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A-Z of West Midlands football

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: February 19, 2014

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KIERAN RICHARDSON

Richardson scored 3 goals in 12 outings for Albion when on loan from Manchester United during January-May 2005. And his last strike clinched victory over Portsmouth on the final day of the season, which ensured the Baggies' stayed in the Premiership.

Born in Greenwich, London in October 1984, Kieran was a junior with West Ham United before signing for Manchester United in April 2001, turning professional eighteen months later.

Generally regarded as a wide midfielder who can also play at left-back, he has excellent all round skills, and won the FA Youth Cup with the Reds in 2003. He was capped by England at U21 level, versus Holland and Germany in February/March 2005 and was then selected by coach Sven Goran Eriksson to tour the US with the full England Squad in June 2005, netting twice on his senior debut against the USA. Kieran played for Sunderland from 2007-13 (making 134 League appearances) and he is now with Fulham.

SAMMY RICHARDSON

Sammy was a superb right-half who netted once in 212 appearances for Albion between February 1913 and August 1927.

Born in West Bromwich in August 1894, he was a pupil at Whitehall Road School (Great Bridge) and played for Greets Green Prims, Great Bridge Juniors and Great Bridge Celtic before moving to The Hawthorns.

A guest for Oldbury Town and Coventry City during World War One, he then helped Albion win the First Division Championship in 1920 and finish runners-up in Division One in 1925, as well as playing his part in three successive Central League championship-winning teams. He also played for the Football League side and the FA XI in 1921.

Sold to Newport County for £450 in 1927, he went on to assist Aldershot and Kidderminster Harriers (1931–35) before retiring from football to take employment in a local Black Country factory.

He and his brother, Bill Richardson (below), were at The Hawthorns together in 1926–27. Sammy died in West Bromwich in September 1959

WILLIAM (Bill)

RICHARDSON

Bill gave Albion great service for eleven years, making 352 appearances and scoring one goal.

Born in Great Bridge, Tipton in February 1908, like his brother Sammy, he also played for Greets Green Prims and Great Bridge Celtic before joining Albion as a professional, in November 1926.

He remained at The Hawthorns until May 1937 when he moved to Swindon Town for £200.

Later with Dudley Town (from September 1939) and Vono Sports FC (from August 1940) he retired in June 1941. An Albion scout (1950–53), Bill lived and worked in Hill Top, West Bromwich, until his death at the age of 77 in August 1985.

A shade casual at times, yet all in all Bill was a splendid centre-half, unflagging and especially good in the air. Initially he had 'wee' Tommy Magee on his right and Len Darnell to his left – and, thus, formed a steady, reliable middle line for Albion.

He was then joined in the half-back sector by Jimmy 'Iron' Edwards and starred in both the 1931 and 1935 FA Cup finals, collecting a winners' medal in the former while holding the defence together as the Baggies clinched promotion in their unique double winning campaign of 1931. Bill's only goal for Albion was in a 2-1 home League win over Black Country rivals Wolves in 1935.

'W.G.' (Billy) RICHARDSON

was a terrific centre-forward, sharp, clever and elusive He made a total of 444 appearances for Albion, scoring 328 goals, 202 of which came in League football alone (only Tony Brown has scored more).

Born in Framwellgate Moor, County Durham in May 1909, 'W.G.' represented Durham Schoolboys and played for Horden Wednesday FC, the United Bus Company (Hartlepool) and Hartlepools United before joining Albion for what would prove to be a bargain £1,250 in June 1929.

He remained a 'Baggie' until November 1945 when he switched to Shrewsbury Town for £250. At the end of that first post-WW2 season W.G. returned to The Hawthorns as assistant trainer-coach and was still on Albion's training staff when he collapsed and died while playing in a Charity Match in Birmingham in 1959. He had played as a guest for Derby County and Walsall during the War when free from Army duty.

On his day 'W.G.' had few equals and no superiors at snapping up half-chances, especially those that flew hard and low across the face of the goal, from either wing, deflected or not. A truly dynamic centre-forward, during the 1930s he was seemingly always hitting the headlines and the back of the net.

He scored both goals when Albion beat Birmingham in the 1931 FA Cup final; secured the match-winning goal against Charlton Athletic which clinched promotion in that same season to bring them a unique double; grabbed four goals in five minutes at West Ham in November 1931; netted three times in six minutes against Derby County in 1933; set an Albion record with 40 League and Cup goals in season 1935–36 (which still holds good today) and he claimed a total of 14 hat-tricks in major League and Cup football, including four 'fours' (1933–35).

During World War Two 'W.G.' continued to crack in the goals and twice scored six times in matches against Luton Town and the RAF in 1941–42. He notched up five goals against Swansea Town in 1941 and fired in another five against Aston Villa in 1943.

His wartime scoring exploits were exceptional: 123 goals for Albion alone in only 106 games, including friendlies (exactly 100 in 'competitive' matches), and he gained a Midland Cup-winners' medal in 1944 (v Nottingham Forest).

He also played and scored for the Metropolitan Police, the National Police and Civil Defence teams during the hostilities.

After that, he continued to net regularly for Shrewsbury Town, grabbing 55 more goals before returning to The Hawthorns as trainer-coach in 1946.

During a brilliant career, Albion's hot-seat striker won just one full England cap, lining up against Holland in 1935. He deserved a lot more. For the record, 'W.G.' also netted 50 Central League goals for Albion (eight hat-tricks) in his first season with the club, going on to total 83 in only 79 Second XI outings. He made his Baggies debut against Millwall (home) in Division Two on Boxing Day in 1929, scoring in a 6–1 win.

NB: The letter 'G' was added to his name simply to help people distinguish him from the other William Richardson who was on Albion's books at the same time. The 'G' stood for ginger, the colour of his hair.

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