Questions and Answers about WBA FC

Here's where we try and answer some of the questions that people always ask about us. As you'll see, definitive answers are sometimes rather hard to come by - especially for some of the things that have been going on for many years. If you've got some information you want to add, or some questions you want to ask, just Contact Us Here's the list so far:

Why are we called The Baggies ?

And why the "Albion" bit at the end ?

Why do we always get knocked out of the Cup by minnows ?

Where and how did "Boing-ing" originate ?

Why do we call Wolves "The Tatters" ?

Why do we also call Wolves "The Dingles" ?

Why do we call Villa "The Seals" ?

What's the music we play (or used to play) before games ?

Where can I get hold of West Bromwich Albion videos ?


Why are we called The Baggies ?

One of the most commonly asked questions about West Bromwich Albion. Originally, and up until around the Eighties, our "official" nickname was the Throstles, but it then changed to the unofficial one that had already been in use for many years. But read on and you'll find that nobody seems to have a definitive answer as to why...

From Tony Matthews, Official WBA FC historian:

"Most people imagine WBA are nicknamed the Baggies because of the Baggie shorts they wore in their period of glory around the turn of the century, but baggy shorts were worn for many years before fans started calling their team by this nickname.

"When the club was formed in 1878 it was known the The Albion. In its first 22 years the teams was based at five different grounds around West Bromwich before settling at The Hawthorns in 1900. The new ground bought with it the team nickname The Throstles, the Black Country word for Thrush, commonly seen in the hawthorn bushes from which the area took its name.

"In its early days The Hawthorns had only two entrances, one behind each goal. On match days the gatekeepers would gather up the takings at each end and be escorted by policmen along the sides of the pitch to the centre line where their was a small office under the stand. The gate money, mostly in pennies, amounted to a considerable sum and was carried in large cloth bags. It wasn't long before some wag in the crowd started shouting "here come the bag men!" at their appearance in front of the main stand, and this developed into a chant of "here come the Baggies!", giving the team its unnofficial nickname"

However, as Mick Jones points out, in "The A-Z of Albion" Tony gives some alternative reasons for the nickname:

  1. A corruption of 'Magee' - a popular full back in the 20's. Unlikely, since Baggies was in use in the 1900's

  2. The name of protective trousers factory workers used in the area

  3. From supporters who took bags (baggies) round to local pubs to save the club from extinction in 1905

  4. When the club was nearly bankrupt in the 1900's, a number of the larger players left to have not only their shoes, but their kit filled by smaller players. 'Spotting their voluminous drawers, a wag in the crowd is supposed to have shouted 'up the Baggies'.. the rest is history

  5. Former club secretary Eph Smith gave his explanation in a Throstle Club News as going back to 1904 and a stocky back known as Amos Adams. 'His thickness of hips made his baggy pants look even more huge, and one day when he was not playing well, a fan shouted 'Baggy'. Albion and Adams recovered quickly, the name stuck.'

Dave Morgan has a copy of a booklet, issued by the Club in 1950 to celebrate 50 years at The Hawthorns, which mentions the first possibility described above as follows:

Signed in the Trenches

It was in 1918 that a stocky little 18-year old Lancashire lad from Widnes signed a league form for the Albion while actually in the trenches in France. Previously a Rugby player, he had only taken up soccer while in the Army, but he played it to perfection. He first appeared in the Albion's League team as inside right to Claude Jephcott, then took the latter's place after his first injury and eventually became a right half back, in which capacity he, like Buck, and McNeal, completely disproved the theory that the best halves are big 'uns. He gained an International cap and a Cup Winner's medal and it is said that the Albion nickname of "Baggies" is derived from a corruption of Magee, pronounced like "Maggie".

From Will Mann:

One of the most plausible explanations I have heard for our unusual nickname appeared in the sports section of The Independent on Sunday a few years back, when the sports section ran a 'Questions and Answers' page. Someone wrote in asking why West Bromwich Albion were called the Baggies, and (presumably) an Albion fan wrote back to say that the name actually stems from the fans. In the early days of the club's history, many of the supporters worked in the local ironworks and because of the intense heat, tended to wear very loose, baggy clothing. Since most of them would go straight to the match after work, it resulted in a very oddly attired bunch standing on the terraces at the Hawthorns, and led to the nickname of 'Baggies'. Has anyone else come across this one?

Yes - well, nearly, says Dave Neale:

I've just read another explanation for where the term The Baggies derived, courtesy of "The Baggies" newspaper. They take their story from an explanation given by Joe Stringer, described as a "walking compendium of Albion history" in 1963:

"The name Baggies was given to Albion's ironworker fans by Villa supporters [our traditional rivals, NOT Wolves] over 60 years ago. They used to put on their moleskin trousers on Saturday afternoons, with belts worn instead of braces, and periodically they would give a sailor's hitch to their unmentionables when they began to sag over their boots. When Albion and Villa clashed at the old Perry Bar Ground (pre 1897) large numbers of Albion fans walked to the game. The ironworkers kept together in groups many of them with their trousers at three quarters mast, and when near the ground, they were greeted with cries of `Here come the Baggies of Bromwich'"

The newspaper then goes on to note: All labourers in the Black Country wore trousers from a thick material called `duck'. When new, it was snow white, but with frequent washing went a dark hue. When repairs were necessary, at knees and back, the dark trousers were repaired with snowy white `duck'. This gave a bulky appearance to the patch, so labourers with these patches were generally called Baggies, as they looked like flour bags, and hence the taunt from Villa supporters back in the last century

There is, however, no truth in the slanderous accusation made by some of our local rivals that the name "The Baggies" comes from the team choosing to play in blue and white stripes after seeing them on a Tesco's carrier bag.


And why the "Albion" bit at the end ?

Albion is, of course, an ancient name for Britain, but by that logic all teams would be called something or other Albion. As it is, there's only us. Oh, and Brighton & Hove Albion. And Burton Albion. And Witton Albion. And up in Scotland there's Albion and Albion Rovers. So why do we have that bit on our name?

From Dr Bryn Jones:

I defer to the experts on this one. However, there is an old foundry district of West Bromwich which predates the club and used to be called 'Albion' - it may still be on some maps. It's a reasonable guess - though only a guess - that the original players just took the name from there; either because some came from that district, or just because it sounded impressive.

From Stephen Webb:

As I understand it (and I may misunderstand it) back in the mists of time we used to be the WB Strollers, until a time before the turn of the century when many of our players worked on the Albion industrial estate. So we changed the name. This might be utter crap of course. Or I might just have got it wrong.


Why do we always get knocked out of the FA Cup by minnows ?

We don't. Some years we get knocked out by much bigger teams than Woking, Halifax, Leyton Orient or Crewe, as shown by this list of teams responsible for our demise since last winning the trophy:

1968/69Leicester City
1969/70Sheffield Wednesday
1970/71Ipswich Town
1971/72Coventry City
1972/73Leeds United
1973/74Newcastle United
1974/75Carlisle
1975/76Southampton
1976/77Manchester City
1977/78Ipswich Town
1978/79Southampton
1979/80West Ham
1980/81Middlesbrough
1981/82QPR
1982/83Tottenham Hotspur
1983/84Plymouth Argyle
1984/85Leyton Orient
1985/86Sheffield Wednesday
1986/87Swansea
1987/88Wimbledon
1988/89Everton
1989/90Aston Villa
1990/91Woking
1991/92Leyton Orient
1992/93West Ham
1993/94Halifax
1994/95Coventry City
1995/96Crewe Alexandra
1996/97Chelsea
1997/98Aston Villa
1998/99Bournemouth
1999/00Blackburn Rovers
2000/01Derby County
2001/02Fulham
2003/04Nottingham Forest
2004/05Tottenham Hotspur
2005/06Reading
2006/07Middlesbrough

Where and how did "Boing-ing" originate ?

From Glynis Wright:

Two theories exist:

  1. A local lad heard a record by a Dutch group [Rotterdam Termination Source] called "Poing!" and took such a shine to the tune and lyrics, he arranged to have it played in a local disco, where it caught on, accompanied by the jumping and flailing arm-movements we all know and love. This was subsequently imitated by the Brummie (at Orient of all places!) and it grew from there.

  2. This peculiar mode of celebration was first unveiled as a charity fund-raising publicity stunt about four seasons ago, at half-time at a home game. Only difference was it was called the 'Baggie Bounce', various minor celebs took part, including the one and only Jeff "Yes, I can sing" Astle. The object of the exercise was to bounce up and down for a set period of time, at the expiry of which, a largish sum would be raised for charity. Again, the Brummie were taken by this mode of propulsion, and imitated said movements in subsequent games.

Unfortunately, 'Boinging's only really effective when stood on the terraces: in these days of all seaters it loses some of its impact (you'll see what I mean if you watch the video of the play-off second leg v Swansea). Incidentally, did you know that the club were so concerned about the effect of mass boinging on the structure of the old Brummie Raod End they called in experts from Birmingham University to measure the effect of such gyrations. This came about because the tea-ladies complained that every time a goal was scored, and the Brumie started boinging, the vibrations were transmitted through the concrete and on to every moveable structure in the tea-bar; everything 'came out in sympathy' as it were. And that's the gospel truth - honest!

From Gideon "Slater" Beddows:

I went up to Hull to watch the Baggies (Bradley won it with a cross/shot from 30 yards out, I recall) and it was bitter cold, we weren't winning (surprised?) and we were a bit bored. Everyone started jumping up and down and shouting "Come on you Baggies, Come on you baggies" *really* quickly - as quick as you can say it, this was the birth of the Boing. And let no-one tell you different - I was there.

and Martin Jamieson agreed:

......yep, I'll confirm this - I was there too. Although as I remember it, we WERE winning. We scored in the first half, Hull equalised with a minute to go, and then Bradley's fluke (??) dropped in to give us an injury time win. Either way up, that was DEFINITELY the birth of the boing. And it was BLOODY cold.

while John Bayliss reckons:

Boinging originates from an innocent remark made by Malcolm Boyden on WM when,as a reporter on one of our games, he said 'the Baggies are boinging their way to promotion' (in 1993). The Brummie Road took it up,and the rest is history.


Why do we call Wolves "The Tatters" ?

From Glynis Wright:

This is a bit difficult to explain, there are subtle nuances implicit in this sobriquet for Wulves supporters, which locals understand but outsiders might not. In the Black Country, the term 'Tatter' means someone who earns his/her living collecting and selling to scrap merchants bits of copper, brass, lead etc. As these items are usually acquired under somewhat dubious circumstances i.e. a midnight 'visit' to local factories, for example, the term has come to mean someone who's little better than a common thief, slightly 'infra dig', if you get my drift.


Why do we also call Wolves "The Dingles" ?

This is, sadly, meaningless to anyone who's never seen Emmerdale Farm (sorry, it's just "Emmerdale" nowadays, of course). To anyone who has, it will be blindingly obvious. The Dingle family are a bunch of fat, ugly, pig-ignorant thieves and petty crooks who live in a slum and do nothing but cause trouble. Any resemblance between them and the good people of Wolverhampton is completely intentional and not our fault whatsoever, honest.


Why do we call Villa "The Seals" ?

From Simon Wright:

The name was coined by Mike Thomas, then Treasurer of WBASC, who witnessed Villa supporters in the old wooden stand (Trinity Road) clapping at arms length, stamping the wooden floor at the same time while shrieking in a falsetto voice "Villa!". This reminded him of a seal (or probably more likely a sea lion but the distinction was lost on us then).

The name took off and a whole mythology built up around fish and beach balls. Reserve games between Villa and West Brom at Villa Park were great fun for many years - they don't like the rip being taken out of them....


What's the music we play (or used to play) before games ?

Well, there's been a bit of an assortment over the last few years. The reggae record that used to get played before kickoff was "Liquidator" by the Harry J. All-Stars, but it got removed from the play list because of complaints that the chanting that went along with it was likely to provoke disturbances. For a while, it was replaced by "Jump Around" by House of Pain, which featured lyrics such as "I never eat pork cos a pig is a cop" - clearly far more acceptable to the authorities.!

We also sometimes play a piece of classical music - the one that they used to play during the Old Spice advert. It's called "Oh Fortuna" and it's from the opera Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. Apparently one of Denis Smith's last actions as manager was to suggest that we tried to Spice up the players' entrance onto the pitch by playing something a bit more uplifting than we did previously. He was inspired by the excellent PA at Sunderland where they play a section from Romeo and Juliet, followed by Republica's "Ready To Go" - and everyone who's visited the Stadium of Light has come away impressed. Unfortunately, at the time, the manky PA system at The Hawthorns meant that the plan didn't worked quite as well...

With the completion of the new East Stand, a new system was been installed and the whole programme of pre-match buildup music was been overhauled. We started to use a couple of dance tunes to run out to - for the first half we used "Insomnia" by Faithless, which was out as a single a few years back and is available on the album "Reverence". The one we run out to in the second half is "Sandstorm" by Darude, which was also a hit a couple of years ago. You might still find it available on a single somewhere, but the best place is probably a compilation album of dance tunes.

The pre-match music has also had a further overhaul recently, featuring tracks by Fatboy Slim ("Right Here, Right Now"), Iggy Pop ("Lust for life"), Jet ("Are you gonna be my girl"), Doves ("Pounding") and The Hives ("Hate to say I told you so"), all of which should be pretty easy to find in your local record shop or lurking somewhere on-line.

Thanks to Warren for adding:

Liquidator was released on the great Trojan Records label, and they still operate and publish a huge back catalogue of vinyl and C.D. You'll have no problem getting hold of a copy of the "The Liquidator". Trojan can be found at:

Trojan Records
Twyman House
31-39 Camden Road
London
NW1 9LF
0171 267 6746


Where can I get hold of West Bromwich Albion videos ?

The Club Shop stock a number of assorted videos, including season highlights, and can also supply videos from most home games. In addition, there is a video exchange site run by Gareth at www.btinternet.com/~wbafc/

Many of the videos stocked by the club shop are produced by CB Video, who can supply recordings of most Albion matches and provide a worldwide shipping service.

You might find the odd video in your high street stores, but they're pretty rare - even in the Midlands...