Goals, fog and new stands
ALBION fans, it's that time of year again.
No, not Christmas - that can wait - here is our festive Albion Eight.
Christmas Day classics, Boxing Day beauties and a few others that took place during the season to be jolly.
ALBION 1 Newcastle 0 (December 25, 1956)
Ray Barlow scored the only goal of this Hawthorns fixture. Significance? It was the final time Albion played a game on Christmas Day. The following day Vic Buckingham's men travelled to Newcastle for the return fixture and lost 5-2. But we don't care much for that one.
ALBION 1 Bristol City 0 (December 26, 1994)
A Stuart Munro own-goal settled this otherwise bland and fortuitous victory over Bristol City at a time when Albion merely winning a corner would be cause for celebration. The significance of this occasion was the official opening of the new Birmingham Road End - signifying the first all-seater Hawthorns. The following day we lost 2-1 at Southend - the last time we played back-to-back games over Christmas.
Sheffield Wednesday 4 ALBION 5 (December 26, 1952)
So you've had a few sherries on Christmas Day and you really cannot be bothered to do anything. Shall we go to Hillsborough? Nah..it'll be a boring game. Ninety minutes later, Albion claim the points in a nine-goal thriller. Two own-goals and one each from Ronnie Allen, Ray Barlow and Johnnie Nicholls ensure the victory. Missed it? Not to worry, they meet again tomorrow at The Hawthorns...oh, Wednesday won 1-0.
ALBION 2 Chester 0 (December 26, 1992)
Paul Raven didn't score many during his 250+ games for Albion. But on this day he scored twice. Sadly, hardly anyone saw it. Heavy fog descended over The Hawthorns, meaning only the fans at the Smethwick End of the stadium got to see the goals. The rest just cheered because the others did.
Wolves 0 ALBION 8 (December 27, 1893)
Remember those scenes when we knocked in five at Molineux under Roy Hodgson? Well this was even better. Albion smashed eight, without reply, with Roddy McLeod and Billy Bassett each scoring a hat-trick. Charlie Perry and Owen Williams, making his debut, also scored. One wonders what the natives made of it all...
ALBION 4 QPR 1 (December 28, 1996)
It was 12 goals in three games at The Hawthorns for Albion. Richard Sneekes, Andy Hunt, Paul Peschisolido and David Smith did the damage, giving fresh hope for a prosperous 1997. Sadly not - we lost 2-1 at home to Tranmere on New Year's Day and Alan Buckley was sacked a few weeks later. Humbug.
Manchester City 1 ALBION 1 (December 28, 2004)
No shots, one goal. This game gave feint hope. Falling behind to a Nicolas Anelka goal, Albion looked set to lose yet again...only for Richard Dunne to send his pass-back past a flat-footed David James. Rob Earnshaw desperately tried to claim it, but to no avail. Irrespective, 1-1, and one point, was good enough for us come May.
Manchester United 3 ALBION 5 (December 30, 1978)
Quiz question Albion fans: What did Tony Brown achieve on this day that no other Albion player had done before or since? Answer: He became the first Baggies player to score goals past father and son - having scored against Gary Bailey's dad Roy in the 1960s*. This is arguably Albion's most famous win. Bomber's two were complemented by Len Cantello, Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis. The scoreline would have been even greater had it not been for the brilliant Bailey.
(*Kevin Phillips also achieved this against the Schmeichels, but he wasn't with Albion when he scored against Peter)
See you soon.
Oh, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!