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West Bromwich Albion are a Premier League football team, located in West Bromwich in the West Midlands of England. Since turning professional, West Brom have spent all but one of their seasons in the top two leagues in the English football system. Their current Premier League stay has lasted for six consecutive seasons.
The history of West Bromwich Albion F.C starts in 1878. Workers from George Salter’s Spring Works formed a football team, and they named themselves the West Bromwich Strollers. The name lasted for two years, before changing to West Bromwich Albion in 1880.
In 1881, the club joined the Birmingham & District Football Association, and soon after made their first appearance in the Birmingham Cup. Trophy success followed in 1883, when West Brom won the Staffordshire Cup.
1883 was also the year that West Brom became members of the Football Association, thus becoming eligible to play in the FA Cup. The early West Brom FA Cup history is impressive, reaching the final for two seasons running after turning professional. However, they were beaten finalists on both of these occasions, firstly suffering defeat at the hands of Blackburn Rovers, and the following season they were beaten by Aston Villa.
The club wouldn’t have to wait too long for a taste of FA Cup success. In 1888, the club won the FA Cup for the first time, with a 2-1 win over Preston North End.
The West Brom league history begins in 1888. William McGregor, the founder of the Football League, chose the best clubs in the country at that time and invited them to become founder members of the system. West Brom were one of his choices and joined the First Division.
1892 saw more success in the FA Cup. West Brom beat Aston Villa 3-0. The two met again in the final in 1895, this time Aston Villa beat their rivals 1-0.
The club moved into the Hawthorns for the 1900/1901 season, but their first season in their new home resulted in relegation. They immediately bounced back, winning the Second Division title in the process, but suffered relegation once more two seasons later.
Seven seasons of Second Division football followed.The 1910/1911 season saw West Brom win another Second Division title, and the following season was the first of 12 in the top flight.
During this period, West Brom won the First Division title for the first time. They broke two records in the process, scoring more goals in a season and accumulating the most points.
West Brom came close to picking up another First Division championship, just missing out to Huddersfield, and two seasons later they suffered another relegation.
The 1930/1931 season saw West Brom achieve Second Division promotion and another FA Cup trophy, the first and last time any club has achieved such a feat.
The club remained a First Division side until the 1938/1939 season. During this time, they were FA Cup runners-up and semi-finalists, but the season after their semi-final appearance they were relegated yet again.
After the resumption of the football schedule when the Second World War was over, West Brom won promotion back to the First Division. This led to their longest uninterrupted spell in the top flight, a total of 24 seasons, a record that hasn’t been broken yet.
West Brom established themselves as a good First Division team, but it was in the domestic cup competitions where the Baggies earned the most success. West Brom won two FA Cups during this period and one League Cup.
The 1968 FA Cup win has to date been their last major trophy won. Over the next two seasons, West Brom were FA Cup semi-finalists, European Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-finalists and beaten League Cup finalists.
As the 1970’s got underway, West Brom’s form dropped and the club were relegated in 1973. Three years later, they won promotion once more and returned to the First Division. As the 1970’s drew to a close, West Brom appeared in the UEFA Cup and two separate occasions, reaching the quarter-finals in the 1978/1979 season.
The following decade became the worst in West Bromwich history. Another relegation in the 1985/1986 season saw the Baggies struggle in the Second Division and led to another relegation. The 1991/1992 season saw West Brom play Third Division football for the first ever time.
The club remained in the third tier (which then had become known as Division Two, following the creation of the Premier League) for two seasons. A play-off victory in 1993 saw West Brom regain their second tier place.
A period of consolidation followed. Steady mid-table finishes between 1994 and 2001 led to West Brom finishing runners-up in the 2001/2002 season, and with it a place in the Premier League.
They lasted just one season in the top flight, but achieved promotion again in the subsequent season. Their Premier League status this time lasted two seasons, including the famous ‘Great Escape’, where they avoided relegation on the last day and became the first Premier League club to be taking up the bottom spot at Christmas and still stay up.
The escape lasted for just one season, and there was no ‘Great Escape’ in the 2005/2006 season. West Brom almost achieved another immediate promotion, but were beaten in the play-off final.
The club only had to wait one more season though, and promotion came in the form of becoming Championship winners. However, again this didn’t last long and the club finished bottom for an immediate return to the Championship. The yo-yo nature of West Bromwich Albion continued though, and the following season the club regained their Premier League status, and from the 2010/2011 season West Brom have remained a Premier League club.
There have been seven incarnations of the West Bromwich Albion crest. In the 1880’s, a club badge featured a song thrush sitting atop a crossbar was designed and whilst not used on kits, it was featured at the ground and on official club documentation.
A hawthorn branch was then introduced and took the place of the crossbar in the crest, representing the club’s move to their stadium the Hawthorns.
It was in 1969 that a crest was first used on West Bromwich Albion kits, although for the club’s previous cup finals, a badge featuring the West Bromwich Coat of Arms was worn. The 1969 crest was used until 1972, and featured the embroidered song thrush singing on top of a hawthorn branch.
In 1972, just the song thrush remained. This was then replaced by the embroidered initials W.B.A three years later, and this remained on the West Brom kits until 1986.
1986 saw the return of the song bird sat upon the hawthorn branch. This logo was used until 1994, when the club introduced a shield badge. This badge featured the West Bromwich Coat of Arms, with the song thrush implemented on the shirt collar.
In 2000, the shield remained but the coat of arms was removed. The shield featured a blue and white striped background, and the song thrush sat aloft the hawthorn branch returned to the actual crest.
In 2008, minor changes to the badge were implemented, and this badge is worn to this day. A modernised version of the previous badge, the name of the club is also incorporated into this new West Brom crest.
For the majority of West Brom’s history, the club have worn blue and white striped shirts, usually with either blue shorts and blue socks, white shorts and white socks or a combination of the two. The early West Brom kit history shows a lot more variety.
When West Brom were founded and named West Bromwich Strollers, three different home kits were worn. First, the home kit consisted of a white shirt with a diagonal blue stripe, white shorts and maroon socks. In 1880, this kit completely changed. Red and blue quartered shirts were worn, together with black shorts and black socks. The following season, the shorts and socks remained the same but the West Brom shirt was replaced with an all-maroon coloured top.
When the club name changed to West Bromwich Albion, the variety of kits continued. From 1881 to 1885, five completely different kits were used. The first was a yellow and white quartered shirt, worn with black shorts and black socks. The next season, the shorts and socks colour remained with the shirt replaced with a half brown half blue design.
In 1882, an alternative kit featuring a red and white hooped shirt, white shorts and dark blue socks was adopted.
1883/1884 and 1884/1885 kits saw the return of the half and half shirts. The first was coloured brown and white, worn with white shirts and white socks. The second was blue and maroon, worn with dark blue shorts and dark blue socks.
1885 was the year the famous Baggies blue and white striped shirts appeared. From 1885 to 1889, these shirts were worn with white shorts and dark blue socks.
For one season, the club adopted the colours of red and blue striped shirts with black shorts and black socks before returning to the blue and white stripes for the following season.
Since then, the blue and white striped shirts has become part of the standard West Brom kit, with the shorts and socks colours alternating between blue and white.
The West Bromwich Albion F.C stadium is the Hawthorns. Before the club moved to their current home, West Brom played in five different locations.
Cooper’s Hill was the first, and was solely used in 1878 and 1879. From 1879 to 1881 the club still used Cooper’s Hill, but also played some home matches at Dartmouth Park.
The following year, the club moved to Bunn’s Field, which could hold up to 2,000 people. Another move occurred the season afterwards, with the club using the ground of the local cricket club at Four Acres.
From 1885 to 1900, Stoney Lane was used as the West Brom home ground. However, with the number of spectators wanting to watch West Brom play growing, a new ground was sought and in 1900 the club moved to the Hawthorns, so called because of the hawthorn bushes that grew around that area.
The Hawthorns has a capacity of 26,850. The capacity of the stadium was reduced in the 1990’s, due to the Taylor Report findings that English football grounds should become all seater stadiums.
The four stands of the Hawthorns are the West Stand, the East Stand, the Birmingham Road End and the Smethwick End. The Smethwick End features a small area for away fans.
The Hawthorns is also geologically the highest professional football ground in the country, standing 168 metres above sea level.
There are plans to redevelop the Hawthorns and increase its capacity, with designs to build extra tiers on one or more of its current stands.
West Bromwich Albion supporters traditionally hail from the West Midlands area of England, though they do have supporters club branches across the globe.
The official West Bromwich Albion supporters club maintains strong links with the club itself, and is a focal point for other supporters clubs branches.
The club anthem is ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’, and the song ‘Boing Boing Baggies Baggies Boing Boing’ is often heard in the stands if West Brom are winning.
Historically, West Brom have enjoyed a rivalry with Aston Villa. In the early histories of both of these clubs, they met on numerous occasions and played against each other in a number of FA Cup finals. The fierce nature of this clash had died down - with Aston Villa a constant top division side and West Brom struggling with a series yo yo-ing in and out of the divisions, the clubs rarely met. However, in the early 2010’s the rivalry resurfaced with West Brom finishing above Villa twice, and the latter being relegated in the 2015/2016 season.
The Black Country derby, the match between West Brom and Wolverhampton Wanderers, has intensified over the last few decades. In 2002, West Brom took Wolves’ place in the table to secure promotion at the rivals’ expense which led to more heated derby matches, though the rivalry had started before this date.
The current West Brom owner is Guochuan Lai. Lai bought the club from long-standing owner Jeremy Peace in the summer of 2016.
When the club was formed, the club was owned by a committee made up of seven men. In 1885, Henry Jackson became the first West Brom chairman, with Billy Bassett and Jem Bayliss also holding this position within the early decades of the club’s existence.
1905 saw West Brom in serious financial danger, but Harry Keys along with Bassett saved the club after they invested their own money.
Bassett was chairman from 1908 to his death in 1937, making him the longest serving chairman in West Brom history.
Jeremy Peace became chairman in 2002, and in 2007 bought more shares in the club taking him to over the 50% threshold. Passing the 50% mark requires an official takeover bid.
The club began to look for extra investment following this, but none was forthcoming. Peace then looked to sell the club, and did so in 2016.
Tony Brown leads the West Bromwich Albion all-time appearance maker list. Brown made 720 appearances for the club between 1963 and 1981.
Brown is also West Brom’s leading all time top goalscorer, with 279 goals to his name.
The highest attendance at the Hawthorns is 60, 945, who watched West Brom host Wolves in the Black Country derby in 1950.
The highest attendance that any West Brom team has played in front of came in the 1954 FA Cup Final, when West Brom faced Preston at Wembley.
West Bromwich Albion’s biggest win came in 1892, when the club beat Darwen 12-0 in the First Division.
The club’s record Premier League win is by four goals, and this occurred on four different occassions - 4-0 against Everton in 2005; 4-0 against Sunderland in 2012; 4-0 against Burnley in 2014; and 5-1 against Wolves in 2012.
West Brom’s record signing is Salomon Rondon, who the club bought for £12 million from Zenit St Petersburg in 2015.
The highest transfer fee West Brom have ever received is £10 million, a fee Aston Villa paid for Curtis Davies in 2008.
The most international caps a player has won whilst playing club football for West Brom is the 38 caps Chris Brunt has been awarded for Northern Ireland.
The current West Bromwich Albion squad consists of 25 players. The list of West Brom players includes many international players, along with young up-and-coming English players.
The current West Bromwich Albion player of the year is captain Darren Fletcher.
Notable ex West Bromwich players include William ‘Ginger’ Richardson, who was the first player to score over 200 goals for the club; Ronnie Allen, who held the club’s record goalscorer title; Tony Brown, who overtook Allen to become the club’s all time record goalscorer; Jeff Astle, who scored the winner in the 1968 FA Cup Final and became the first player to score in both the FA Cup Final and League Cup Final; Brian Robson, who also managed the club; Laurie Cunningham, whose talent earned him a move to Real Madrid; and Cyrille Regis, who scored on his debut for the club and went on to net 82 goals.
The current West Bromwich Albion manager is Tony Pulis. Pulis took over the managerial reigns in January 2015, and became West Brom’s eighth manager in four years.
West Brom’s first manager was Louis Ford, who managed the club for 58 matches from 1890 to 1892.
Ford was also one manager to win the FA Cup with West Brom, along with Fred Everiss, Vic Buckingham and Alan Ashman.
In terms of win percentage, from managers who took charge of 20 games or more, Jesse Carver leads the way, winning just over 55% of matches from May 1952 to February 1953. He’s closely followed by Roberto Di Matteo, who managed the club for 82 matches from 2009 to 2011 and has a win percentage just under 49%.
The major trophies won by West Brom are one First Division title (1919/1920); five FA Cups (1888, 1892, 1931, 1954 and 1968); and one League Cup (1966).
West Brom won the Charity Shield twice (1920 and 1954 - this win was shared with Wolves). The club finished First Division runners-up in 1924/1925 and 1953/1953. West Brom were FA Cup runners-up on five occasions - 1886, 1887, 1895, 1912 and 1935. The Baggies were also losing finalists in the League Cup on two occasions - in 1967 and 1970.
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