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Finches Videos

edited July 2008 in General Charlton
There was some discussion about Finches videos on a thread a few weeks ago. This is my part in the saga.

Back in the old days, Bill Finch ran a new and used furniture emporium in Forest Hill. Bill used to be friendly with the Charlton directors and placed adverts in the Charlton programme, offering 10% off for any Charlton fan producing the match programme. Bill used to employ University drop outs and vagabonds, such as myself, in the vain hope that one of us would turn out to be a half decent salesman. Bill’s son, Frank, a good buddy of mine eventually persuaded his Dad to let him run a sports shop, instead of the new furniture shop, which today is still running successfully.

Bill enjoyed photography as a hobby and when video technology first appeared bought a video camera. About this time, Lennie Lawrence was appointed as manager of Charlton and requested a match video, so Bill volunteered his son, Frank, a solid Millwall fan, to do the task.

Frank and his lovely wife Angela started videoing the games at the Valley but then the operation switched to Selhurst Park when the Valley was closed down. Angela ended up doing most of the videoing because Frank wanted to be in his shop on busy Saturdays. I volunteered to be the ‘leg man,’ carrying the heavy equipment up and down the gantry at Selhurst. There was the camera box, tripod, two videos and a mixing box.

Frank would drop the microphone down below the gantry, which was under the Arthur Waite stand to pick up the noise of the crowd. Then he would put the team alterations into the match programme and video the programme for a few seconds. Then we would wait for the teams to run out and start filming.

It was a great view from the gantry. I used to do some filming to give Angela a break but you couldn’t make a noise when we scored a goal. On Lennie’s request, the camera would sometimes pan back to pick up the defence positions but mainly you focused on keeping the ball in the middle of the screen. Frank said we never missed a goal.

During the games, a copy of the match video was made. Lennie got the original and Frank would then run off copies of the copy for people who ordered a video. The quality was not great because it was taken from the copy not the original video. I recall that Robert Lee’s Mum always bought a copy when her son played.

When Frank and Angela went on holiday they left the equipment with me and I think it was on these occasions when I filmed alone that the video went black and white with no sound! I was never very technical but I don’t think Lennie ever complained.


  • I still have those, must have been you filming some of the dodgy wobbly shots
  • Cool story - I think I saw one or two of those videos, I don't remember the B&W ones though...
  • Remember seeing one that was covering a cup match at Selhurst, Walsall I think, where the camera catches a ball boy falling off a wall while retrieving the ball and you could hear the camera operator and the Arthur Waite stand pissing themselves laughing.
  • The Finches were a very unique family of entrepeneurs...great characters and Addicks through and through.Nice to have met their aquantance.
  • what a great story, cheers for that
  • got a number of the videos. Used to drive over to Forest Hill just to buy them when they were available a week or so later. Quality's crap but they are still great. Particularly remember a high scoring game v Watford, 4-3?, excellant.
  • i have them too, seem to remember the last season went all technical with the screen turning into different shapes etc
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