Club News

Albion 8: Bomber Brown

Eight things you wanted to know about the Great Man

FEBRUARY 23. It was on this date in 1981 that Tony Brown kicked a ball in Albion colours for the final time. 

He played in the opening 45 minutes of the Centenary game between Albion and Poole, since you ask.

This Albion 8 celebrates the Great Man with eight things you might or might not have known.

* Bomber came to Albion in 1961 - but it almost didn't happen. He came down to see the club at Easter having already decided to join Manchester City, but was asked to play in a practice match at the Vono Sports Ground and scored a hat-trick. He was approached by another scout as he came off the pitch...from Wolves. But by then he had already made up his mind to join us. Wise choice.

* The trademark celebration that we saw so many times (279 times to be exact) was 'stolen' from Denis Law. The Lawman would later be a special guest at the unveiling of Bomber's statue.

* Bomber scored in every round when we won the League Cup in 1966 - he was the first man to do so.

* Brown was our regular stand-in goalkeeper during his spell at Albion - he was forced into going in goal twice during matches, never conceding once.

* He remains the only man to score against father and son while with Albion. He scored against Ipswich's Roy Bailey on his debut in 1963, before netting in that 5-3 win against Manchester United in 1978.

* He was close to joining Crystal Palace in 1975. Don Howe was willing to faciliate the move only for the Board - probably already thinking about replacing Howe - vetoing the transfer. He was to spend six more years with the club.

* Bomber once caddied for his son Paul, who played for Staffordshire county. So how did he do? Paul tells us: "He'd caddy for me and ask what club I should use - I'd say 'Well, it's 108 yards...a 4 iron?' He'd reply: 'Yes, if that's what you think'. So I'd send it way over the back and he'd turn and say 'see Paul, I knew it was a 5 iron!' 

* His first ever experience of the London Underground raised eyebrows back in 2005. The nation was, at the time, under heightened security alert following a series of incidents. Brown travelled with Albion staff to Upton Park via the Tube. Meanwhile, Club photographer Laurie Rampling, who had just got on the train, spotted the Albion entourage, including Brown, at the other end of the carriage.  Without a second thought, Rampling yelled across a crowded carriage: 'BOMBER...HOW ARE YA?' The look of horror on the passengers' faces told its own story.

And on that note, we'll see you next week.