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A-Z of West Midlands Football

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: August 30, 2014

  • Dean Saunders

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SHEFFIELD UNITED played Walsall on the last day of the 1980-81 season at Bramall Lane. Victory for the Saddlers would see them stay in the Third Division; any other result would mean relegation, likewise for the Blades, a win would keep them up! After a nervous 85 minutes, Don Penn gave Walsall the lead from the penalty spot but almost immediately United got a spot kick of their own. Step up Walsall goalkeeper Ron Green who dived to save Don Givens' 12-yard shot to earn the Saddlers a vital win while at the same time United went down.

United defender Joe Shaw crash-tackled Albion right-winger Frank Griffin in a fifth round FA Cup replay at the Hawthorns in February 1958. Griffin, who was in England form at the time, unfortunately suffered a broken his leg and was never the same player again.

Albion's League game against United at Bramall Lane in March 2002 was abandoned in the 82nd minute. At that time, United had been reduced to six players – three had been sent-off and two taken/called off (supposedly injured) so the official had no alternative but to abide by the rules and call a halt to proceedings. Albion were leading 3-0 at the time and subsequently, the FA agreed that the score should count, awarding the Baggies a victory and three welcome points on their way to promotion. One of the United players dismissed was former Albion loanee Georges Santos for a horrid challenge on Derek McInnes.

A record Bramall Lane crowd of 57,197 saw United beat Albion 2-0 in a sixth round FA Cup-tie in March 1925.

Derek Pace scored a hat-trick against his future club (Sheffield United) when Villa blunted the Blades 3-0 in April 1956.

Ian Olney was booked playing for Villa against United after just 15 seconds of a League game in March 1992.

Villa were the first English team to field two German players in a League game – Stefan Beinlich and Matthias Breitkreutz against United in January 1993.

Villa's first-ever Premiership win was 2-1 against United in August 1992.

United knocked Villa out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage in 1901.

On December 19, 1986 the lowest League crowd at St Andrew's for 61 years – just 5,007 – saw Birmingham City beat United 2-1.

United's 22st goalkeeper 'Fatty' Foulke saved a penalty from Wolves' Ted Pheasant in an FA Cup-tie at Molineux in March 1901. The ball was struck straight at Foulke who fisted it 40 yards downfield! United, 1-0 up at the time, went on to win the 4-0.

Among the players who have served with the Blades and also with one (or more) of our five major League clubs since WWII we have the following:

Aston Villa: Gabby Agbonlahor, Earl Barrett, John Burridge, Bobby Campbell, Franz Carr, Gordon Cowans, Mervyn Day, Kevin Gage, Dean Glover, 'Chico' Hamilton, Willie Hamilton, Trevor Hockey, Matthew Lowton, Paul McGrath, Ken McNaught, Dennis Mortimer, Derek Pace, Bruce Rioch, Dean Saunders, Simon Stainrod, Carl Tiler and Peter Withe.

Birmingham City: Gary Ablett, Kevin Bremner, Steve Bruce (also manager of both Blues and the Blades), Marcelo Cipriano, Paul Devlin, Don Givens, Roger Hansbury, Bob Hatton, Trevor Hockey, Dean Holdsworth, Brian Horne, Jonathon Hunt, Andy Kennedy, Martin Kuhl, Chris Marsden, Dennis Mortimer, Bruce Rioch, Phil Starbuck, Phil Tomlinson, Roy Warhurst, Steve Wigley and Peter Withe

West Bromwich Albion: Brett Angell, Paul Beesley, Ian Benjamin, Franz Carr, Eddie Colquhoun, Martin Dickinson, Mel Eves (Baggies' reserves), Paul Hall, Ian Hamilton, Ken McNaught, Dennis Mortimer (Albion reserves/coach), Shaun Murphy, Shane Nicholson, Paul Peschisolido, Mel Rees, Georges Santos, Gerry Summers, James Thomas, Imre Varadi and Paul Williams.

Wolves: David Barnes, Danny Batth, Pat Buckley, John Burridge, Gordon Cowans, Jody Craddock, Mel Eves, Bob Hatton, Martin Johnson, John McAlle, Chris Marsden, Hans Segers, Bernard Shaw, Paul Simpson, Paul Stancliffe, Mark Todd, Tony Towner and Peter Withe.

Walsall: Paul Hall, Derek Pace, Ben Purkiss and Gerry Summers.

NB: Jimmy Hagan played for Sheffield United and managed Albion; Arthur Rowley played for Albion and Wolves (in WWII) and later bossed United; Joe Mercer managed both Villa and United; Howard Kendall played for Blues and managed United; Jim 'Bald Eagle' Smith was a player with United and later managed Blues; John Barnwell was a player with United and manager of Wolves; among the many others who have a player/coach connection with one of our Midland clubs and the Blades are: Geoff Vowden (Villa and Blues), Frank Barlow (Blues), Alan Hodgkinson (Villa) and Jim Barron and John Harris (Wolves).

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY were leading Aston Villa 3-1 in a home League game in November 1898 but with just 11 minutes remaining the referee abandoned the contest due to 'fading light'. The remaining eleven minutes were 'played' later in the season and Wednesday scored again to win 4-1 overall.

Villa walloped Wednesday 10-0 in a home League game in October 1912 – Harry Hampton scoring five times. This remains as the Owls' heaviest defeat at senior level.

Johnny Dixon played his last League game for Villa and Charlie Aitken his first, against Wednesday in April 1961.

Wednesday beat West Bromwich Albion 4-2 in the 1935 FA Cup final at Wembley. The Owls led 1-0 and 2-1 before scoring twice late on Ellis Rimmer to deny the Baggies a second final victory in four years.

In their last League game of the 1895-96 season Albion had to beat Wednesday by at least five goals to stay in the First Division! They actually went out and won 6-0 at Stoney Lane to stay up!

Tony Brown scored one of his finest goals for Albion – a right-footed volley from an over-the-shoulder long ball – against the Owls in a third round FA Cup-tie at Hillsborough in 1970.

Albion beat Wednesday 5-4 in a thrilling League game at Hillsborough on Boxing Day 1952; just 24 hours later with both teams unchanged, the Owls won 1-0 at the Hawthorns.

Wolves lost 2-1 to Sheffield Wednesday in the 1896 FA Cup final at the Crystal Palace.

Three penalties were awarded in the Wolves-Wednesday League game at Molineux in March 1983. Wolves' goalkeeper John Burridge saved two as the owls were beaten 1-0.

After two draws and 210 minutes of action on the pitch, Wolves went on to beat Wednesday 4-3 on penalties in a fourth round FA Cup replay in January 1993.

When Blues gained promotion to the First Division in 1920-21 they doubled up over the Owls, winning 4-0 (h) and 2-0 (a).

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