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Albion’s unique cup and promotion double 1930-31

By john workman  |  Posted: June 22, 2013

WBA win the Cup.

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These archive pictures take us back 82 years to when West Bromwich Albion achieved a unique football double – winning the FA Cup and promotion to the top flight in the same season.

The cup final was played on 25th April, 1931 at Wembley, before a crowd of 92,406, and their opponents were Birmingham, then in the First Division.

Interestingly the two goalkeepers, Harold Pearson for Albion and Harry Hibbs for Birmingham, were cousins and Harold’s father and Harry’s uncle, Hubert Pearson, had played for Albion in the 1912 FA Cup final.

Birmingham were the first to score, with Bob Gregg heading in in the sixth minute but he was flagged offside and the goal was disallowed. W.G. Richardson then took the lead for Albion in the 24th minute and the score remained 1-0 at half time.

In the second half Birmingham came out a stronger, more determined team and equalised on 57 minutes with a Joe Bradford goal. Parity lasted all of 60 seconds, straight from the restart Albion attacked and W.G. Richardson scored again.

The Prince of Wales had been due to present the medals but was unable to attend and his place was taken by his brother the Duke of Gloucester. Later the Prince visited the Hawthorns and was pictured with the players and the trophy.

Following the cup final Albion were chasing promotion to the First Division and still had two games to play. There were in third place behind runaway leaders Everton but still had a chance to overtake second placed Tottenham Hotspur.

Five days after the final they travelled to Stoke needing a win to stand any chance; they won 1-0.

On the last day of the season they played Charlton Athletic at the Hawthorns, knowing that a win would secure promotion regardless of Tottenham’s result against Burnley.

52,415 were packed into the Hawthorns but they were stunned into silence in the sixth minute when Charlton took the lead.

Albion drew level 30 minutes later but almost immediately Charlton re-established their lead. In a frenzied end of the half Albion were able to equalise once more.

In the second half Charlton faded and Albion took the lead and held on to the final whistle, 3-2. Tottenham lost 1-0 and promotion was Albion’s, taking them back into the First Division for the first time since 1927.

No one had previously won the cup and promotion in the same season and no team has been able to repeat the feat.

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