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.
West Bromwich Albion 'A' v Cheltenham Town,
Birmingham Combination, The Hawthorns, Tuesday 26th December 1933
This month’s featured programme comes from the festive period
80 years ago when the Baggies and The Hawthorns hosted
Cheltenham Town in a Birmingham
The competition was formed in 1892, three years after the
Birmingham & District League, to cater for those clubs which held 'junior'
membership of the Birmingham County Football Association, and was so initially
called the Birmingham & District Junior League. The eight founder member clubs
were Aston St James, Bournbrook, Bournville,
Ellen Street Victoria, Hamstead,
Kings Heath Albion, Park Mills, and Soho Villa, the latter club becoming the
league’s inaugural champions.
In 1908 the league changed its name to the Birmingham
Combination. The Combination initially acted as a "feeder" league to the then
superior Birmingham & District League, but by the 1930s it had grown in prestige
and had come to be regarded as the stronger of the two leagues.
Walsall became the first local
Football League club to enter a team in the competition when in 1923 they
entered their reserve team, they were followed in 1928 by Birmingham, in 1932 by
Wolves and in 1933 by Albion. Aston Villa were the last of the local league
sides to enter a team, doing so in 1935.
In 1952 the Birmingham & District League, which had by now
regained its status as the top league in the area, suggested a merger between
the two competitions, but the Combination rejected the idea. Several of the
Combination's top teams then left to join it's rival. The depleted Combination
revived the idea of a merger but it was rejected and, when all but
Albion defected to the League in
1954, the Combination was effectively absorbed by the Birmingham & District
Albion, like Birmingham, Villa
and Wolves entered only their third team - their ‘A’ team. The first few years
of the Baggies’ participation saw the club continually finish in the top six of
the league, their best seasons being 1935/36 and 1936/37 when they finished as
runners-up. Following the Second World War Albion struggled for success, the
1950/51 season saw the club finish bottom of the twenty team league.
The Baggies’ final season in the competition came in 1953/54,
and despite the absence of a number of the better clubs,
Albion could still only finish
tenth out of fourteen clubs.
Birmingham & District League lives on to this day, now known as the West
Midlands (Regional) League.
12 page programme for the game, much like all pre-Second World War issues, is
extremely rare with copies often changing hands for over £75 when and if they
View the complete programme here