London’s oldest football club has turned back the clock 90 years to fondly remember the loyalty of its captain.

Sid Ware, of Hayfield Road in St Mary Cray, was a striker for Cray Wanderers in the 1920s and urged by three rival clubs – Bromley, Footscray Social and Sidcup – to join them.

He turned them down and stayed with the club in a five-year spell that saw him score 75 goals.

The Crays would face one of them, Bromley, in a Kent Senior Cup tie in January 1929 and won 4-1 in front of around 2,000 fans at Fordcroft.

Although his side would win, Sid was injured in a tackle with another player and suffered a fractured pelvis that forced him into a premature retirement.

A benefit match was staged against London University in March 1929 where nearly £20 was raised, or roughly £200 today.

In the programme notes, it said: “Mr SE Ware requires no verbose eulogy, for he can be described adequately by five words – a thorough sportsman and gentleman.”

A later tribute added: “A harder-working, more lion-hearted player [has] never laced a boot.”

Sid had recovered from pneumonia while recuperating in Cray Valley Hospital and, in a speech of thanks at the Black Boy Hotel, said that doctors had assured him he had made a ‘wonderful’ recovery.

He also serviced in the armed forces and in 1941 was awarded the Certificate of Merit for his gallantry in directing first aid rescue after an enemy bombing raid at 55 Broadway in London.

Sid was with the 43 Battalion, a division of London Transport, and has been described as a ‘loyal and lion-hearted Wanderer indeed’.

The full story of Sid Ware is told in the new book, The Best of Cray Chatter, which has been published by the club this month.

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