start off that promising either.I remember my dad sent me to get the paper and I told him that we had signed Firmani.His eyes lit up and said we will win today son.What a season that was,players came alive,Matthews,Kenning,Bailey,Glover etc and it was all down to him.I remember his third spell back when Frank Large of Northampton tried to put him out of the game and our Eddie ended up on top of him trying to pummel his head into the turf.Absolutely terrific player with a massive presence.

    Was that the last game of the season, I believe we had to win to stay up & by winning (3-0?)we sent them down ?
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    pettgra said:

    I had only just started supporting Charlton the season before when we stayed up in the last game of that campaign and the second season did not start off that promising either.I remember my dad sent me to get the paper and I told him that we had signed Firmani.His eyes lit up and said we will win today son.What a season that was,players came alive,Matthews,Kenning,Bailey,Glover etc and it was all down to him.I remember his third spell back when Frank Large of Northampton tried to put him out of the game and our Eddie ended up on top of him trying to pummel his head into the turf.Absolutely terrific player with a massive presence.

    Was that the last game of the season, I believe we had to win to stay up & by winning (3-0?)we sent them down ?
    Apologies GlassHalfFull seems to have answered that, didn't read all of thread before posting ;-(
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    Yes, indeed, CB - the tempestuous last game which we won 3-0, partly due to a wonderful goal by Alan Campbell but mainly due to Firmani's commanding performance, part scalpel and part blunt instrument. The losers went down fighting - amongst themselves (Graham Moore and one of his team-mates). They went from Fourth Div to First and back to the Fourth within about eight years, I think. After the Valley debacle Graham Moore and Theo Foley ended up joining CAFC of course.

    Eddie Firmani was a giant that day.
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    The best player I have ever seen at Charlton.He oozed class,everything he did was done with a sense of style.
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    a few years back my late Mum got me a three box book set one of which was about EF im sure they come from the club shop? well worth a read.
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    dickplumb said:

    The best player I have ever seen at Charlton.He oozed class,everything he did was done with a sense of style.

    As I said on the other valiants posting, my first hero in a charlton shirt, we all have our own favourites, but there was something special about Eddie, I think class sums it up.

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    Was lucky enough to have a meal with him when he was over here a couple of years back.

    Still hope to get him to a Bromley meeting soon.

    A little related story but a woman noticed my son had a Charlton bag or similar at School and said to him

    "My dad used to manage Charlton"
    "what's his name?" my son (12) answered.
    "Oh, you won't have heard of him"
    "Gone on, who is it?"
    "Eddie Firmani"
    "Of course I've heard of him, only player to score 100 goals in England and Italy"

    Who said the kids of today don't know their history.
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    dickplumb said:

    The best player I have ever seen at Charlton.He oozed class,everything he did was done with a sense of style.

    Hence my user name, he said, modestly.

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    a few years back my late Mum got me a three box book set one of which was about EF im sure they come from the club shop? well worth a read.

    That's a great set of books. Here's an original version of Eddie's Book for sale now.
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1960-CHARLTON-ATHLETIC-EDDIE-FIRMANI-BOOK-/321021081397?pt=Non_Fiction&hash=item4abe58f735
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    That's not the original edition
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    Without a doubt Eddie is my all time favourite player.
    I think Berbatov plays a bit like Eddie but our Eddie had a remarkable posture. Very upright. They nicknamed him the turkey in Italy.
    Plus Eddie had a very hard shot.
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    edited November 2012

    That's not the original edition

    You're right of course Henry. Here it is:

    image
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    edited November 2012

    Was lucky enough to have a meal with him when he was over here a couple of years back.

    Still hope to get him to a Bromley meeting soon.

    A little related story but a woman noticed my son had a Charlton bag or similar at School and said to him

    "My dad used to manage Charlton"
    "what's his name?" my son (12) answered.
    "Oh, you won't have heard of him"
    "Gone on, who is it?"
    "Eddie Firmani"
    "Of course I've heard of him, only player to score 100 goals in England and Italy"


    Who said the kids of today don't know their history.

    CAN WE ARRANGE A BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR HIM NEXT YEAR.....IT'S HIS EIGHTIETH!

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