Club News

Ten things you probably didn't know about Bomber

Think you know everything about Tony Brown? Maybe not...

WE'VE celebrated his goals, enjoyed his games, listened to his commentary, but there are some things you might not know about Tony Brown.

Here is a 10-point guide to some of Bomber's hidden facts.

1. Bomber, disillusioned with life under Don Howe, almost moved to Crystal Palace in 1975. The Albion boss approved the move, only for the club's directors - perhaps already thinking of a managerial change - to over-rule the decision. Had he left, Bomber's vital stats would have read 535 appearances and 220 goals. That would put him third, behind Ally Robertson (622) and John Wile (618) in terms of appearances and third, behind Ronnie Allen (234) and WG Richardson (228) on goals scored.

2. Not only was Bomber a brilliant footballer but also Albion’s greatest ever keeper. Well, statistically anyway. He stepped in between the posts three times (v Sheffield United Res, Manchester City and Blackpool) . . . and never conceded. 

3. In 1978, Bomber became the first man in English football to score versus father and son during a career. Bomber's first-ever goal came on his debut against Ipswich Town goalkeeper Roy Bailey in 1963. Fifteen years later, Bomber scored twice against his son Gary in THAT 5-3 win against Manchester United.

4. Bomber is synonymous with the No.4 shirt but he didn't actually wear that number until Albion's 3-2 victory against Southampton on March 27 1967. He made his debut, back in 1963, in a No.8 shirt and wore every number between 6 and 11.

5. Was he always first choice? Even great players have their form dips. Bomber's first League substitute appearance didn't come until the final game of the 1972/73 campaign, against Birmingham City, and he was also a sub in Albion's 2-0 League Cup victory over Ipswich three years earlier.

6. Referee Ray Tinkler was to become synonymous with Bomber's career. The Lincolnshire official took charge of Albion's game at Ipswich when Bomber made his debut. He was also referee for Albion's 2-1 infamous, riot-strewn victory at Leeds. He retired in 1976 and his final game? Albion's promotion-clinching 1-0 win over Oldham – secured by a Bomber special of course.

7. Bomber remains the only Albion player to score a hat-trick in European competition. His treble came against DOS Utrecht in the 1966 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. The Fairs Cup was one of 10 competitions Bomber scored in. He also netted in the First Division, the Second Division, the FA Cup, the Uefa Cup, the European Cup Winners Cup, the League Cup, the Watney Cup, the Texaco Cup and the Tennants Caledonian Cup.

8. He scored in every round of the League Cup in 1966 - including a hat-trick in the semi-final second leg at Peterborough and the second leg of the final, a 4-1 win against West Ham. Bomber was the first to score in every round of this competition.

9. Bomber was given two testimonials - his first was in 1975, a combined Albion/Villa XI vs a Blues/Wolves team. The second was a friendly against Jamaica in 1999, with Albion's side including Bryan Robson and John Barnes.


10. Bomber took 61 penalties during his career, successfully converting 51. Manchester United's Alex Stepney was the keeper on three of those failed 10 occasions. But former Albion team-mate Bob Ward was less fortunate. Then with Blackpool, Ward remembered that Bomber liked to blast his penalties down the middle. Bomber was wise to this - as Ward stood still, awaiting a thumping spot-kick, Bomber placed his kick to the side of the ex-Albion man. It was the only ‘placed’ penalty of his career.