Want to know who you might end up rubbing shoulders with in the stands? Yeah, you could come to a match one day - and later on, be in the pub saying "I bumped into Frank Skinner earlier, and he said...." like you're old mates. Gosh.
Last update: 30 October - thanks to Peter Watkins for info on himself, John Day for writing about our new fans in the tennis world, John Day and Chris Lepkowski for more on Brian Walden, John Day for info on Dave Wakeling, Ranking Roger and Floella Benjamin, Angie White for more info on Nick Holder, Ian Jones for info on Michael Jones and Mick O'Brien for the correction to Andy Cox and David Steele.
Probably one of the best known Albion fans in the entire universe, famous for TV shows, making Statto a star, superbly disgusting standup comedy, dealing with heckling Wolves fans and making THAT legendary hit record. When asked by a member of the audience how he felt now that Albion had been promoted to the Premiership, Frank thought for a minute and said "Does the phrase 'Dog with two dicks' mean anything...?". Marvellous.
Another much loved comedian, Lenny used to be good friends with a lot of the players back in the days of Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis. He worked an anti-Villa theme into his spoof on Michael Jackson's Thriller video ("They look like they're fans of Aston Villa" was the line, accompanying a shot of a group of zombies clutching claret and blue scarves). More recently in his Chef sitcom-type-programme, he delivered a line along the lines "I'm 35...I like shopping, and sex...and I support West Bromwich Albion". Lenny also appeared in a drama documentary about a drugs rehab centre that ran a football team, based on a team from Glasgow but set in Dudley, presumably to incorporate Lenny and his accent. There's a fine line in it when Lenny's footballing ability is questioned, and he responds with "Oy, I had trials with the Albion, me". Glynis Wright, of Grorty Dick fame, claims that she once shared a car with Lenny on the way to an FA Cup game at Everton, and proof doesn't come much more definite than that.
The comedian and actress is very strong Baggies supporter, and wrote in the Sunday Mirror that she grew up in Cheshire Road, Smethwick, that her family still live there and that when she is not working she will phone them to get tickets to watch her beloved Baggies play.
The thespian, comedian and queen of improvisation comes from Old Hill. She presented a two part programme for Radio 4 on comedy in the Black Country in 2002, and all her family are Baggies fans as well.
Andy Robinson, an "up-and-coming" comedian, recently - well, a few years ago now, I guess - toured with Jo Brand and is signed to the same management company (they also look after Jack Dee and Lee Evans). His style is a bit Skinner-esque, and he's had been tipped for big things in the future...but seems to have faded into oblivion since being listed here. Erm, moving swiftly on... local comedians Tommy Munden and Ray Hingley are also Baggies fans.
Floella Benjamin OBE
The former presenter of Play School, among others, now runs her own production company and is also chairperson of BAFTA, the film and television organisation. Although born in Trinidad and brought up in South London, BOING reader John Day recall a number of occasions in the past where it has been mentioned that she is a Baggies fan.
The heart-throb actor and pop star, who found fame as Chris the combat-trousered mechanic in Coronation Street who shagged everything in sight, is a keen Baggies fan and bears more than a passing resemblance to 'keeper Alan Miller. Come to think of it, I've never seen them together... He was interviewed on the Big Breakfast wearing an Albion shirt, and much of the conversation with Richard was about Our Boys. Now a star of the Hit Parade, Matthew gave young Albion fans a chance to win his own signed Albion shirt on sm:tv with Ant, Dec and Cat (see below) - but I expect it probably went to some ungrateful Man United fan in Kent or somewhere...
Britain's favourite smutty comic film star, made famous by the "Confessions..." series, always made sure he got an Albion pennant into his films somewhere. Peter Hunt, purely in the interests of research, took on the task of watching a whole bunch of them just to make sure. That's dedication for you!
Albion fan and journalist Chris Lepkowski once got chatting to a fellow Baggie on the way to a game at Loftus Road - turned out it was Nick Holder, the actor (not "Mick" as we previously thought - sorry!) Nick has appeared in TV programs such as London's Burning and Eastenders, and has also played parts in a number of adverts - such as the one for Dulux where a girl on a bus cuts a piece out of his yellow waterproofs because she likes the colour. Nick's grandfather actually played for Albion, although his father didn't follow the same way and played for Coventry City. Nick is also quiet an experienced stage actor, having played Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Lyceum Theatre and Luther Billis in South Pacific at the National Theatre, as well as parts in Sweeney Todd and The Wind in the Willows at the National Theatre, The Beggar's Opera and Antony and Cleopatra with the Royal Shakespeare Company. A while back, Nick told us excitedly that he was going to be appearing as a series regular on the relaunched daytime BBC medical soap "Doctors".
Many moons later, Nick's run in the series has come and gone and he's now gone on to even bigger things - his face has become known to many as "The Big Dollop", star of a series of commercials for Hellmans Mayonnaise, and he's had a role in the film "Sex Lives of the Potato Men" with Johnny Vegas and Mackenzie Crook. Just like Albion - onwards and upwards!
We've long known that someone who acts in ITV's The Bill is a Baggies fan and finally, thanks to Podge, we know his name. Ged is a lifelong Albion fan, who was born in Oxhill Road, Handsworth and supped his first beer in The Uplands, and he plays D.I. Cullen (the ginger, inscrutable one) - who seems to be on a mission to get his Albion coffee mug in as many shots as possible! Given the accents, it's hard to imagine there are many other Baggies in the cast...
Ged now has his own web site, Cult Of Cullen run by an Aussie, Kerr Avon, who describes it as "not a fan site as such, more a way of life". Visit it to find out more about Ged, his love of Albion and *that* coffee mug. Latest news coming via Podge is that, not content with acting and shouting nonstop at Albion games, Ged has now dipped his toe in the literary world with his first novel, The Gravedigger's Story. According to Podge "it has (a) nothing to do with football, (b) nothing to do with policing in Sun Hill, and (c) probably little to do with digging graves in Handsworth Cemetery. I don't know, as I haven't read it yet, so it might well be a pile of shite! Fay Wheldon likes it apparently, but again I wouldn't like to say if that's good or bad." It's published by IMP Fiction and available for £7.99 or less.
The comedian and game show host was a big Baggies fan, and had his photo taken at the Hawthorns in the mid 1970s with his favourite players, Tony Brown, John Wile and Ally Brown.
MTV Presenter and now on the Saturday morning show fronted by Ant and Dec. Baggies fan Martin tells me that she comes from a family of gold and black wearing types, so all credit to her for seeing the error of their ways and following the path of righteousness [have I spelt that right?]. Didn't stop her turning him down when he asked her out though. Unlucky, mate!
Roving reporter and occasional presenter of Channel 4's Big Breakfast, originally comes from Bromsgrove
Remember the Golden Shot? Bernie The Bolt? Well, the girl who always added up the scores wrong was a Baggies fan. Aah, memories...
The legendary and late TV gardener was once featured as Albion's Celebrity Supporter when we won the show "Quiz Ball" sometime back in 1967 - according to Haydn Thompson, who remembers it better than I do (I was only five, after all...)
Famous not only for his robust political interviewing skills but also for his very unique voice, the well-known politicial presenter and former Labour MP used to have his own Sunday lunchtime programme on ITV back in the late 1970's/early 1980's. John Day recalls that on the Friday evening before the 1984 F.A.Cup final between Everton and Watford that Brian was a guest on a live television chat show on ITV called 'The London Weekend Show' (a lighthearted news/gossip programme covering London and the South-East) and was chatting to one of the presenters - Danny Baker (yes, the Millwall Danny Baker!) and Brian proclaimed that he was an Albion supporter and had been since he was a young lad. Although he's not been on T.V. for a number of years, and despite reaching the age of 72, he is still working regularly in the media - he currently has his own programme on BBC Radio 4 every Friday and Sunday called 'A Point of View' and has a column in the BBC News Magazine each Monday.
The former Radio One nightime DJ is a lifelong Baggies fan, while her producer Ian "Bones" Jones was a Wolves fan. Needless to say, they two spent a great deal of time winding each up - like Charley saying Bones was a QPR fan just after we stuffed them a few years ago...
Strangely, the legendary Hacienda DJ is a Baggies fan. Dave wrote the book "Manchester, England" about the '80's rave scene up there.
One of the most famous names in the world of rock, Eric used to live with his grandparents who were keen Baggies. Eric played a concert for skipper John Wile's testimonial year back in 1982 and draped an Albion scarf across his guitar on the back sleeve of one his album "Backless". However, he's kept his distance of late, possibly because Albion may have snubbed his rumoured offer to invest in the club some time ago, and is believed to be more interested in Chelsea these days. Suggestions have been made that his interest in Albion at the time of Regis, Cunningham and Batson was only a means to deflect some accusations of racism that had been levelled against him, and apparently the scarf on the album cover belonged to one of his band. Shameful stuff indeed.
Despite being a London boy through and though, Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood revealed a surprise affiliation to the Baggies in the March 2003 edition of JACK magazine. His brothers supported Albion when he was young, and he confesses to still having a soft spot for them. “West Bromwich Albion (were) very big in the Fifties. It’s a bit like my boys now supporting Arsenal and Chelsea”.
Another rock legend, the drummer with the Electric Light Orchestra (aka ELO) and others often used to sponsor Albion matches in the seventies and eighties.
Andy Cox and David Steele
Guitarist and bassist of the Fine Young Cannibals (and their spinoff band Two Men, A Trumpet And A Drum Machine). Baggies fan Richard Mace spotted them at the Charlton and Crystal Palace games, thought he recognised them, and went to ask them to make absolutely certain. Mick O'Brien then pointed out that we'd got their first names the wrong way round. Sorry, lads!
Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger
Noticing the inclusion of Andy Cox and David Steele above got John Day into thinking that they were both former members of the ska/ 2-tone group 'The Beat'(who originated from Birmingham) who had many well-known hit records back in the late 1970's/early 1980's. As a big fan of theirs, John is pretty sure the two lead singers were also Albion fans - and recalls seeing a picture of them posing in Albion shirts for a photo on The Hawthorns pitch many years ago!!!. Dave still performs and is now in a group called 3 Men + Black (which includes Pauline Black, formerly of 2-Tone Beat label-mates The Selecter) and Roger has re-formed The Beat with some of the original group and some new members.
Drummer with popular beat combo The Charlatans, Jon is a regular visitor to the Hawthorns when not tied up with touring or recording commitments - according to Brummie Road regular Tracey Elliot. But speaking on a recent Radio 5 programme about the FA Cup, Jon admitted that he had only been to a handful of games since Albion reached the Premiership, one of them being the debacle at Watford.
Well, most of the legendary Midlands Metal Merchants at least - bassist Ian Hill and guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton (who had to be with a name like that, really!) Ian tells me he gets to the ground as often as he can when the band's not on tour, taking son Alex and daughter Letitia along - Letitia was one of the mascots for the "100 Years at the Hawthorns" do last year. Furthermore, his maternal great, great granddad was George "Darkie" Timmins who played in midfield for the Baggies in their first F.A. Cup win in 1888, so he can claim three generations of Baggies heritage before even being conceived!
"WHOOOO?" is what you may well be saying - but Albion nut John Mainwaring founded the David Bowie tribute band Jean Genie in the early 90's and they've been touring and recording ever since, gaining an excellent reputation among Bowie fans. John himself has been recording for many years, and can even boast a Number One hit - in the Lebanon and Israel, with a cover of Tom Jones' legendary song, "Delilah". Jean Genie have just recorded "Astle Is King" - a tribute to the great Jeff Astle, and are donating a portion of the sale price of each CD to the Astle Memorial Fund. Click to find out more about about Jean Genie and John himself
The bassist with Eighties soul/pop band Dexy's Midnight Runners, who've recently reformed to record and tour with new material and have done a new recording for Top of the Pops. Pete will be sharing vocal duties on the tour with main front man Kevin Rowland - but avoid him, he's a Dingle!
Mattie the drummer from now-defunct pop trio Dodgy is reckoned to be a fan. Bassist and vocalist Nigel, though also from Redditch, holds a more questionable status as a Baggie (and may have switched to someone like Chelsea after finding fame and fortune and streets paved with gold and so on...). Guitarist Andy is from down South anyway so he's excused. But be warned: avoid members of Slade and Pop Will Eat Itself - they're mainly Tatters!
A source we haven't managed to name yet told us excitedly "You've forgotten Neil Phillips !!" [Whooooo?] "He may not ring any bells with you [indeed] but he's a legend on the rock 'n' roll scene. Fomerly of The Yo Yo's (top ten Album in America, no 1 in Japan), and last I heard, he was playing in B Movie Heroes, who are always in the likes of Kerrang, etc. I've sat behind him twice in Halfords lane this season, and my sister has been seeing him up there for a few years before that." So now you know.
John McEnroe and Goran Ivanisevic
We read on the official Albion website a month or so ago that tennis greats John McEnroe and Goran Ivanisevic are both Albion fans - having been introduced to the Baggies by Albion fan and Stella Artois media manager David Law. Apparantly Goran is hoping to visit The Hawthorns for a match this coming season.
David promised both John and Goran an Albion shirt each with their names printed on the back if Albion stayed up last season and David duly obliged as both John and Ivan proudly displayed their shirts after they arrived at the Queen's Club for the Stella Artois Challenge Match on Sunday 12th June 2005. Good to know that two of the most famous names in tennis have now been converted to supporting Albion!
Former, and now once more European middleweight boxing champion, Richie watches the Baggies at every opportunity. When competing, his shorts have the Albion Throstle on the side and he often gets his ringside team to dress in Albion tracksuits or other regalia. Richie regularly features in matchday programmes and at Albion events and recently showed off his title belt to a hugely enthusiastic crowd before the home game against Middlesbrough
Rising star of the England cricket team, the demon bowler admitted recently to being a lifelong Baggies fan and happily chatted to the large number of Baggies fans who attended the England test matches over in Australia last year
Let it not be said that we ignore minority sports in our quest for Baggie achievers. Sam, the current Welsh National Croquet Champion, is a season ticket holder in the Brummie Road end.
A past issue of FHM has a feature on the England soccer team chef. It reads "Roger Narbett has cooked for the England football team at away matches since 1989. He is head chef at the Lygon Arms in Broadway, Worcestershire and supports West Bromwich Albion"
Former tennis player, now a BBC commentator; she and her husband apparently used to support Villa and Albion but switched exclusively to the latter when Villa got relegated years ago. Wondering why they're still with Albion? Me too...
Former Speaker of the House of Commons and Member of Parliament for West Bromwich East. Two seasons ago, at the home game against Charlton Athletic, Betty presented Albion with a cheque from the Football Trust to help fund some of the ground redevelopment and was nearly sent flying by a miskicked ball from Lee Ashcroft during the warmup
The Liberal Democrat MP for Northavon (near Bristol), and their Shadow Secretary for Social Security, he was brought up in Great Barr and used to go to Dartmouth High school in Sandwell, before studying at Oxford and moving South. Take a look at Steve's web site (or should that be "Webb" site - arf) at http://www.stevewebb.org.uk. He might just be the only Baggies fan to be listed in "Who's Who". Unless, of course, you know better...
Proving the cross-party support for Albion in the Houses of Parliament, the Labour MP for Dudley South is also a fan. Well, he'd have to be to get elected there, of all places, wouldn't he?
We've long been convinced that many people in the media world are Baggies fans, and they don't come much more God-like than Will. As Chief Executive of BBC Broadcast he's responsible for EVERYTHING they transmit - yeah, even the likes of Noel's House Party - and he's not averse to dropping by and taking a look to see what we're up to. So Will, how about fitting regular re-runs of that 5-3 win over Man Utd into the schedules, then? Better than most of the bilge served up these days...
Development Producer for BBC Broadcast Online, Juliet claims to be an Arsenal fan but after confessing deep admiration for the BOING Web Site it's just a matter of time before she sees the light. Actually, it was Juliet who told us about Will Wyatt - I hope she didn't get the wrong end of the stick and he turns out to be a fan of West HAM...
Nicknamed "Baggie Boyden" because of his devotion to the club, Malcolm used to be the regular reporter for WM on match days until the station manager at the time - Tony Inchley - asked him to do a summer Sunday lunchtime show "just until the football's back on again". Malcolm never looked back, and although his career has taken him away from football, he still remembers with a smile the days when the crowd chanted "Boyden, Boyden give us a wave" from the terraces. Find out more about Malcolm at The Boyden Web - the first ever unofficial Malcolm Boyden Website by Rob Hanson.
BBC Radio 5 Live radio presenter and now "star" of BBC TV's Watchdog programme, Adrian used to be on the sports team of local station Radio WM. Adrian recently gave the Suits@Shepherds Bush campaign a plug, waving his Albion scarf and saying how the Barmy Army would become the Barmy Armani for a day. Now is it me, or is Adrian Goldberg the long lost twin brother of Ben Elton...?
Another Radio 5 Live presenter, this Adrian also presents the BBC programmes Working Lunch and Computers Don't Bite. He has often referred to West Brom in various reports in his shows; one such report on collectables had a picture of Jeff Astle in the background, while another one on the Internet actually had the BOING front page displayed on one of the screens behind him. Made us right proud, it did... A fan of this web site, Adrian was even spotted at the recent Albion - Wolves derby game munching on a pack of BOING Bon Bons!
Presenter of BBC 5 Live's Drivetime show and previously the Breakfast show (and Adrian Chiles' other half). She recently confessed on air to presenting her first ever radio show in a pair of West Brom Knickers! (One presumes she was wearing something else as well - but who knows) And to think, I didn't even know you could get West Brom knickers...
Adrian and Jane recently gave birth to a baby girl (born on the 18th December) - we wish them all the best in their attempts to boost our attendances!
Up and coming TV presenter Mark, formerly radio commentator with Capital Gold, is a Baggie - as is younger brother Chris. So much of a Baggie, in fact, that he's even played for our very own BOING FC Internet side. Of course, now that he presents Central Sports Sunday (as well as other ITV bits and pieces) he's far too famous to kick a ball around....
The BBC journalist and producer has worked on a load of programmes about football, and the Black Country, for Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live - including The Sack Race - The Story of Football's Gaffers and was co-author of Football Confidential 2: Scams Scandals and Screws up. His latest programme, presented by Garth Crookes, is a feature on the "Three Degrees" (Batson, Regis and Cunningham) which will air on Radio 4 on Monday 8th September at 11:00.
Other media people...
Mailing list contributor Paul Flower of Birmingham independent radio station BRMB (formerly of BBC WM) wished to exclude himself from the list on the grounds that he's "off the air" at the moment. You'll have to do better than that, mate!! Also of BRMB/Capital Gold Birmingham is Head of News Robyn Dangerfield. Tim Beech of WM is also a fan, and used to sit in gloom with Paul while listening to the results and trying to be cheerful to the listeners at the same time (and probably still does...) Paul Franks is also an Albion fan, though he seems to be reluctant to admit to it on air - but he does now write for the matchday programme. Tom Ross, Head of Sport at Capital Gold Birmingham, while not being a Baggies fan - he's a fully committed Bluenose - is a member of the BOING mailing list and takes a keen interest in Albion. Mike Hollis, formerly of BRMB, is now a presenter on Saga - 105.7 FM - but has a slot so late at night that it's actually early morning. And last of all, media dogsbody and part time BOING Bon Bon saleswoman Kerry Davey, who used to work behind the scenes at Capital Gold one day then sneak onto BBC Hereford & Worcester the next, demanded to be included because, erm, well, she just did. She now works full time for BRMB behind the scenes on marketing and stuff.
A very successful and well known children's book writer, Allan grew up around Oldbury. Some of his best known titles include Each Peach Pear Plum, Peepo!, Burglar Bill, Cops and Robbers and the Jolly Postman. No, I can't say I've read any of them, though...
Financial editor of the Daily Mail, Jeff has often mentioned West Brom in his articles and his book "Jeff's Lunchbox" contains many stories about his trips around the country following the blue and white stripes. A long time Grorty Dick subscriber and occasional contributor.
Racing journalist who writes for Raceform, does racing articles for the Zoobet sports site (his stuff usually appears there around noon each day), and author of several books on racing, he often plugs the Baggies despite many painful experiences over the years (like THAT Cup game against Exeter...). Lawrence joked that I should add him because he's much prettier than Frank Skinner. Now, I mean, no offence, like - but who isn't? :-)
Dorothy Lepkowska, Education Correspondent for Mirror Group Newspapers, is a season ticket holder in the Brummie Road End and vice-chairman of the London Baggies supporters club. Her brother, Chris Lepkowski is also a fan and covers Albion for the Evening Mail and Sports Argus. Ben Mottram, editor of the Worcester Standard is another Baggies fan as is David James, editor of the Black Country Bugle. Former Daily Mirror Pools tipster Peter Watkins has followed the Baggies for 47 years and is a cousin of 1968 Cup-winning skipper Graham Williams.
Michael 'Hedgeman' Jones
Michael achieved fame both nationally and internationally from the series "Neighbours from hell" - a phrase which he claims to have invented! He and son Ian are season ticket holders in the East Stand. Check his web site for details on what made him the neighbour from hell - it's a long story involving hedges and ended up in a law suit and even changes to the law itself.
Last and, possibly, least...
That Aussie bloke off Top Banana. So Mike Fennell reckoned, anyway. Eddie Jones actually remembers him once presenting a Player of the Month award at the Hawthorns. Maybe it's him we had to thank for once featuring three Aussies in our back four. Er... thanks.
Anyone we've forgotten? Anyone who you know that ought to be on here? Are you a celebrity Baggie that's miffed at being left off? Drop me us a line through the Contact Us page and we'll put it right. But beware - we don't put just anybody on this page.
Actually, errrm.... yes, we do.
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