A defender who relied on his speed of recovery as much as his strong tackling, Charlie Withers was always battling for a place in the side with Arthur Willis and then Alf Ramsey, Mel Hopkins and Maurice Norman.
Attended Lower Latymer School in Edmonton and he was an all-round sportsman, being good at football, cricket, swimming, at which he won championships at school level. Impressive performances as a schoolboy earned him an early chance to make a mark in the game as a trialist to represent Edmonton, Middlesex and London in season 1936-37 and when he was called to play for his country at schools level, he was considered too small, but he did go on to win a B cap v Netherlands in 1952 as a senior !!
Leaving school at 15 in 1937, Withers worked in a wood-working factory in Chingford as a machinist, but he continued to play football for the 7th Enfield Boy's Brigade and with Tottenham Juniors. This brought him to the attention of the Spurs scouts and he was brought to White Hart Lane as an amateur on 12th May 1938 and played for local side Tottenham Juniors, while his progress was monitored. He was loaned to Finchley to gain more experience, but the war intervened and Withers went off to Normandy for the D-Day landings with the Royal Artillery.
Making some A Team appearances while still in the Army, on returning to civvie street after leaving the Army in March 1947, Withers resumed his football career with Tottenham offering him a place on the ground staff and this lead to his first game in the Football Combination for the reserves on 27th September 1947 at Charlton. Three weeks later, on 16th October, Charlie signed professional at Spurs in October 1947, but had to wait until March of the following year to make his first team bow, having made his first appearance in a Spurs shirt for the reserves at Gillingham on 22nd December 1945. It was only halfway through the following season that he got a chance to grab a regular spot in the side, making himself popular with the Tottenham crowd with his penchant for crunching tackles. Sometimes, he would be beaten by an opponent as he lunged in, but he possessed a natural ability to race back to face them again, just when they thought they had gotten away from him. With a good partnership with Ron Burgess developing on the left side of the pitch, he kept challengers away from the first team, missing only two matches in the Second Division winning season of 1949-1950.
With a step up to the First Division under Arthur Rowe's management, he missed out on the bulk of the "Push and Runs" side's 1950-51 championship season, as Arthur Willis replaced him. The two players shared duties in the team, until Willis left for Swansea Town and then Mel Hopkins came in to provide further competition, taking the jersey in front of Withers. But Charlie hung in there and took over from Alf Ramsey, when the Spurs captain took over at Ipswich Town on his retirement.
His intelligent attacking play from his defensive position made him a useful part of the team and he continued in the side, making his last appearance on 2nd April 1956 at Preston North End. But no longer playing in the first team did not prevent serving Tottenham, with two years as player/coach for the A Team, who won the 1957-58 Eastern Counties League and the last game he played was in a 4-1 win over Norwich City in the East Anglian Cup Final on 28th April 1958.
During his time in the team, Withers only scored two goals for the side and they both came in the same game, when he was asked to play in an attacking role because of injuries in the team. It was an FA Cup tie against Preston North End in January 1953 and he hit both goals in a 2-2 draw at Deepdale to earn a replay.
The side that Rowe built was falling apart and with Withers advancing in years, he was replaced by new signing Maurice Norman and although he stayed until 1958 in the reserves. He was helping with coaching at Finchley at the same time and Charlie failed to make many more first team appearances, leaving in the close season to join Boston United, for one season 1958-59, before moving on to play and coach at Romford and Deal Town.
On retirement from playing, Charlie returned to his local club of Edmonton to manage the side from October 1963.
Went on to work as a bank messenger for Barclays at Enfield Highway and enjoyed fishing for the Knights of the River club. His love of angling was continued with a place in the Barclays club and when he moved to Bovey Tracy, Devon, it was an ideal place to carry on his hobby.
Having served the club in different capacities and having made over 300 appearances at all levels, Charlie was a Tottenham Hotspur man through and through.
Charlie Withers died in Bovey Tracy, Devon, England on 7th June 2005.