THIS week’s extract is from Halfway There, our season long trawl through Albion’s 20 FA Cup semi-finals. Come with us, back to 1978 and a meeting with Ipswich Town…
Albion went into the game at Arsenal’s Highbury as pretty warm favourites, but this was to be a day where if it could go wrong, it was going to. It started with Ron Atkinson being suckered into going to Wembley for the BBC’s Football Focus lunchtime preview, having been told that Robson was doing likewise. The wiser old head chose to duck the invitation leaving Ipswich to watch the Albion boss at the national stadium as they had their pre-match meal. Team talk delivered…
Even so, Albion still had he firepower to win it, but this was a day when too many red hot talents simply froze. Perhaps they were in a state of shock for in the ninth minute we were behind and our captain was left a bloodied mess on the turf, John Wile and Brian Talbot having a sickening clash of heads as both flung themselves at a Mills cross, Talbot getting there a fraction earlier and heading into the roof of the net. Talbot’s race was run but after four minutes of treatment, Wile returned with bandages over a gaping wound that opened up time and again through the game, smearing his shirt, the ball, everything in his path, Wile a raging, warrior figure desperately trying to galvanise his Albion side.
The full feature will be published in this Saturday's Albion News, the club’s magazine that just happens to come out on matchdays and Astle Days - now on sale at more locations than ever.
You know it makes sense.