Former Chatham Town player George Massey dies aged 99
George Massey, front
left, with the Chatham Town team in 1936
The oldest surviving player of
Chatham Town FC has passed away, just weeks away from turning
George Massey, who was due to
celebrate his centenary in April, has died after a short
Mr Massey, of Suffolk Avenue,
Rainham, helped Chats mark its 130th anniversary last year. He was
guest of honour at the commemorative match in October and shared
his memories for a piece in the Medway Messenger at the time.
He told the club’s community
officer, Mike Green, he enjoyed every minute of playing for the
Mr Massey, who was born in Medway
in 1913 and spent all his life in the area, joined Chatham Town in
1935 when he was 22. He played right half and stayed at the club
until the Second World War broke out.
Speaking last year he said: “We
used to play in front of between 1,500 and 1,700. A lot of them
were relations as there wasn’t any money about in those days and
there was nothing else to do.
“Chatham were a marvellous club to
be involved with and I enjoyed every minute of it. I won four
medals while I played for Chatham and I was courting at the time
and had them made into a bracelet for her.”
Mr Massey remained a huge football
fan throughout his life and would always been on the side-line when
his son and later his grandson were on the pitch
When his own playing days ended, Mr
Massey coached at local schools including The Howard School in
Rainham. With him at the helm, the team won the Medway five-a-side
championship; the Kent Championships at Ashford and the South of
The side they beat in the final
included a 14-year-old Alan Curbishley who went on to play for
England and manage Charlton Athletic and West Ham.
When Curbishley came to Rainham for
a book signing, Mr Massey went along and spent an hour talking to
him. A signed copy of Curbishley’s book was something Mr Massey
Mr Massey played his last game of
football when he was 80. He had gone to watch his grandson Simon
play in a dad verses kids game at Medway Boys FC.
The dads were a player short so he
volunteered. Within 10 minutes of being on the pitch, he had
Mr Massey was a regular customer at
the Star Grill Cafe in Rainham, which he visited every day.
Last year he celebrated his 99th
birthday there with all his family, including his two children, his
three grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
He described the low-key
celebrations as “the best birthday party I have ever had”.
His son David said: “I asked him
where he wanted his birthday party and he insisted we held it
He added: “Everybody thought dad
was wonderful. He was a true gentlemen; always saying ‘thank-you
dear’ even at the end to the nurses in hospital.
“He was a character on the
touch-lines and a lot of people will remember him from their
Dave Massey, with George,
George Massey Jnr, Simon Massey and Tracey Crouch MP at Chats 130th
Mr Massey’s funeral will be held at
St Margaret’s Church, Rainham, on Friday, March 8, at 3.30pm. All
Family flowers only. Donations can
be made to the Salvation Army, though John Weir funeral directors.
Call 01634 373111.
Chatham Town FC will be dedicating
their next home game to Mr Massey, on Saturday, March 9. They will
be inviting his family along and holding a minute’s applause before
kick-off at the Maidstone Road ground.
Mike Green, from the club, said: “I
met George when he was guest of honour at our 130th celebrations
last year. He was a wonderful man with lots of wonderful memories
of the club.
“George was centre of attention
that day and he loved every minute of it. I really enjoyed spending
time with him, he livened up my whole day.
I knew from his family that George
hadn’t been well, but it was a tremendous shock to hear that he had
"On behalf of the whole club I
would like to send his family our deepest and most sincere
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