3 April 1924
5 June 2012 (aged 88)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 18y 43d
Last game: 32y 39d
Height and weight
Height: 169 cm
Weight: 87 kg
Footscray: 26, 6
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
As captain of the first Footscray side to win a V/AFL flag, Charlie Sutton enjoys a unique place in football folklore. Hard and not always fair as a player, he made a significant contribution to his club's 1954 Grand Final defeat of Melbourne when, after famously enjoining his players to 'concentrate on the ball and let me handle the rough stuff', he unceremoniously flattened three key opponents during the early moments of the game to put the Redlegs on the back foot right from the start.
If the Sutton name, along with that of Ted Whitten senior and Doug Hawkins, is today regarded as synonymous with the Footscray Football Club, it was not as if the former Spotswood junior always had things his own way. During the early stages of a league career that commenced in 1942 he found it hard to hold down a senior place. Tried both as a centreman and a rover, he played well on occasion, but lacked consistency, and it was not until switched to the last line of defence after the war that he came into his own. Tenacious and determined, his tearaway dashes out of the backline were a trademark feature of the Footscray style of play for more than a decade. He was also a regular Big V representative, donning the famous navy jumper with a white vee on 18 occasions, and captain-coaching the state team in 1952. His Australia-wide reputation was emphasised with selection in the prestigious 'Sporting Life' Team of the Year on four successive occasions from 1948.
Footscray's best and fairest player in 1948, Sutton captain-coached the side from 1951-6, and was non-playing coach for part of the 1957 season before being replaced by Ted Whitten. Ten years later, the tables were turned after Whitten handed over the coaching reins to Sutton, but in two seasons in charge the hero of '54 was unable to recapture past glories.
In 2002, when the Bulldogs named their official 'Team of the 20th Century', nobody would have been surprised to see Charlie Sutton's name entered in a back pocket slot.
Author - John Devaney