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A-Z of West Midlands Football

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: December 15, 2013

By Tony Matthews

  • Joe Reader

  • Mick Rathbone

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MICK RATHBONE

- who was on schoolboy forms at Villa Park - made 25 appearances for Birmingham City in the 1970s.

An efficient right-back, he was born in Sheldon in November 1958, he spent five years at St Andrew's (1974-79) before transferring to Blackburn Rovers (after a loan spell at Ewood Park).

His next club was Preston North End (signed in 1987) but he was forced to retire (injured) in 1991 at which point he became Commercial Manager of Darwen. A year later he was appointed player-physiotherapist of Halifax Town and at one point acted as caretaker-manager.

After returning to Preston, as physio/trainer, being part of David Moyes' backroom staff, he then followed Moyes to Everton (March 2002) and spent nearly eight years at Goodison Park, becoming head of sports medicine, a post he left in May 2010.

After leaving Everton, Mick went on to establish a business combining sports injury consultancy with motivational and after-dinner speaking. In January 2011, he rejoined Preston on a part-time basis and also worked with the England U17 squad. Nicknamed 'Basil' or 'Baz', in reference to actor Basil Rathbone, his autobiography, The Smell of Football, was long-listed for the 2011 William Hill Sports Book of the Year.

Capped twice by England at youth team level, Mick's career realised over 450 club appearances (384 in the League). His son joined the Manchester United Academy in 2009.

PAUL RAVEN scored 21 goals in 304 first-class appearances for Albion between March 1989 and July 2000. A fine defender, strong in the air and on the ground, he helped the Baggies beat Port Vale 3-0 in the Second Division play-off final at Wembley in 1993 when he partnered Gary Strodder at the heart of the back-four.

Born in Salisbury in July 1970, Paul started his career with Doncaster Rovers in 1986. He moved to The Hawthorns for a fee of £150,000 and after loan spells with his former club and also Rotherham United, he switched to Grimsby Town (signed by manager Alan Buckley), later assisting Carlisle United and Barrow, the latter as player-coach. An England schoolboy international, capped in 1985, he made almost 500 club appearances during his career.

HARRY RAW was an inside-forward who could also fill in at left-half. He netted seven times in just 27 appearances for Albion whom he served from February 1931 to July 1936.

Born in the North-east of England in July 1903, Harry played for Durham County and Huddersfield Town before transferring to the Baggies. Understudy to the likes of Joe Carter and Teddy Sandford, and also Jack Rix, Jack Sankey and Jimmy 'Iron' Edwards, he was a reliable reserve, making almost 150 appearances for Albion's second XI, helping them win the Central League championship three years running.

Prior to his association with the Baggies, Harry was a member of Huddersfield's 1926 League Division One and 1930 FA Cup winning teams. He joined Lincoln City on leaving The Hawthorns, retired in May 1939 and during WW2 coached at several schools. He died in Durham West in November 1965, aged 62.

SID RAWLINGS, the son of Archie who won the FA Cup with Preston in 1922, spent just 15 months with West Bromwich Albion - from March 1935 to June 1936. Reserve to Tommy Glidden, he scored once in ten first team outings for the Baggies before leaving for Northampton Town, later serving with Millwall, Everton (1945-46) and Plymouth Argyle, eventually retiring in April 1948.

Born in Wombwell, Yorkshire in May 1913, Sid played for his father's club, Preston and also Huddersfield Town before becoming a Baggie. He also turned out as a guest player for Clapton Orient, Rochdale, PNE, Liverpool, Southport and Stockport County during WW2 and overall his League/Cup career realised a total of 254 club appearances (70 goals scored). Sid died at the age of 43 in Penarth in July 1956.

TIM RAWLINGS was reserve to Albion stars Ray Barlow and Jimmy Dudley before moving to Walsall in June 1956. He spent the next seven years at Fellows Park, starring in 207 competitive games (five goals scored) and helped the Saddlers win the Fourth Division championship in 1960 and gain promotion to the Second Division the following season.

Born in Coleshill, Warwickshire in November 1932, Tim was at The Hawthorns for six years without breaking into the first team and on leaving Walsall he joined Port Vale. After retiring he chose to work at the Lucas factory here in the Midlands.

ALBERT RAWSON netted nine goals in 19 appearances for Birmingham, whom he served from February 1923 until August 1924 when he joined Barnsley.

A centre-forward, born in West Melton in October 1900, he was reserve to Joe Bradford at St Andrew's. Albert died in Yorkshire in 1980.

TOM RAYBOULD was a hard-tackling half-back who found the net once in his 15 first team outings for Wolves whom he served from May 1905 until June 1907.

Born in the village of Wilden near Stourport in July 1884, he played initially for Kidderminster Harriers and after leaving Molineux starred for Grimsby Town, later assisting Worksop, Brierley Hill and Stourbridge. Tom died in Birmingham in 1944.

JOE READER was a brilliant goalkeeper who made 370 appearances for Albion over a period of 16 years. Born in West Bromwich in February 1866, he attended Beeches Road and St Phillips Schools (West Bromwich) and joined Albion as an amateur in January 1885, turning professional seven months later.

A goalkeeper to rank with the finest the game has produced, Joe was superb in handling, could use both feet, and had reflexes to match the best, often diverting goalbound shots or headers to safety with arms, legs, shoulders, chest, back and even his head.

He starred in 315 League games, 39 FA Cup ties and 16 other senior games for Albion, as well as starring in more than 150 local Cup matches and friendlies during his time with the club.

He was an ever-present in five League campaigns during the 1890s, participated in the 1892 and 1895 FA Cup finals, gained one England cap (against Ireland in 1894), represented the Football League three times and also played once for the League XI.

A dedicated club man, his love for the club was ably demonstrated when he turned out in one match with his arm in a sling.

Nicknamed 'Kicker', he is the only player to have served Albion on three of their home grounds – Four Acres, Stoney Lane and The Hawthorns.

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