C.H. (Clyde Honeysett) Purnell – Olympic Gold Medallist

C.H. Purnell
C.H. Purnell

England Amateur International Clyde Honeysett Purnell was born on the 14 May 1877 and developed into one of the greatest all round sportsmen ever produced by the Isle of Wight.

He was the son of John and Emily Purnell, his father being an auctioneer and upholsterer in Ryde High Street. The family had sporting inclinations with his brother Jas. B, who was later an Alderman and Mayor of Ryde, playing for and later being on the committee of Ryde Football Club. Clyde’s sporting prowess extended to Water Polo, Athletics, Cricket, Lawn Tennis, Football, Cycling, Tobogganing, Ping-Pong and Billiards for all of which he gained awards. As a youth, Clyde played football for Ryde Rovers along with his brother before moving to work in London where he joined the Olympic Sporting Club. He was elected club captain when only 18. He was a keen cricketer and headed the batting averages of the Olympic Club for several seasons. If it had not been for business ties he would almost certainly have played county cricket. He was the winner of the club’s Pre-eminence Cup on every occasion it was competed for during his seven year membership. He was in the winning team in the City of London Lawn Tennis Shield competition for five successive years up to 1902 and was in the team which won the London Water Polo Shield, being vice-captain of the team. He was the club 100 yards champion for seven years.

Clyde picked up F.A. Amateur Cup runners up medal in 1905, at Shepherd’s Bush, where Clapton were beaten in the Final, 3-2 by West Hartlepool, Purnell scored both the Clapton goals that day.

Two years later in 1907 he won the F.A. Amateur Cup with Clapton and scored in the 6-0 thrashing of Eston United in the final. He went on later that year to gain his first international cap against Ireland.

However, the pinnacle of his football career was when he played for the gold medal winning Great Britain international amateur squad in the 1908 Olympic Games at inside left. The triumphant British team began their Olympic campaign with a 12 – 1 thrashing of Sweden, Clyde scoring four times, Holland were beaten 4 – 0 in the Semi – Final and Denmark 2 – 0 in the Final. Clyde Purnell won 4 England Amateur International caps and played representative football for Hampshire, Middlesex and London once scoring eight times for Middlesex against Berks and Bucks.

Fittingly for a sportsman Clyde Purnell, who worked as a traveller for a firm of sports outfitters, collapsed and died at Folkestone Racecourse on 14 August 1934 aged 57 leaving a widow and a son. The funeral was held at Golders Green Crematorium.

CH Purnell (front row, 3 from left) pictured with the Clapton team that won the Anmateur Cup in 1909.
CH Purnell (front row, 3 from left) pictured with the Clapton team that won the FA Amateur Cup in 1909.

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Clapton FC

This blog contains an anthology of articles featured in Clapton FC programmes and other websites that related to the Clapton Football Club, founded in 1877 as Downs FC.

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