Thursday, October 20, 2011

West Bromwich Albion shirt history

On Saturday I'm going to my first Premier League game of the season when Villa take on West Brom in what is the derby game now that the Blues have gone. They might be the local neighbours and Villa's traditional enemy, but it's certainly worth looking at their history.

West Bromwich Albion started off as West Bromwich Strollers when they were formed as a team for the George Salter Spring's Works in 1878. They got the name Strollers allegedly after they walked to Wednesbury to buy a football so that they could play. Their first strip was the rather fetching white shirt with a blue sash and hat a baggy trousers shown below. However, they didn't get their nickname 'The Baggies' from this strip rather it was from when their fans turned up to Villa straight from work wearing the baggy aprons of the metal works that got them the name not long after their inception.

Their next change of kit came in 1881 when they adopted yellow and white quarters and also wore the Staffordshire not as a badge on their shirt.

After this kit they experimented with a number of different colours in their formative years: red and white hoops between 1882 - 1883; chocolate and white the following season and a very unpopular red and blue between 1884-85, its unpopularity coming from the fact that it looked like a comedy team that performed in the Black Country at the time. In 1885 The Baggies finally settled on the navy blue and white stripes they have more or less worn ever since.

The Baggies first major piece of silverware came in 1888 when they were surprise winners in the FA Cup Final where they beat Preston North End. After winning this they had the chance to become the 'World Champions' when they took on Renton of Scotland, however it wasn't to be and the team from North of the border won 4-1. They were also not surprisingly invited to become founder members of the league.

In 1900 Albion moved to the Hawthornes, where they started out life in the kit shown below.

In 1919 Baggies won the League for the first time in their history and what is up to now their last time.

West Brom were relegated in 1927, but they came back in 1931 and also celebrated by beating Birmingham to lift the FA Cup. For the game they wore a special crest on the badge that resembled a deer even though they had had the nickname the Throstles since the early days when they had a pet bird at the club it wasn't for ages that they would have a thrush on the team shirts.

They were back at Wembley in 1935 for the FA Cup Final and again had a special crest designed for the shirt, but this time they lost to 4-2 to Sheffield Wednesday.

Just before World War II West Brom were relegated and during the war years they wore a plain blue shirt as they couldn't get the material for the striped shirts.

In 1954 Albion had a bitter sweet season when they nearly won the double. However, they lost the league to bitter rivals Wolves at the the Hawthornes. A week later they lifted the FA Cup by beating Preston North End 3-2.

The next notable trophy for West Brom came in 1966 when they entered the League Cup for the first time and won the whole competition by beating West Ham over two legs.

West Brom's most famous team since then has probably been the team of Viv Anderson, Cyril Regis and Brendan Batson who between 1978-81 reached the UEFA Cup three times and as well as the home shirt shown below also wore the cult classic yellow and green striped shirt shown.

In 1986 West Brom were relegated and have been more or less a bit of a yo-yo team since. In 2000 the throstle appeared on the shirt for the first time.

The shirt for this season is shown below:

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