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GRAHAM LOVETT 1947 - 2018

10 May 2018

It is with great sadness that Albion today heard of the passing of Graham Lovett earlier this morning at the age of 70.

Graham will be forever identified with the Class of '68, the most recent Albion side to have carried off the FA Cup when they defeated Everton 1-0 at Wembley Stadium.

Joining Albion straight from school, Graham was a hugely promising, immensely powerful wing-half - so promising that he made his debut aged just 17 in a 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea on December 5th 1964.

He properly established himself in the Albion team the following season, playing 47 times, scoring four goals, and playing in the first leg of Albion's League Cup final victory over West Ham United.

That form continued into the 1966/67 campaign but was cruelly ended just before Christmas when a serious car accident left him in hospital with a broken neck and fears that he would never play again.

So serious were his injuries, he was still in his hospital bed when he watched the 1967 FA Cup final along with a family friend who said to him, "Don't worry Graham, you'll be there next season".

So it proved on May 18th 1968 when in a display of total faith from manager Alan Ashman and in only his ninth appearance of that season, Graham was given the key role of shackling Everton's world class, attacking left-back, Ray Wilson.

But the fates remained unkind to Graham and in the summer of 1969, he was involved in another car crash when his vehicle was hit by a bus, travelling on the wrong side of the road, in Quinton. This time, he suffered a collapsed lung, broken ribs and a broken thighbone.

Bravely he fought back once more, but this was too great an injury even for a man of such imposing mental and physical strength. Although there were more Albion appearances to come, particularly in a sustained run in the side in 1970/71, he couldn't quite recapture that majesty in his play.

He had a brief spell on loan at Southampton in November 1971 before being released by the Albion in the summer of 1972, after 157 games and nine goals, along with the little matter of two cup wins.

He dropped into the non-league game and eventual retirement. After spells living abroad, Graham returned to the UK and became a regular at The Hawthorns and at various club dinners and functions over recent times.

Unfailingly cheerful, with never a trace of bitterness over what might have been had the fates been kinder, Graham Lovett stands as a true giant of this football club, a foundation stone from the past, broad shoulders upon which the future stands.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Rest easy Graham.


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