20 Things you never knew about WBA

In the August 1995 issue, FourFourTwo magazine printed the following useless bits of trivia...

  1. The factory workers who founded the club in 1879 didn't have a ball and they couldn't find one. So they had to go to nearby Wednesbury to buy one

  2. West Brom went on a short tour to China in May 1978, and won all four games in front of crowds totalling nearly 250,000. One player, asked if he wanted to see the Great Wall, is reputed to have replied, "If you've seen one wall, you've seen them all"

  3. Eric Clapton wore an Albion scarf on the sleeve of his album Backless. But the world's greatest white blues guitarist recently turned down an invitation from fans to stage a benefit concert for the club

  4. Manager Jack Smith took West Brom to promotion in 1948, and Vic Buckingham (1954) and Alan Ashman (1968) both led the club to Wembley victories. All three reached these dizzy heights in their first full seasons in the job

  5. Charlie Perry played in Albion's first four Cup finals and his brother Tom played in the fifth when Charlie was injured

  6. The Hawthorns is the highest ground above sea level in England! The other fascinating fact about The Hawthorns is that it was the first British ground to use electronic turnstile counters. Wow

  7. Ron Saunders managed both Albion and Birmingham in 1985/86 and both teams were ultimately relegated. West Brom won only four games over the whole season ... and their reserve team went down as well

  8. Ronnie Allen, a small but nippy England international forward who had his best days with Albion, scored in every single one of the first 20 seasons after World War Two. He later had two spells as the club's manager

  9. In November 1931 Bill 'Ginger' Richardson scored four goals in a five-minute spell for the Baggies as they won 5-1 at West Ham. On the same day, in a reserve team game, Jimmy Cookson scored seven as West Brom thrashed Liverpool 10-0

  10. West Brom have met Wolves ten times in the FA Cup and lost just once, in 1949, when Wolves went on to win the Cup

  11. Manager Jimmy Hagan once provoked defender Don Howe into leading a players' strike. Hagan was famous for upsetting his players: in his first managerial job at Peterborough, seven players had demanded to be put on the transfer list. At The Hawthorns, the players found Hagan's training routines boring. One winter morning, Howe and other players refused to train unless they were allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms. The team went on strike. Once peace had been restored, Howe left the club anyway

  12. Jesse Pennington captained Albion to their one and only championship season, 1919/20. Then in his 38th year, he was nearing the end of a career in which he played more than 500 senior games at full-back - and didn't score a single goal

  13. Goalkeeper Norman Heath missed the 1954 Cup final victory after damaging his spine, in a league match, so badly that he never played again. His deputy Jim Sanders had been invalided out of the RAF during the war, having narrowly escaped death when his bomber crashed

  14. Full-back George Shaw played in West Brom's two Cup finals in the 1930s and remained active as a player-coach with Floriana of Malta until he was almost 50. He is thought to be the last England international born in the 19th century ... and for some reason he was nicknamed 'Teapot'

  15. Albion manager Ron Atkinson paid an English record fee of 516,000 for Middlesbrough's David Mills in 1979 who played only 55 senior games and had his career ended by a car crash

  16. In 1978/79 West Brom played 76 matches in various competitions; defender John Wile played in 75 of them

  17. Goalkeeper Hubert Pearson was picked once for England, at the age of 37, but missed his opening through injury. Only nine years later his son Harold, who had followed him into the Albion side, gained his one and only cap, aged 24

  18. In 200 senior games for Albion, Irish centre-half Jack Vernon scored just one goal - on Christmas Day 1948. Vernon, who stood 6ft 1in but took only size 5 boots played for Great Britain against Rest of Europe in 1946

  19. Fred Everiss spent 46 years at the Hawthorns (1902/48), as assistant secretary, secretary/manager and secretary - and for 35 of those years, Albion did not sign a single Scots-born player

  20. Graham Williams, Albion's skipper in the 1968 FA Cup final, is one of the few Welshmen to captain a winning team at Wembley. He later coached a club inside the Artic Circle, Rovaniemi, in a town known throughout Finland for it's sleigh trips to see Santa Claus

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