Standing six feet tall, inside left Charlie Flood would have cut an imposing figure as a footballer, just as he would have done as a soldier in the Royal Garrison Artillery. Flood was released from his Army service in July 1920 to become a professional footballer at Hull City and the early signs were promising as he scored in each of his first two starts in September 1920. After a period in the reserves manager David Menzies restored Flood to the first team in March 1921 and he kept his place for the rest of the season on the strength of six goals in five starts during late March and early April.
At the start of the 1921/22 season Menzies was gone and new manager Percy Lewis took charge. Lewis placed his faith in Flood, who played in all but the last two fixtures of the season. Charlie was City’s top scorer with 17 strikes – after opening his account in the season’s second game against Nottingham Forest, Flood had scored 13 goals in 25 starts by the time he scored both goals in a January 1922 2-0 win against Port Vale – he then added further braces against Leicester City in March 1922 and Coventry City in April 1922. By the end of the season Flood had built a fine reputation as a goalscorer and refused a new contract with City, electing instead to exploit a free transfer clause and join First Division side Bolton Wanderers.
Charles William “Charlie” Flood was born in the Hunny Hill district of Newport on the Isle of Wight. His Irish father, who died when Charlie was just 7 years of age, was a laundry manager at the Army’s nearby Albany Barracks. By 1911 Charlie was working as a printer’s labourer and making a name for himself as a decent footballer and cricketer. He joined the British Army’s Royal Garrison Artillery in December 1914 and served as a professional soldier for six years. He saw service during World War One in Malta, Italy and Greece and scored goals at a remarkable rate while playing in forces football. In March 1919 Flood, who had risen to Bombardier, returned to England and was posted to Citadel Barracks in Plymouth – within a few weeks he was playing in friendly games for Plymouth Argyle. In the 1919/20 season Flood was allowed to share his soldering duties with playing in the Southern League for Plymouth, he made five starts and scored three goals against Exeter (twice) and Brentford. His demobilisation in July 1920 preceded his move to Hull City.
Flood joined Bolton Wanderers in May 1922, chosen at centre forward he scored in his first two top flight games against Preston North End and Oldham Athletic. After failing to score in six subsequent appearances Flood was dropped by Bolton and in January 1923 he moved to Division One rivals Nottingham Forest. Restored to the inside forward positions, Flood was immediately a regular starter at the City Ground and netted three times in the last three months of the season. For the next two seasons Flood remained a first team regular as Forest struggled at the foot of the Division One table, succumbing to relegation in May 1925. Charlie was a less frequent presence for Forest in the 1925/26 season as they consolidated in Division Two and reached the FA Cup Quarter Finals, but Charlie did play in both Sixth Round ties against his former club Bolton, who prevailed after a replay.
In August 1926, while on the Nottingham Forest transfer list, Flood was allowed to join Midland League side York City. In six months at Bootham Crescent he crashed in 17 goals, which encouraged Swindon Town to pay the £800 fee demanded by Forest for Flood’s services. Having made precisely 100 senior appearances for Forest and scored 21 goals, Flood added only eight further appearances and three goals during a season and a half at Division Three South side Swindon. His final two goals came in a March 1927 against Brentford, the team against which he scored one of his early goals for Plymouth eight years earlier. By April 1928 Flood was hospitalised with a stomach complaint that required surgery, which ended his footballing career.
Flood was also a prolific cricketer who first played for Hull Cricket Club as top order batsman and wicketkeeper in the summer of 1920. He served the club every summer for over 20 years, turning out for the first eleven until 1939 with time off for recovery from operations at the start of the 1928 and 1939 seasons. He even played cricket in Argentina during the winter of 1930 and led the Hull batting averages in 1932. Charlie continued to play for Hull CC during World War Two and after suffering more serious illness during the hard winter of 1947 he returned to first XI action one final time in the summer of 1947 before hanging up his wicketkeeper gloves. When his football career drew to a close Flood returned to live in the Hull area, working as a furniture salesman and living in Kirkella. He remained in the West Hull villages for the rest of his life, coaching at Hull CC during the 1960s and eventually dying in Willerby in November 1978.
Date/Place of Birth: 18 July 1896, Newport
Hull City First Game: 11 September 1920, Bristol City H (Division Two), 24 years, 55 days old
Hull City Final Game: 22 April 1922, Barnsley H (Division Two), 25 years, 278 days old
Plymouth Argyle (1919-1920), Hull City (1920-1922), Bolton Wanderers (1922-1923), Nottingham Forest (1923-1926), York City (1926-1927), Swindon Town (1927-1928)
Hull City Record
Career: 56 apps, 25 goalsCharlie Flood