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Charlie Tyson

Charlie Tyson

1920-1926
22
Other Guernsey Nos.
24, 25, 27

106 CFC Games Played

42 CFC Goals

Date of Birth
14 November 1897
Date of Death
23 September 1985
Recruited From
Kalgoorlie Railways
Collingwood Debut
Round 2, 1920
Height:
183cm
Weight:
81kg

Biography

By Michael Roberts:

It’s often forgotten that Collingwood’s famed Machine team era started with one of the most controversial moments in the club’s history – the decision to axe an existing captain.

That moment came just days before the start of the 1927 season, when the Pies sensationally dumped Charlie Tyson as captain, replacing him with Syd Coventry. The move was a masterstroke from the club’s point of view, as Syd and his boys went on to create history.

But for Charlie Tyson it was a life-defining moment, not just because it ended his Collingwood career but also because it added significant fuel to the nasty rumours that he had taken a bribe and played ‘dead’ in the 1926 grand final loss to Melbourne.

Even today, the idea that a Collingwood captain might have ‘laid down’ in the biggest game of the year defies comprehension: the term ‘scandal’ wouldn’t even do it justice. But back then, there were plenty of people who believed it.

Proponents of the theory pointed to Tyson’s relatively poor performance and a number of questionable positional moves he made as captain during the game. But the prime piece of evidence was his dumping: why would a club drop its captain but for something this serious? When he was seen around town driving a new car, that just confirmed the suspicions.

Tyson, of course, vigorously denied the claims, but the story became part of football folklore anyway. For nearly 60 years it was accepted as the truth. Richard Stremski, author of Kill For Collingwood, was the first to really question the story, and tended to come down on Tyson’s side.

Tyson did not have a good game. But, as Stremski pointed out, the positional changes Tyson made at half-time were not inexplicable, although they clearly did not help the team’s cause. In the end, it was the expectations of Collingwood supporters that helped to set the scene for Tyson’s demise.

Collingwood was Premiership favourite from midway through the season; at Victoria Park many believed it was as good as won. That made the eventual failure impossible to swallow. Many supporters were outraged, and the search for scapegoats went into overdrive. In such an environment, the club’s decision to drop Tyson was always going to be interpreted as meaning one thing only — he had taken a “dive”.

Tyson wrote to the papers defending himself, and with more than a hint of intrigue said “he could tell a lot more”. Stremski concluded that the club had simply decided that the 29-year-old Tyson had outlived his usefulness and should be let go. But if that was the case then the club’s timing was tragic, because it blighted Tyson’s departure and sullied his reputation for decades.

Charlie Tyson was born into a footballing family. His dad, Charlie Snr, was a legend of goldfields football. He played for 18 years with the Kalgoorlie Railways team and spent a couple more with East Fremantle. When he and son Charlie came to Melbourne he astounded everyone by appearing with the Fire Brigade team — while well into his forties!

Despite this heritage of football in the west, young Charlie was actually born in St Arnaud, being taken west little more than 12 months later. He followed in his father’s footsteps in WA, joining Kalgoorlie Railways in 1916 and playing principally as a backman and follower. He made his way to Collingwood in 1920, securing a job at the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

He debuted that first year, playing mainly at half-back or as a back-up follower and managing a creditable 16 games. Tyson had a wonderful footballing physique, standing just over 183cms tall and weighing around 83kg, and seemed instantly at home in the hurly burly of VFL football. He was a very good overhead mark and a long kick, and capable enough at ground level. He was chosen for Victoria in just his second season and remained a consistent, solid contributor across his first four seasons, especially after the departures of fellow big men Con McCarthy, Les Hughes and ‘Doc’ Seddon.

When Harry Curtis stepped down as captain at the end of the 1923 season, with Collingwood in the middle of a rebuild, the players chose the mild-mannered Tyson to replace him. Tyson was a reluctant captain, but he was well liked and well respected by his teammates: he did not smoke or drink, and was regarded by most of his comrades as straight, honest and strong of character.

After he took on the role, various newspaper reports commented on the extra ‘energy’ he brought to his game. The Australasian noted, for example: “Tyson, the Collingwood captain, is playing better now than at any period of his football career, and gave a fine display half-back and following; some of his high marking was superb, and followed by a sudden dash and a long, telling kick, his work was very effective.” Later that year he was hailed for another “masterly display” after a defensive performance against South Melbourne that was described as “one of his best games since he has been with Collingwood”. “Cool and alert in the scrimmages and when on the ball he set a splendid example for his side,” said the Age. “His generalship was also of the best.”

In his first year as skipper he was a rock in defence, but rarely played in the ruck. The team had a disastrous season, finishing outside the four for the second year in a row— the only time such a fate had befallen Collingwood to that point. Tyson then led the team into two successive grand finals, during which he was regarded as one of the defensive lynchpins of the side.

But he had a naturally placid nature that perhaps wasn’t suited to the task of being captain. There were many who felt he was too much of a “gentleman” to provide the kind of inspirational leadership the team needed. It may well have been these concerns, rather than the bribery suspicions, that led to his shock axing.

After he left Victoria Park, Charlie Tyson played three seasons at North Melbourne as captain-coach, and later coached Richmond reserves. But he never really escaped the odium surrounding his dumping in 1927 and spent the rest of his life knowing many people believed he had played dead in a grand final. He deserved better.

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Statistics

CFC Career Stats

Season played Games Goals Finals Win %
1920-1926 106 42 11 62%

CFC Season by Season Stats

Season GP GL B K H T D Guernsey No.
1920 16 2 0 22

1920 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 2 Geelong W 0 22 View match >
Round 3 Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Round 4 Fitzroy L 0 22 View match >
Round 5 Richmond L 0 22 View match >
Round 8 Carlton W 0 22 View match >
Round 9 Sydney W 0 22 View match >
Round 10 Essendon W 0 22 View match >
Round 11 Geelong W 0 22 View match >
Round 12 Melbourne W 1 0 22 View match >
Round 13 Richmond L 0 22 View match >
Round 14 Fitzroy L 0 22 View match >
Round 15 St Kilda W 0 22 View match >
Round 18 Sydney W 1 0 22 View match >
Semi Final Fitzroy W 0 22 View match >
Preliminary Final Carlton W 0 22 View match >
Grand Final Richmond L 0 22 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1921 16 3 0 24

1921 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Fitzroy W 0 24 View match >
Round 2 Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 4 Essendon W 0 24 View match >
Round 5 Richmond L 0 24 View match >
Round 6 Sydney W 0 24 View match >
Round 7 St Kilda W 0 24 View match >
Round 9 Carlton L 0 24 View match >
Round 10 Fitzroy L 0 24 View match >
Round 11 Melbourne L 1 0 24 View match >
Round 12 Geelong L 0 24 View match >
Round 13 Essendon W 0 24 View match >
Round 14 Richmond L 0 24 View match >
Round 15 Sydney W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 16 St Kilda W 0 24 View match >
Round 18 Carlton L 1 0 24 View match >
Semi Final Carlton L 0 24 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1922 16 6 0 24

1922 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Richmond L 0 24 View match >
Round 2 Sydney L 0 24 View match >
Round 3 Carlton W 0 24 View match >
Round 5 St Kilda W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 6 Geelong W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 7 Fitzroy W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 8 Melbourne L 0 24 View match >
Round 9 Essendon W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 10 Richmond W 0 24 View match >
Round 11 Sydney W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 12 Carlton L 0 24 View match >
Round 14 St Kilda W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 16 Fitzroy W 0 24 View match >
Round 18 Essendon W 0 24 View match >
Semi Final Fitzroy L 0 24 View match >
Grand Final Fitzroy L 0 24 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1923 13 2 0 27

1923 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Sydney W 0 27 View match >
Round 2 Essendon L 0 27 View match >
Round 4 Geelong W 2 0 27 View match >
Round 5 Richmond W 0 27 View match >
Round 7 Carlton W 0 27 View match >
Round 8 Fitzroy L 0 27 View match >
Round 11 Essendon L 0 27 View match >
Round 12 St Kilda W 0 27 View match >
Round 13 Geelong L 0 27 View match >
Round 14 Richmond L 0 27 View match >
Round 16 Carlton D 0 27 View match >
Round 17 Fitzroy W 0 27 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne W 0 27 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1924 14 10 0 22

1924 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Essendon W 1 0 22 View match >
Round 2 St Kilda W 0 22 View match >
Round 3 Melbourne W 1 0 22 View match >
Round 5 Carlton W 0 22 View match >
Round 6 Sydney L 3 0 22 View match >
Round 9 Fitzroy L 0 22 View match >
Round 10 Essendon L 0 22 View match >
Round 11 St Kilda L 0 22 View match >
Round 12 Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Round 14 Carlton W 0 22 View match >
Round 15 Sydney W 0 22 View match >
Round 16 Geelong L 0 22 View match >
Round 17 Richmond L 0 22 View match >
Round 18 Fitzroy W 5 0 22 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1925 15 11 0 0 25

1925 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Essendon L 0 25 View match >
Round 2 Melbourne W 2 0 25 View match >
Round 4 Geelong L 0 25 View match >
Round 5 Fitzroy W 1 0 25 View match >
Round 6 Sydney W 0 25 View match >
Round 11 North Melbourne W 0 25 View match >
Round 12 Essendon W 1 0 25 View match >
Round 13 Melbourne W 1 0 25 View match >
Round 14 Hawthorn W 1 0 25 View match >
Round 15 Geelong L 0 25 View match >
Round 16 Fitzroy L 1 0 25 View match >
Round 17 Sydney W 1 0 25 View match >
Semi Final Essendon W 1 0 25 View match >
Preliminary Final Melbourne W 1 0 25 View match >
Grand Final Geelong L 1 0 0 25 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1926 16 8 0 22

1926 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Fitzroy W 0 22 View match >
Round 2 Essendon L 1 0 22 View match >
Round 3 Hawthorn W 1 0 22 View match >
Round 4 Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Round 5 Geelong W 1 0 22 View match >
Round 6 Sydney W 1 0 22 View match >
Round 7 St Kilda W 0 22 View match >
Round 8 Western Bulldogs W 1 0 22 View match >
Round 9 Carlton L 0 22 View match >
Round 10 North Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Round 11 Richmond W 0 22 View match >
Round 12 Fitzroy W 1 0 22 View match >
Round 13 Essendon W 0 22 View match >
Round 18 Carlton W 1 0 22 View match >
Semi Final Melbourne L 1 0 22 View match >
Grand Final Melbourne L 0 22 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
Totals 106 42 0
Avg/Game   0.40 0.00
Legend
  • GPGames Played
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • TTackles
  • DDisposals

Key Facts

CFC Debut Number

243

Total AFL Games
144
Total AFL Goals
80
CFC Debut
Round 2, 1920
CFC Last Game
Grand Final, 1926
Recruited From
Kalgoorlie Railways
Full Name
Charlie Tyson

Awards

  • x3
    Team Captain
    1924, 1925, 1926
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