WE hope readers will forgive the poor quality of this photograph as it is over 100 years old. It shows a forgotten football team of the old Black Country – Stourbridge Albion FC.
We have been unable to find a detailed account of this team, overshadowed as it is by its more illustrious neighbours the Glassboys, or Stourbridge FC. That team was founded in 1876 as Stourbridge Standard, changing its name in the 1880s and going on to win the Worcestershire Senior Cup 12 times and the Birmingham Senior Cup three times.
But what of Stourbridge Albion? The picture appears to date from 1907-08, but the writing on the football held by the man in the centre of the front row is not clear. Written on the blackboard are the words “Head quarters Duke William Hotel”. This pub, built in 1903 on the corner of Coventry Street and Duke Street, is still in business today, where landlord Dave Craddock brews his own beer.
The photograph belongs to John Taylor of Kidderminster, who acquired it through a well-known internet auction site.
There were some notes with the picture, naming the players and giving scant details of the team. Apparently, the team, “played on a ground near the Stour in Birmingham Street by the Red Lion Inn.”
The Red Lion Inn in Birmingham Street is a pub that has long gone from Stourbridge but the ground where the club played may have been near what is today called Stamford Road but back in the early 1900s was merely a ford through the Stour near the Stambermill viaduct.
The players were, on the back row, V. Bishop, D. Smith (goal), and Sam Sadler; on the middle row, H. Foxall, A. Donovan and W. Saunders; at the front, W. Hatton, T. Sidaway, L. Harris, B. Wall and W. Whiteman; and the trainer, far right, was B. Saunders.
Does anyone recognise an ancestor among these footballers?
Are there any experts on the Stourbridge sporting scene in the early 20th century who can tell us more about Stourbridge Albion? When were they established and how long did they play for? What league did they play in?
Can you answer these questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Bugle House, 41 High Street, Cradley?Heath, B64 5HL