On the origin of the species
As you are hopefully aware, work on the Download Albion archive project is well under way and that has included undertaking all manner of research such as ferreting out old newspaper cuttings and the like.
One such, from the Western Daily Press on Valentine’s Day 1902, has offered up some fresh learning on the origins of the club’s throstle nickname.
“The Black Country hardly suggests itself at sight as the home of such sweet songsters, but they do say that, even to this day, the fields round West Bromwich in due season resound with the sweet notes from our feathered friends.
“And so when Mr. Tom Smith, an enterprising gentleman, endowed with an infinite capacity for taking pains, was afflicted with the football fever, and became the general secretary for the West Bromwich Albion club in 1884, his pretty wit suggested the crest for the organisation which took the form of a throstle perched on the crossbar of a goal. The idea so seized the fancy of footballers that the term “Throstles” soon become a recognised synonym for the Albion players.
“In 1892, when the Albion and Aston Villa met in the final tie for the English Cup, a Birmingham tradesman in the early morning exhibited a dead throstle in his window. But he was evidently a man of resource, for when the Albion triumphed, there was substituted a representation of a living throstle, standing on John Devey, the Villa captain, taking the cup from his hands”.
Now there’s an image for the ages…