Tribute originally published in 2009.
A tribute to one of the greatest players the game has produced.
In January 2009 a bronze bust was unveiled next to the home dugoat at Derby County's Pride Park Stadium, in recognition of Cradley born Steve Bloomer, County's greatest ever goal scorer and football's first ever super star.
Born amid the brutal reality of the Black Country's industrial past (Steve's father Caleb was a nail maker) his future was no doubt planned out for him from an early age; a basic education followed by an adult life working in the factory or down the pit, but at a very early age his parents moved to Normanton in Derbyshire.
Despite the difficulty he must have had trying to climb the ladder of sporting prowess, Steve Bloomer possessed a skill that blossomed on the football pitch and made those who saw him play stand up and take notice.
Our national game stepped in to save him from industrial obscurity, and on the 17th January 2009 in front of a packed Pride Park, there to watch a league game against QPR, the unveiling of the bust made sure that his legendary status amongst Rams supporters, who sing the club anthem 'Steve Bloomer's watching' before every home game, would be even more meaningful now he is looking out from his position at the dugout.
Steve Bloomer made his English first division debut on 3rd September 1892 in a 3-1 away win at Stoke, but ironically his first league goal was scored against Black Country team West Bromwich Albion at home. He made history again against the Albion eight years later when in the first game ever played at the Hawthorns in 1900 he scored the first ever goal in a 1-1 draw. While playing for Derby he was top scorer in the First Division on five occasions and leading Rams scorer for an incredible 14 consecutive seasons. When he joined Middlesborough in March 1906 for a fee of £750 he was also their top scorer for the following two seasons. In total Bloomer scored 394 league and cup goals in a career that spanned 655 games. His English league goals record of 352 was finally beaten by Dixie Dean in 1936.
Even though Steve never played for a Black Country football team there must still be a great amount of pride for this Black Country born Derby County player who became one of the best ever to kick a football.