Each month we take a look at an
Albion ‘programme from the past’. A number of the programmes will be rarities, allowing a much wider audience to view them, perhaps for the very first time.
United v West Bromwich Albion, Football League Division One, Old Trafford, Saturday
30th December 1978
The Baggies travel to Old Trafford this month to take on
current Premier League leaders Manchester United, almost exactly 34 years on
from a game at the same venue which has gone down in
December 30, 1978, Ron Atkinson’s Albion, who were third in the league,
travelled to Old Trafford hoping to keep the pressure on first-placed Liverpool
and second-placed Everton, in the chase for the first division title. What
transpired over the course of a bitterly cold 90 minutes was one of the greatest
ever performances from an Albion side.
The home side took the lead through a super strike from Brian
Greenhoff but Baggies’ legend Tony ‘Bomber’ Brown quickly notched an equaliser.
The visitors then took the lead through an outstanding Len Cantello strike after
good work from both Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis, two players who would
make even more of a contribution as the game wore on despite being targetted by
racists during the match.
Goals from Gordon McQueen and Sammy McIlroy looked like
giving the hosts a half-time lead but the ‘Bomber’ snatched a late equaliser in
the dying moments of the half, a goal Baggies’ boss Atkinson admitted he
‘I went in and told them that they didn’t deserve to be
losing 3-2 and that there was no reason in the world why we should not grab an
‘They all just sat there and looked at me like I was mad.
‘Then Tony Brown said: “Boss, it’s 3-3. I have just
‘Bomber had just run through and put the ball in at the
Stretford End but I had heard a whistle blow.
'I thought it had been too late. I thought it was half-time
‘And there he is staring at me as if I had just lost my
‘So I just told them: “Fair enough. Then go and get me a
The Baggies obliged, first Cunningham made it 4-3 after
another super team move then Regis, who had earlier been thwarted by two World class
saves by Gary Bailey in the United goal, made it 5-3.
game, watched by a crowd of 45,091, saw the two teams line up as follows:
Albion: Godden, Batson, Statham, T Brown, Wile, Robertson, Robson, A Brown,
Regis, Cantello, Cunningham.
United: Bailey, B Greenhoff, Houston, McIlroy, McQueen, Buchan, Coppell, J
Greenhoff, Ritchie, McCreery, Thomas.
Albion’s quest for a first
league championship since 1920 would however end in failure. Two defeats in
February - one of them against fellow title contenders Liverpool - and then a
run of six games without a win in April, enough to see the Baggies only manage a
third place finish. United, then under the leadership of Dave Sexton would finish
in 9th position.
The matchday programme itself was a typical United issue for
the season, although with a festive looking cover. It cost 15p for 24 pages and
is fairly ‘advert light’ with two pages devoted to the visitors.
The programme can usually be bought for around a couple of
View the complete programme here