Baggies bits and bobs
WELCOME Albion fans for another instalment of Baggie Shorts.
Today we discuss fixture congestion, poetry, suits and ask why Paddy Mulligan didn't pursue a career in modelling.
Over to you...
KITMAN Jacko Smyth is today celebrating his birthday. The big Five 0 since you ask.
But the fun doesn't end there, with the Irishman being challenged by Craig Gardner to sing at tonight's pre-match first-team get-together.
Yet that won't be happening, as Jacko has something else in mind.
Our resident Dubliner has decided to turn to poetry, with a verse about each one of the players.
When asked whether we could see a copy of the finished sonnet, we were told in no uncertain terms that it wouldn't be suitable for a family audience.
Which is a shame, but Baggie Shorts can't help thinking Jacko is missing a trick. We'd like to think that had our birthday boy decided to take up Gardner's challenge he could have serenaded his colleagues with that well-known Fiddler On the Roof ditty "If I were a kitman..."
Whichever side comes out on top on Saturday, they’ll be off to Wembley for the semi-final – heresy you understand, heresy – and you can bet they’ll be kitted out in fancy club suits for the day. How times have changed.
Back in 1968, when Wembley was used for the final alone, the Albion headed down for their appointment with Everton, staying in a hotel in Selsdon, near Croydon.
Club suits there were none, the players left to their own devices and so it was that Jeff Astle and Tony Brown headed into town, looking for a new bit of clobber.
Flinging open the doors of the nearest gents outfitters, in strode the number nine, making a beeline for the nearest assistant.
"Jeff Astle, West Bromwich Albion and England. Do I get a discount...?"
If only the shop assistant knew what was to follow a few days later.
We are all aware that a draw at Villa Park on Saturday could cause fixture chaos, but frankly, three home games in a week at the start of April is nothing (although try telling our Albion News editor Dave Bowler that).
Draw back the veil of time to 1912 – that’s proper chaos. On March 30, we drew 0-0 with Blackburn in the FA Cup semi-final and replayed four days later, winning 1-0. In the intervening 17 days before the final itself, we played four First Division games, but this was just a picnic. Have a look at what happened after that.
20 April – FA Cup Final – Barnsley – 0-0 after extra time
22 April – Everton away – lost 3-0.
24 April – FA Cup Final replay – Barnsley – lost 1-0 after extra time.
25 April – Blackburn Rovers away – lost 4-1.
26 April – Bradford City home – 0-0.
27 April – Sheffield Wednesday home – lost 5-1.
29 April – Oldham Athletic home – 0-0.
Ten days, seven games, two FA Cup finals, two periods of extra time.
Someone fetch the smelling salts for Monsieur Wenger.
And finally, following the wonderful image we posted recently of Brian Talbot eating a whopper, we've decided to run No.1 in a regular series called 'Random Photos We Love'.
Today, we go back to 1975 as Paddy Mulligan models our new training range. And doesn't he look smart?
And on that cheery note, we shall see you again soon.