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A-Z of West Midlands Football

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: January 12, 2014

  • David Rennie

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NICKY REID scored the first of his two goals for Albion in their 3-0 play-off final victory over Port Vale at Wembley in May 1993. Signed by Baggies' manager Ossie Ardiles from Blackburn Rovers in November 1992, Nicky could play as a right-back, central defender or in midfield.

He was born in Davyhulme, Manchester in October 1960 and was an apprentice at Maine Road before turning professional in November 1978.

He had a spell in the NASL with Seattle Sounders in 1982 and went on to amass 262 first-class appearances for Manchester City who transferred him to Blackburn Rovers in July 1987.

A loan spell with Bristol City preceded his move to The Hawthorns. Nicky made 26 appearances for the Baggies who let him join Wycombe Wanderers on a 'free' in March 1994. Thereafter he assisted Woking, Witton Albion, Bury (as player-coach), Sligo Rovers (as player-manager) and finally Burnley, as assistant-physiotherapist, 2000-04.

He left Turf Moor to take up a position with Manchester City, where he stayed until 2005. Nicky then switched to Barrow AFC as fitness coach in October 2005 before becoming Chief Physiotherapist of Bury in February 2006. He left Gigg Lane in July 2007 by mutual consent and became physio at Hyde United, eventually taking over from Paul Lake at Macclesfield Town in January 2008.

Nicky, who completed a second degree at the University of Salford in 2008, this time in Physiotherapy, also regularly appears with the City 'Past Masters' team. He won six England U21 caps and made 514 League appearances during his playing career: 1977-97.

STEVEN REID is currently registered with West Bromwich Albion, whom he joined in March 2010, on a one month's loan from Blackburn Rovers. He made his Baggies' debut against his previous loan club, Queens Park Rangers, almost immediately in the 3–1 defeat at Loftus Road.

He scored his first Albion goal against Coventry City later that same month and at the end of the season he was signed permanently for Albion whom he helped clinch promotion to the Premier League.

At the start of the 2011-12, Steven scored an own-goal in a 2-1 loss against Manchester United and later in the campaign struck his first Premiership goal with a free-kick against Wigan.

He missed the last eight weeks of that season with ankle ligament damage, missed a fair chunk of 2012-13 and so far this season he's also been sidelined with injuries. Tough luck.

Having signed a new two-year deal, he can stay at The Hawthorns until May 2014.

Nicky who was born in Kingston-upon-Thames, London in March 1981 and played in initially for Millwall, has so far made over 70 appearances for the Baggies.

Despite representing England at junior levels, Nicky decided to play full international football for the Republic of Ireland whom he qualifies to play for through his father who was born in County Galway. Part of the Irish squad at the 2002 World Cup, called up as a late replacement, he actually captained Eire for their August 2006 friendly match against Holland. He has now won 23 full caps.

Interesting fact: In January 2013, Steven notably played for 45 minutes for Albion against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium with a broken leg.

GEORGE REILLY was a tall, lanky striker who scored 10 goals in exactly 50 senior appearances for Albion, whom he served from December 1985 until June 1988.

Born in Belshill, Lanarkshire, Scotland in mid-September 1957, he attended and played for St Brendan's RC School in Corby, and then assisted, in turn, Corby Town (May 1973), Northampton Town (professional, June 1976), Cambridge United (£140,000, November 1979), Watford (£100,000, August 1983) and Newcastle United (£200,000, February 1985) before joining the Baggies for £100,000.

Later with Cambridge United (secured on a free from Albion), Barnet (1989–90) and Alvechurch (January 1991-April 1992), he then worked as a builder in Ely, Cambridgeshire and is now engaged as a bricklayer in Corby.

Certainly one of the tallest strikers, even defenders, to play League football (not particularly great in any position), 'Mother' Reilly failed to make much of an impact at The Hawthorns although he did notch a total of 121 goals in 407 League appearances during his career, finding the net in all four Divisions, with a 'best return' of 23 in 1977–78 with Northampton.

He gained an FA Cup runner's-up medal with Watford in 1984. Big George was sent-off after just 75 seconds of Albion's Bass Charity Cup tie with Burton Albion in July 1987.

RELEGATION is a horrible word – to football clubs, players and supporters alike!!

Each of our major clubs have suffered this agony over the course of time, and here are the seasons which saw Villa, Blues, Walsall, Albion and Wolves all demoted from various Divisions.

• Aston Villa – five times: 1936, 1959, 1967, 1970, 1987

• Birmingham City – fourteen times: 1896, 1902, 1908, 1939, 1950, 1965, 1979, 1984, 1986, 1989, 1994, 2006, 2008, 2011

• Walsall – 8 times: 1895, 1901, 1958, 1979, 1989, 1990, 2000, 2006

• West Bromwich Albion – nine times: 1901, 1904, 1927, 1938, 1973, 1986, 1991, 2004, 2009.

• Wolverhampton Wanderers – 10 times: 1906, 1923, 1965, 1976, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 2004, 2012.

WILLIAM RENNEVILLE was a lively centre-forward who played in two League games for Aston Villa (one goal scored) and was also registered with Walsall for two seasons, playing mainly in the second team.

Born near Dublin in May 1898, he played for Leyton in 1908 before moving to Villa Park in May 1910. Capped four times by Ireland, he was unfortunately forced to retire through injury in the summer of 1912, but

returned to action with the Saddlers within four months.

After assisting Worcester City, he returned to Fellows Park in 1919, acting as player/second team coach. Bill died in his native Ireland in 1948.

DAVID RENNIE was born in August 1964 in Edinburgh. A defensive midfielder or defender, he made more than 400 appearances in the Football League while playing for Leicester City, Leeds United, Bristol City, Birmingham City (signed for £120,000), Coventry City, Northampton Town and Peterborough United between 1982 and 1999.

He also assisted Boston United and Burton Albion later in his career, and since his retirement in 2002, he has worked for a company dealing in law and health services.

David scored four goals in 37 outings for Blues, February 1992-March 1993.

RESERVES, over the years, have played key roles in football. Each and every League club has, in effect, featured a Second XI (the stiffs as we know 'em in the Black Country) with many of these players stepping into the first XI at crucial times, replacing key players in vital matches.

Second XI facts and figures:

• In their first season in the Central League, 1919-20, Aston Villa scored 104 goals; in 1926-27 they netted 107 goals, and when they won the title in 1929-30 they rattled in no less than 127.

• Tom 'Pongo' Waring made his debut for Villa in a second XI game against Birmingham in 1928 when over 23,600 fans turned out to see him score a hat-trick in a 6-3 win.

• Allan Evans, normally a centre-half, scored six goals (a double hat-trick) for Villa reserves in a 10-0 win over Sheffield United in 1978.

• Villa's second team against Raunds Town in a friendly in November 1999 comprised players whose total transfer value was £30 million. England internationals Steve Stone, Paul Merson and Stan Collymore were among them.

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