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