A sad day for the football club was further compounded by news of the passing of Ken Hodgkisson earlier today.
Born in West Bromwich and a pupil at George Salter’s, Ken could not have been more steeped in Albion lore when he joined the Throstles as an amateur in 1949, turning pro the following year.
A versatile player who could fill any of the three inside-forward slots, Ken was unfortunate enough to come through at the point where those shirts were generally filled by Reg Ryan, Ronnie Allen and Johnnie Nicholls of the celestial “Team of the Century”.
Nonetheless Ken made his debut in a 1-1 draw at Villa Park on April 7th 1953, playing the last five games of the season and scoring three times. He opened the next season in Ryan’s absence but scored once in five outings and from there, struggled to ever hold down a regular place again.
He left in December 1955, having scored four times in 21 games, the last coming in a 2-0 win at Bolton Wanderers on November 5th that year. He joined Walsall in bizarre fashion – no fee was paid, the deal subject to him being free to return to The Hawthorns on seven days notice at any time we asked, a deal that was terminated in the summer of 1956 on payment of £1,560 by Walsall.
Hodgkisson became a Saddlers stalwart, winning the Fourth Division there in 1958/59 and promotion from the Third Division a year later. He amassed 342 games for the Fellows Park side, scoring 54 times and becoming a Walsall quiz question to boot as their first ever substitute.
Spells in the non-leagues as player and then coach followed before he returned to The Hawthorns in 1975 to begin a ten year stint running Albion’s youth team, then later working as a scout.
A regular at games and at Former Players’ Association get togethers, his affection for the Albion remained undimmed and he will be sadly missed. Our thoughts are with family and friends at this sad time.
Rest easy Ken.