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.

Dundee v West Bromwich Albion, Friendly, Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, USA, Sunday 24th May 1959

With Albion currently enjoying the Californian sun as part of their pre-season schedule, this month's featured programme comes from the club's first ever game 'Stateside'.

Albion first ventured across the North Atlantic at the end of the 1958/59 season to partake in a nine game tour, the bulk of which would take place in Canada. The opening game took place at the Varsity Stadium, Toronto, against an Ontario All Star XI. It would be a goal-laden start to a goal-laden tour, the Baggies running out 6-1 winners with Brian Whitehouse and Bobby Robson both netting twice. Two days later Albion travelled south for their solitary game in the States where they played out a 2-2 draw with Scottish club Dundee in front of 20,000 fans at Ebbets Field, New York, Ronnie Allen hitting both of the Albion goals. The two clubs would meet twice more within the next 12 days.

Back in Canada, Albion’s next opponents were the Alberta All Stars who were simply no match for Vic Buckingham’s side - Bobby Robson hitting six goals in a 15-0 stroll. Goals continued to be the order of the day with wins over Dundee (7-1 & 4-2), Manitoba All Stars (10-1), Ottawa All Stars (9-0) and Montreal All Stars (4-0). The Baggies only defeat on the tour came against the British Columbia All Stars when they lost 3-2 at the Empire Stadium, Vancouver.

Albion finished the tour with an impressive 59 goals from nine games, an average of 6.5 goals per game. Bobby Robson hit 12 of the goals, Ronnie Allen 11 and Brian Whitehouse 10.

Six years later the Baggies returned to North America, this time to take part in the New York International tournament. The initial stages of the competition would be in a group format, Albion facing three teams twice - Kilmarnock from Scotland (0-2 & 2-0), Polish side Polonia Bytom (2-2 & 0-6) and Ferencvaros from Hungary (1-1 & 1-2). The opposition would prove far tougher than on the club’s previous tour, Albion finishing third in their group of four, their solitary victory coming against the Scots.

The club’s third trip to North America took place in May 1969 and like the initial tour, the games would be split between Canada and the USA. The first two games, which took place in Canada, both ended in victories for the Baggies - 2-0 against Vancouver All Stars and 4-1 against Victoria O’Keefe’s. Alan Ashman’s men then travelled to California to take part in the Palo Alto tournament, Albion playing games against Dukla Prague (2-1), California Clippers (2-1), Vitoria de Setubal (0-1) and Edmonton All Stars (12-0).

The Baggies next travelled to the United States and Canada in May 1981 for games against Vancouver Whitecaps (1-2) Portland Timbers (1-0) and Edmonton Drillers (2-1). The game with Edmonton was Albion's last visit to Canada to-date.

The summer of 1990 saw the club make the journey to the States for a four game tour, two of which took place in the San Jose Cup. The four team tournament, which was held at the Spartan Stadium, San Jose, California, saw the Baggies line-up alongside illustrious opposition in Spanish giants Real Madrid, Cologne from Germany and Brazilian side Vasco da Gama. Albion took on Madrid in their first game but the gulf in class was way too wide for Brian Talbot’s men to bridge, Mexican legend Hugo Sanchez hitting five goals in a 6-1 stroll for the Spaniards. The third place play-off saw the Baggies lose 4-2 against Vasco Da Gama. Albion finished the tour with two games against American college opposition, Les Palmer hitting a hat-trick in a 6-1 win against Arizona Condors, before 24 hours later the Baggies played out a 1-1 draw with Los Angles Heat.

It would be 21  years before the club next ventured to North America, Roy Hodgson taking his team on a three game pre-season tour in July 2011 which saw games against San Jose Earthquakes (1-2), Ventura County Fusion (4-2) and Portland Timbers (3-2).

Programmes and teamsheets from all Albion's games in North America are pretty scarce nowadays, with perhaps the programmes for the three game tour in 1981 and the San Jose Tournament brochure the easiest ones to obtain.

The eight page programme for the game against Dundee as featured this month comes up every now and again with copies usually changing hands for at least £30.

View the complete programme here

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