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I am in the dark at Bilston team's floodlights claim

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: March 29, 2014

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I WOULD like to reply to Albert Cross's letter and 1952 photograph which appeared in the Black Country Bugle (January 30 edition) about the first football team to have floodlights.

Bilston United certainly played under floodlights in the early 1950s, but I am confused!

My records show - and so do those at Molineux - that October 4, 1952, was a Saturday and that afternoon Wolves hammered Manchester United 6-2 at Molineux in front of almost 40,000 fans, while the reserves, with Eddie Stuart in the side, contested a Central League game against Bolton Wanderers' second XI at Burnden Park.

In fact, Wolves' senior team 'first' played Bilston Town at their Queen Street ground on March 10, 1953, in a friendly arranged to 'officially' switch on the non-League club's first floodlighting system. A crowd of around 2,000 saw Wolves win 4-2.

The first football match played under floodlights - anywhere in the world - was between a Sheffield XI and a local junior team from the same Yorkshire city, at Bramall Lane, on October 14, 1878.

The first in Scotland followed eleven days later when Third Lanark beat Vale of Leven 2-1 in a friendly at Cathkin Park.

The first Football League club to install lights was Arsenal, who played Hapoel Tel Aviv in a friendly at Highbury in September 1951. The Gunners won 6-1.

England's first floodlit international was against the USA in New York in June 1953 (won 6-3).

The first floodlit FA Cup-tie (in the qualifying round) was between two of our local clubs -Kidderminster Harriers and Brierley Hill Alliance - at Aggborough on September 14, 1955, while the first FA Cup game involving two Football League clubs took place two months later when Carlisle United met Darlington in a first round second replay at Newcastle's St James' Park ground.

Seven months earlier, on February 22, 1955, Newcastle won 2-0 at Portsmouth in the first ever Division One floodlit game.

The first 'home' floodlit games played by our five Midland League clubs were: Aston Villa, 1956 v. GAIS/Sweden; Birmingham City, 1956 v. Borussia Dortmund; Walsall, 1956 v. Falkirk; West Bromwich Albion, 1957 v. CDSA Moscow and Wolves, 1953 v. South Africa.

I hope that helps put the record straight.

Tony Matthews,

(football historian

and statistician).


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