Many and varied are the pieces of memorabilia, art and general detritus that the football club has gathered about itself over the years. Over the next season or three, we are going to select some of these, in no particular order nor importance, to help tell a tale of Throstles down the years. It’s not a definitive history, might at times be apocryphal and at others completely fabricated, but these odd shafts of light will give you a sense of who we are and where we came from. Confused? You will be…
It’s possible that we may have mentioned this in passing in the past, but while other football clubs in this country will post their claims to fame, we are the one that is unique and achieved probably the greatest feat of them all, certainly on the domestic stage.
For in the season of 1930/31, not Albion did the Throstles battle their way through 42 Division Two games to win promotion back to our rightful place in the top flight, but we also came through an arduous FA Cup run to bear down upon Wembley Stadium and take away the trophy itself in the ninth final to be played there. No other team had ever done that. No team has ever done it since. I think we can safely wager the family silver on the premise that no team ever will.
Imagine it. A total of 51 games, 97 goals scored, just 56 conceded, 28 games won, only 10 lost. And all of it done with a relatively youthful team, all Englishmen, eight of whom went on to play more than 300 games for the football club. That little clutch of double diamonds can lay some claim to being the greatest collection of Throstles that we have ever had the privilege to field.
While the passing of the years has done nothing but add lustre to the achievement, even at the time it was recognised as a quite extraordinary feat throughout he country, so much so that the heir to the throne himself was wheeled out for a trip to The Hawthorns to meet the team, Chairman Billy Bassett and the team’s manager, and club secretary, Fred Everiss. It must have been some privilege for Edward, Prince of Wales, to come into contact with such footballing royalty.
Inevitably, they assembled or some photos and frankly, Edward was showing pretty form in not taking his hat off in front of Billy Bassett, but we’ll let that pass, not least because we should be revelling in Tommy Mage’s masterful invention of the art of photo bombing by appearing on the Chairman’s shoulder, looking a bit like a Terry Gilliam cut out from Monty Python.
To commemorate the arrival of the man who would be king – not that that was going to go especially well as it turned out – we did what all right and proper organisations did in such days and had a memorial tablet made and beautiful it was too. Made from slate mounted upon a wooden backing, the details of the visit were written clear upon it and all was then crowned by the use of the Prince of Wales feathers in relief on the top.
So taken was Edward with the Albion and all thing Throstle, when we reached the FA Cup final once again in 1935, the Prince ensured that he was the one the royal on Wembley duty, fondly imaging that he would be able to pass the cup into the safe care of Tommy Glidden once more, although Sheffield Wednesday had not read the script and mucked it up by winning 4-2.
Nonetheless, there had been a chance to meet up again before the game, warm words being exchanged with Fred Everiss. But look at WG Richardson and the sharp glance he’s giving the monarch in waiting. If looks could talk, that one would be saying, “You want to stop mucking about with that Mrs Simpson”.