Club News

Albion mourn former Chairman

Minute's applause for Club President John Silk at today's game

ALBION are mourning the loss of Club President John Silk LLB, who passed away yesterday morning, aged 89, after a short illness.

Mr Silk was appointed as a Director in 1984 before serving as Chairman between 1988 and 1992. He succeeded Sir Bert Millichip as Club President in 2003.

Albion will hold a minute's applause in memory of Mr Silk shortly before kick-off at today’s game with Newcastle (ko 3pm). Flags at The Hawthorns have also been lowered to half-mast as a mark of respect.

Chairman Jeremy Peace said: “John was very proud to be Club President and took his duties very seriously.

“Until his illness, he was a constant presence at home and away matches. Notably, he was in attendance for our 2-1 win at Old Trafford in September.

“John was a quiet but very honourable man and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

Below is a full tribute to Mr Silk’s time at Albion, written by Publications Editor Dave Bowler.

JOHN G SILK LLB (1924-2013)

John Silk became the 15th Chairman of West Bromwich Albion when he succeeded Sid Lucas in August 1988. He founded local law firm Silks Solicitors in 1953 and followed his brother Tom, who was tragically killed in an air crash in 1980, onto the Albion board in 1984.

John’s elevation to the role of Chairman came with Albion at a low ebb. It was his job to try to bring stability to what were tumultuous times. The Club were in financial difficulties, having already sold their Spring Road training ground, and had to contend with rapidly falling attendances plus relegation to English football’s third tier for the first time.

Despite these difficulties, John restored comparative stability to the Club’s finances, although the drop in status inevitably meant difficult decisions had to be made, including the sale of Don Goodman towards the end of 1991. The seeds for the Club’s recovery were sown the following January when John sanctioned the £300,000 purchase of Bob Taylor.

John stepped down as Chairman at the end of the 1991/92 campaign and was replaced by Trevor Summers. He left the club in a healthier financial state than when he was appointed Chairman, allowing it to continue through the nineties before flourishing into the Barclays Premier League club it has since become.

John’s association with the Club continued thereafter and he was made Club President – succeeding the late Sir Bert Millichip – in early 2003. John remained a committed supporter of the Club, regularly attending both home and away matches, and his sad passing marks the end of an era at the Football Club.