Charles Chenery’s house

Who is the only man to have played in the first three England internationals? The answer is Charles Chenery. He lived here at No.4 Thicket Road, in Anerley.

He is the most capped player and all-time leading goal scorer for the first Crystal Palace FC.

In 1871, he was living here with his parents, three brothers, three sisters, aunt, cousin and their cook, housemaid and parlour maid.

Aged 22, he was selected for the first England-Scotland game in November 1872. The match in Partick finished 0-0 and Chenery was praised in the press for his splendid dribbling.

He was picked again in March 1873 when the teams met at Surrey’s Oval and the forward scored the fourth goal in a 4-2 win.

His player profile in the 1874 Football Annual read: “Amply sustained the reputation he has earned in recent years, and has contributed not a little to the many successes of his club.”

A year later, Chenery won his third and final cap in England’s 2-1 defeat to the Scots in Partick.

He represented Surrey and London, and when not playing for Palace, he made guest appearances for the Wanderers and Barnes.

Charles CheneryChenery (pictured) played for Crystal Palace Cricket Club and 13 first-class matches for Surrey County Cricket Club between 1872-73. In a match against Gloucestershire in 1872, he got out off the bowling of the legendary WG Grace. He also appeared for Northants.

He was an excellent all-round sportsman, competing in the sprints, high jump and steeplechase for London Athletic Club.

Chenery is the earliest known contemporaneous international football diarist. He maintained a diary between January 1, 1874 and June 19, 1875. The entries cover football and cricket games including his final England game against Scotland in 1874.

The solicitor emigrated to Australia in 1878 where he worked on his uncle’s farm.

Palace had three other England internationals.

Alexander Morten made his England bow as captain in a 4-2 win over Scotland at the Oval in March 1873. Aged 41, Morten is the oldest player to make an England debut and he remains his country’s second-oldest player ever behind Stanley Matthews.

Arthur Savage was capped for England in their 3-0 loss to Scotland in March 1876, aged 25.

Charles Eastlake Smith was CPFC’s final captain and he won a call-up to the England side for their clash with Scotland in March 1876.

His daughter Gwendoline Eastlake Smith was a major tennis star, winning gold for Britain at the 1908 Olympics and twice reaching the semi-finals of Wimbledon.