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A-Z of West Midlands Football

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: December 22, 2013

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JOE READER Continued from last week:

He was forced to give up the game through illness rather than injury, yet he still remained an active member of the club during his spell there as coach until shortly before World War One, when he became a steward.

He saw his last game at The Hawthorns two weeks before he died at the age of 88 in West Bromwich in March 1954.

It is believed that Joe Reader was the last of the goalkeepers to discard the customary long white trousers, doing so in the mid–1890s. He took over between the posts for Albion from the great Bob Roberts, and in 1901 he handed over the duties to Ike Webb.

He made his Football League debut against Aston Villa (away) in Division One in October 1889. Officially retiring in April 1901, he became trainer-coach at The Hawthorns, later serving as a ground steward until 1950. His association with Albion spanned 65 years – the longest anyone has been with the club.

READING, members of the Football League since 1920, have over the last 93 years played all of our clubs at various levels.

They first met Aston Villa as a non-League club in the FA Cup in 1912, and caused an upset by knocking out their more illustrious opponents 1-0 (after a 1-1 draw). The first time Villa scored five goals in a Third Division game was against Reading at Elm Park in October 1970 (won 5-3).

Jimmy Cookson scored four goals for Albion in their 5-3 League win over Reading in 1927 and a hat-trick against the same opposition a year later when the score-line was reversed.

Wolves ended Reading's 14-match winning run from the start of a season when they drew 2-2 at Elm Park in October 1985. And Barry Fry's last game in charge as manager of Birmingham resulted in a 2-1 League win over Reading in May 1996.

Among the many players who have served with the Royals and our local clubs since WW2, we have: Aston Villa - Neale Cooper and Ray Houghton, Nicky Shorey (also Albion); Birmingham City - Kevin Bremner, Kevin Dillon, Colin Gordon, Martin Hicks, Stephen Kelly, Andy Legg, Dave Madden, Nicky Platnauer and Steve Sutton; Walsall - Jimmy Whitehouse; Albion - Paul Barron, Neil Clement, Shaun Cummings, Percy Freeman, Harry Kinsell, Shane Long, Graham Potter (also Blues), Jason Roberts, Brian Quailey and Phil Whitehead, and for Wolves - Gordon Brice, Keith Curle, Michael Gilkes, Mick Gooding, Kaspers Gorkiss, Bob Hazell, John Humphrey, Eric Nixon, Simon Osborn, Floyd Streete, Nigel Vaughan and Adrian Williams.

Goalkeepers Paul Barron (1989) and Paul Crichton (1996) made their Albion debuts against Reading. Mark McGhee has managed Reading (1991-94) and Wolves (1995-98), Colin Lee bossed Wolves and was assistant-manager of Reading and Sammy Chung played for the Royals and managed Wolves. Jack Smith, an ex-Wolves player and Albion's first post-war manager, also bossed Reading (1952-55).

REAL MADRID played Birmingham twice in friendly matches in the 1920s. Blues won both encounters – 3-0 in Madrid in 1923 (despite having centre-half Alex McClure sent-off) and by the same score at St Andrew's two years later.

Wolves also defeated the Spanish giants – then reigning European Cup holders – by 3-2 under the Molineux floodlights in October 1957, while Albion crashed to a 6-1 defeat at the hands of the La Liga club in the San Jose Cup in May 1990. Hugo Sanchez netted five goals for Real.

England winger Laurie Cunningham was transferred from Albion to Real Madrid for £995,000 in June 1979.

NATHAN REDMOND is a wide midfielder who scored nine goals in 82 League and Cup games for Birmingham City in two seasons: 2011-13.

Born in Kitts Green, Birmingham in March 1994, he attended Sheldon Heath Community Art College before joining Blues at the age of 15, turning professional two years later. He left St Andrew's for Norwich City in a £2m deal last summer and has already won a total of 43 caps for England at five different levels from U16 to U21.

DOUG REDWOOD played outside-left for Walsall during the last two seasons prior to WW2 (August 1937-May 1939). He scored eight goals in 32 first team appearances for the Saddlers before moving to Rochdale but didn't resume in League football after the hostilities had ended.

A Welshman, born in Ebbw Vale in June 1918 (and now deceased), Doug played for his home town club and also for Cardiff City before moving to Fellows Park.

ARTHUR REED was a roly-poly, 5ft 5in tall inside-forward who scored 13 goals in 29 senior outings for Birmingham in the four years leading up to the Great War: 1935-39. A Yorkshireman, born in Sheffield in April 1883, he played for Doncaster Rovers prior to joining Blues and was eventually forced to retire through injury. He moved back to Yorkshire where he died circa 1950.

FRED REED was born in Scotswood-on-Tyne in March 1894 and died in West Bromwich in December 1967. A splendid, resilient centre-half, he played for Scotswood Central School, Newborn FC, Wesley Hall, Benwell FC and Lintz Institute before joining Albion as a professional in February 1913.

His displays at the heart of the Baggies' defence were typical of a rugged North-Easterner, especially in the tackle, where he was solid, determined and mighty efficient. When he arrived at The Hawthorns he understudied Frank Waterhouse and Sid Bowser and, in fact, had to wait almost ten years before establishing himself as a first team regular.

He made his League debut against Tottenham in April 1915 and during WW1 served as a sergeant instructor in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, based in Surrey, Northumberland and Edinburgh, while also playing as a guest for Newcastle United (1919).

Fred spent three-and-a-half seasons as Albion's first-team pivot, totting up 157 appearances (five goals scored) before being replaced by Ted Rooke. Fred, who also played in over 200 second XI matches either side of the War, helped Albion's reserves win the Birmingham & District League title in 1920 and the Central League (as captain) in 1923.

Retiring in July 1927, he immediately became the club's trainer and was active with the sponge when Albion achieved the unique double by winning the FA Cup and gaining promotion from Division Two in the same season, 1930-31. He also 'trained' the team which finished runners-up in the 1935 Cup final and won promotion again in 1949. He eventually left The Hawthorns in May 1950, having served the club for 37 years. He was succeeded as Albion's trainer by Arthur 'Mother' Fitton.

Also engaged as trainer by the Football League XI and for two England versus The Rest matches, during the 1930s Fred acted as masseur to Warwickshire CCC, based at Edgbaston.

His daughter, Jill, an avid Albion supporter, was headmistress of a junior School in Aston, Birmingham, for a number of years in the 1970s. Her husband, Nigel, was a vicar in Birmingham and christened my two daughters, Julie and Joanne.

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