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A-Z of West Midlands Football

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: December 26, 2013

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JOHNSON (Jack) REED played as a wing-half for Walsall for five years, from August 1931 until May 1936, during which time he scored six goals in 141 League and FA Cup games.

Born in Brusselton, County Durham in September 1908, he played, in turn, for Spennymoor United, Walsall Miners' Welfare, Dudley White Star, Beaverbrook Swifts, Wolves (having one League outing, in a 4-1 defeat away to Bradford City in February 1931) and Dudley Town before joining the Saddlers.

Forced to retire through injury before he was 30, it is believed Jack died circa 1960.

MARK REES was effectively a right-winger, powerful with good pace and a strong shot who could also fill in at right-back, when required. He scored 42 goals in 274 first-class appearances (58 as a substitute) for Walsall over a period of 11 years, 1979-90.

Born in Smethwick in October 1961, Mark's best performance without doubt for the Saddlers came in the 2-2 League Cup semi-final draw with Liverpool at Anfield in 1984 when he caused all sorts of problems for the usually sound and capable Merseysiders' defence. Unfortunately after all his good work, Liverpool won the return leg 2-0.

Following a loan spell with Rochdale, Mark left Walsall for Shamrock Rovers and after a stint with Aldershot, teamed up with Beazer Homes club Dover before returning to the Midlands to play for Shrewsbury Town (albeit briefly) and then Solihull Borough.

TONY REES scored 16 goals in 111 games for Birmingham City and three in 30 appearances for Albion – after being 'given away' by Aston Villa without getting a first team outing.

Born in Merthyr Tydfil in August 1964, he started his career at Villa Park as an apprentice in August 1980, turning professional two years later. In July 1983 he moved on a free transfer to St Andrew's and had loan spells with Peterborough United (October 1985) and Shrewsbury Town (March 1986) before joining Barnsley in March 1988. He then assisted Grimsby Town from August 1989, signed for Albion for £30,000 in November 1994 and left The Hawthorns for Merthyr Town in August 1996, retiring from competitive football in May 1998. An FA Youth Cup winner with Villa in 1980, Tony gained successive promotions with Grimsby, from Division Four to Division Two, in 1990 and 1991, and represented Wales at full, U21 cap, youth and schoolboy levels.

He built up a considerable reputation in Villa's youth side until a broken leg halted his progress, causing him to miss a complete season. Initially, a right-winger, he had the ability to take on defenders, but seemed to lack stamina.

MEL REES was a fine goalkeeper on his day. Born in Cardiff in January 1966, he played in turn for Cardiff City (initially signing as an apprentice in April 1983, turning professional in September 1984), Watford (from July 1987), Crewe Alexandra (on loan, August–September 1989) and Leyton Orient (on loan, January–February 1990) before joining Albion for £25,000 in September 1990.

He made 19 appearances for the Baggies who sold him to Sheffield United, also for £25,000, in March 1992. He remained at Bramall Lane until his tragic death from cancer in Sheffield in May 1993 at the age of 26.

A Welsh youth international, Mel appeared in only 75 League games overall, being one of the youngest 'keepers ever to play in all four Divisions of the Football League. He made his Baggies' debut at Ipswich in January 1991, replacing Stuart Naylor. He won the Pontins League championship with Albion that same season.

RONNIE REES,

who could play on both wings, scored 12 goals in 41 appearances for Albion, following his move from Coventry City for £65,000 in March 1968.

Born: Ystradgynlais, Brecknock, Wales, in April 1944, he represented Merthyr Schools before joining the Sky Blues as an apprentice in July 1960, turning professional in May 1962. After scoring 42 goals in 230 outings for Coventry he moved to The Hawthorns, from where he switched to Nottingham Forest for £60,000 in February 1969.

After that he served with Swansea City from January 1972 and had a brief spell with Haverfordwest before announcing his retirement in May 1975.

Ronnie later worked in the administration offices at Cardiff City's Ninian Park ground and for many years was engaged at the Ford motor factories in Swansea and Bridgend. He quit his 'car' job in 1995, at the age of 51, after suffering a major stroke that took away his ability to walk and talk.

Two-footed, fast, direct in style and always eager to have a shot at goal, he won seven Uunder 23 and 39 full caps for Wales and helped Coventry win the Third Division championship in 1964, followed by the Second Division title in 1967. During his impressive career, Ronnie appeared in more than 500 competitive matches (440 in the Football League, 68 goals scored).

He made his debut for Albion in a 6–2 home League defeat by Everton in March 1968 but was illegible to play in the FA Cup final against the Merseysiders two months later.

GEORGE REEVES did well as an inside-forward for Aston Villa, scoring 11 goals in 36 appearances over a period of two years from November 1907 to November 1909.

Born in Huthwaite, Hucknall, Nottinghamshire in 1884, he played his early football for Sutton-in-Ashfield, Ripley Athletic and Sutton Town before joining Barnsley in 1906. It was then on to Villa Park for £1,000 and after that he assisted Bradford Park Avenue and Blackpool before rounding off his career at home with Hucknall Colliery FC, retiring in 1915. He died in Yorkshire in 1954, aged 70.

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