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Albion 8: The Honours list

29 December 2015

Gongs ahoy

WELCOME back to Albion 8.

Christmas is gone - this week is all about the New Year.

In a couple of days we'll find out the New Year Honours list. 

In the meantime, we pick out eight Albion men who all had their meeting with the Queen. 

Sadly, as we could only name eight, it meant there wasn't enough room to fit in Steve Bull MBE. Maybe next time Steve...

So, in no particular order:

Our fine inside forward played in some 239 League games, scoring 56 goals, during a six year period at the back of the 1950s. But it was his glorious career as a manager which probably tipped two significant gongs his way. He was awarded a CBE following the 1990 World Cup Cup - England finished fourth - before being knighted in 2002. Both honours were given for services to football. And rightly so.

One of this nation's finest ever midfielders, Robson began his career with Albion, scoring some 46 goals in 249 outings before making a then record £1.5million move to Manchester United in 1981. Our future manager captained United to the Premier League title, three FA Cups, the European Cup Winners Cup and earned himself 90 England caps. Apart from being named as one of our best ever players in our 125th anniversary celebrations - what more does a man want? - 'Robbo' was awarded the OBE in the January 1990 New Year Honours list. Not bad for a kid once considered to be too slight for a football career. 

Millichip played for Albion's third team  - he scored six goals in one match - before serving in North Africa, Canada, Sicily and Italy during WWII, rising to the rank of captain. Having initially served on the Board, Sir Bert became Albion chairman during the mid-1970s, overseeing our time in the top division and bringing relative success to the Club. In 1981 he was elected chairman of The Football Association, being tasked with the bruising challenge of guiding the sport during a difficult and tragic period. He was elected to the executive committee of Uefa in 1988 and knighted for his services to the game in 1991. 

Ford remains only one of two outfield players - Graham Alexander is the other - to have played more than 1000 games in English football. One hundred and 28 of those came in the stripes of West Bromwich Albion between March 1989 and November 1991. While with Albion he won two England B caps, against Switzerland and Norway. He made his senior debut in October 1975. He was 42 when he kicked a ball in anger for the final time in 2001 - so it's hardly surprising he was awarded an MBE.

Batson spent four years of an 11-year playing career with Albion - a bad knee injury in 1982 ended his career prematurely - but it was his post-playing role as an administrator which raised his profile further. A dynamic figure with the Professional Footballers' Association, Batson has also been a leading figure with the Kick it Out campaign since its formation in 1993 and been a consultant to the FA on equality. He remains an active campaigner against discrimination and racism in football. He was awarded an MBE in 2000, before being handed an OBE in last year's New Year Honours list. He is also President of Albion's Former Players Association.

One of our finest ever No9s, Regis was awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2008. Strong, fast, well-built and blessed with a thunderous shot, he quickly became a fan's favourite in an exciting, attacking Albion side. After leaving Albion he went onto play for Coventry City, Villa, Wolves, Wycombe and Chester, but it was his standing as one of the first black footballers to break through at the top of the English game that ensures his place at our top table. The former electrician - signed by Albion for just £5k - also won five England caps.

What else do you expect for the only man who scored a hat-trick in a World Cup final? As it happens all of England's 1966 XI were to be knighted for that momentous achievement. Yet when he scored that third goal at Wembley, little did he know that, nine years later, he would match that with a dream move to The Hawthorns. Sadly, the 34-year-old Hurst was already on the wane - he scored just twice in 12 appearances for the Baggies.

Before you all rush to tell us we're wrong, it's a little known fact that our former head coach was knighted in 2012. To give it its official title, Hodgson was awarded the First Class of the Order of the Lion of Finland. Who knew beating Wolves 5-1 would lead to such prestige and personal glory...? Or perhaps it was more to do with his standing in Finland, a nation he managed between 2006 and '07? Nah, it was definitely that day at Molineux...

From all of us, Happy New Year

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