FURTHER to the recent article on the late local footballer and cricketer, Harry Gibbs of Tipton, another well known Black Country sporting stalwart — Bill Powell — died on 22nd December 2012, aged 77.
Tipton Town F.C. owe much to Bill, who helped them progress from youths playing in the Wednesbury league to a team that competes in the Midland Football Alliance.
In his recent book on the history of Tipton Town, Steve Mills wrote of Bill's service to the football club, in the following terms...
“Our president has given Tipton Town F.C. more than 45 years of unstinting service and continued to keep abreast of events, concerning us here in the Black Country, from his home near the Welsh Borders.
“The more seasoned colleagues amongst us will recall Bill was a mighty fine player in his day but his blossoming potential was cruelly halted by serious illness. Aged just 14 and earning great praise as a budding centre-half with Brierley Hill & District School Boys, Bill was soon snapped up for Walsall F.C. by former England and Birmingham City goalkeeper Harry Hibbs who had become a scout at the Bescot club.
“Bill's ability grew apace and just 18 months later the legendary George Noakes, Chief Scout of Wolves persuaded Bill to switch to Molineux at the very time when the Wanderers were beginning their 7-year domination of English football.
“National Service intervened a few years later which saw Bill drafted into the Royal Air Force where his soccer prowess was soon recognised and he made the No. 5 shirt his own in the RAF side Southern Command. Sadly at the tender age of 19, Bill suffered the loss of a kidney which resulted in a curtailment of what could have been a bright professional career.
“After his demob from the forces, Bill joined the up-and-coming Ocker Hill United, who had principally been formed through the efforts of Bill Garner, Alan Keay, Len Warr Snr, etc. Bill's first position here was trainer but just a year or so later, with the likes of Brian Jenkins and Archie Pugh also joining the club, he graduated to the position of Club Secretary. At this time the team played in the Wednesbury league, but such was their success ratio that elevation to a higher level was only a matter of time, and they soon found themselves in the Wolverhampton Amateur League.
“Bill was a prime mover in getting the club into an even higher flight in 1966-67 and, at the same time as changing its name to Tipton Town F.C., it was accepted into the West Midland Regional League. Bill was also a leading light in setting up a committee to form the Tipton Sports Union Trust which eventually built the new stadium”.