Club historian Marty Stapo looks back on Charlie Walker's (RIP) time with Longford


Charlie Walker Tribute by Marty Stapleton, Longford Town FC Statistician and historian.

It was very sad to hear the news of Charlie Walker's passing earlier this week. He was manager of Longford Town FC way before I first started going to games but considering his high standing within the game with St. Patrick's Athletic, who he brought to the FAI cup final in 1980 and won a Leinster Senior Cup with in '83, with Home Farm and an Irish junior international side that contained the likes of Liam Brady and Frank Stapleton, Charlie Walker deserves to be remembered for his services to the game here in Ireland. For those who may not remember Charlie Walker's time in charge of "De Town", below is a timeline of major events during his spell in the Midlands followed by an extract from Brian Kennedy's book ''Just Follow the Floodlights'' on Charlie's dedication and love for the club.

Longford News archive

  • W/E 22.6.84
  • Charlie Walker was appointed new Longford Town manager in June 1984.
  • W/E 29.6.84
  • Charlie Walker offered an idea that Longford Town FC should change the name to Longford and also change the colours to blue and gold. He also informed the press that a businessman had donated a bus to the club to be used for trials. A Longford Town FC spokesman said it wasn't possible to drop the word Town.
  • W/E 1.3.85
  • Longford Town fans shouted at Charlie Walker after being thrashed 6-0 by Shelbourne. “What about the locals Charlie?” Quite a few of the good attendance left the scene well before the end. Majority of players used were former Junior stars in Dublin.
  • W/E 29.3.85
  • Manager Charlie Walker got more stick from Town fans. Whenever a UCD player got the ball, someone said “ sign him up Charlie”.
  • W/E 19.4.85
  • Donald Keogh told the Longford News that no doubt hangs over the future of Charlie Walker and he has another year on his contract to run.
  • W/E 24.5.85
  • Charlie Walker resigns from Longford Town FC as manager.

Piece on Charlie Walker from Brian Kennedys book “Dont follow the floodlights”.

Under manager Charlie Walker, Longford's first game in top flight football took place in the mountains of Donegal. Ballybofey, home of Finn Harps was the setting for the first game in group one of of 84/85 league cup. Jim Mahon got the honours of scoring Town's first goal in top flight football. Unfortunately, Jim Finnerty also got the honour of picking the ball out of the net one more time than the Harps' goalkeeper as Town went down 2-1 on the day. The following week saw a 3-2 win against Sligo Rovers but a defeat to Galway Utd in the last game killed off any chance of qualifying for the semis.

“Longford was a great club to be part of at the time. I remember we gave Shamrock Rovers a hell of a game in one league game. We had to switch to the local rugby ground as Abbeycartron was so small. They done us with a last minute goal but it was a fantastic game to be involved in. I knew I had to bring in a few players as the club was now playing in  League of Ireland  football and we done alright. The travelling from Dublin however took a toll on me in the end as I had to leave work at five and travel to Longford several times a week. That was the only downside in a time I really enjoyed managing the club”.- Charlie Walker.

That first season was always going to be a steep learning curve. 30 Longford games ensued with Town picking up just 3 wins and 10 points. It meant a bottom placed finish but at least no re-election worries as Longford Town FC just dragged Finn Harps, Drogheda Utd and Sligo Rovers down with them.

Charlie was 66 years old when he managed us.

84/85 Facts and figures.

League  P             W            D             L             F             A             Points    Position                 FAI Cup                League Cup

30      3        4        23      26      71      10      16               1                 FQ

Key FQ = Qualifying Round.

Top league scorer Tony O'Kelly 6.

Players used: 31

The following were the list of players that Charlie Walker used that season:

  • Jim Finnerty
  • Ger Sheridan
  • Anto Hyde
  • Colin Duff
  • Pat Hackett
  • Declan Farrell
  • Heysham El Khershi
  • Joe Murphy
  • Lar Reilly
  • Jim Mahon
  • Tony O'Kelly
  • Mark Devlin
  • Mick Sheridan
  • Phil Wilkins
  • Paul Reynolds
  • Brendan Cunningham
  • Mick Nevin
  • Tommy Wilson
  • Tommy Hynes
  • John Barry
  • Tommy Rowe
  • Tommy McCormack
  • Dean Wilkins
  • Dominic Fitzpatrick
  • Thomas Barron
  • Ian Wilkinson
  • Peter Grimes
  • Johnny Matthews
  • Ray Hackett
  • Chris Clarke
  • Liam Madden

May he rest in peace.