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BOWLER’S DELIVERY: We’ll drink to that

26 October 2016

Pardoe & Doyle and Albion’s professionals

Following on from last week, where we gave a little insight into the video version of the Download Albion archive project, this week we’re giving a taster of the written word.

Devotees of Albion News – and if you’re not, you should – will have become familiar with the “A History of Albion in 100 Objects” series, but for those of you yet to see it, here’s a glimpse of the kind of thing you’re missing…

59, 60 & 61. DOUG FRASER ALBION TRACKSUIT, ARTHUR MANN MANCHESTER CITY SHIRT, TONY BROWN RUNNERS UP TANKARD, LEAGUE CUP FINAL 7 MARCH 1970

Albion’s last senior cup final, receding into the distance now, more than 46 years ago, when probably the two best cup fighting sides of the age – us and Manchester City – went head to head on a Wembley pitch better fitted for growing potatoes than playing football. 

Going into the game, across the previous four years, we’d won both FA Cup and League Cup, reached another final and had an FA Cup semi-final to boot. City meanwhile had collected the league title in ’68, taken the FA Cup from us the following year and were on their way to carrying off the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1970. These teams were serious players.

They deserved better when they got to Wembley, for the usually pristine surface was a quagmire, snow and ice banked up around the pitch, cleared away following some horrendous late wintry weather. Had it been any other game, it would have been postponed but such were the logistics of a cup final – and the fact that the1970 season was ending in mid-April because of the imminent Mexico World Cup – it simply had to be played.

Both sides wore their second choice kit, Albion in the same white strip that we’d worn in defeating Everton in 1968, City in their striking cup final issue red and black stripes, as shown here by Arthur Mann’s shirt – the late, lamented Mann later worked at The Hawthorns of course as assistant to Alan Buckley in the 1990s. 


THE KING: Jeff Astle gives Albion the lead at Wembley in 1970

Walking out onto Wembley, we were resplendent in special white tracksuit tops, bearing the throstle emblem on the left breast. Doug Fraser led his men out, captaining the side after Graham Williams had been replaced at left-back by Ray Wilson. It was Wilson who helped open the scoring, slinging a long, diagonal cross into the box five minutes in, Jeff Astle rising above Joe Corrigan to nod home.

It stayed that way until the second half when following a corner, Doyle popped up to drive a loose ball past John Osborne, sending the game into extra-time. The unappealing and chaotic prospect of a replay loomed until Francis Lee, thundering through the mud, got in a cross that was helped on to Pardoe who hooked the ball over Osborne from six yards out, the ball bouncing just over the line before running out of steam on the lifeless turf. City’s cup.

Up the famous 39 steps we went to collect our loser’s tankards, going up there after the trophy had been presented unlike the order they keep these days. While Tony Book and his men were cavorting with their silverware, the Albion men, including Tony Brown, slunk back to the dressing room with their tankards in hand. At least they’d come in handy for drowning the sorrows later on. 




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