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.
Preston North End v
West Bromwich Albion, FA Cup Final, Wembley Stadium, Saturday 1st May 1954
Sixty years on from
Albion’s fourth FA Cup triumph,
this month’s featured programme comes from the Baggies’ clash with Preston North
End at Wembley.
The two clubs had met in one final before, back in 1888 when
Albion caused a huge upset by beating the ‘Invincibles’ 2-1 at Kennington Oval.
This time it was Albion that went
into the game as favourites having had a superb season that saw them pushing for
the league and cup ‘double’ right up until the very end of the league campaign,
Vic Buckingham’s men eventually finishing in second place four points behind
Black Country rivals Wolves. Preston meanwhile, captained by the legendary Tom
Finney, finished in 11th position.
To underline Albion’s position as favourites the Baggies had
already recorded two league victories over the ‘Lilywhites’ during the season,
2-0 at Deepdale in August and 3-2 at The Hawthorns in January.
The evenly matched game burst into life on 21 minutes when
Albion that took the lead
through Ronnie Allen following good work by winger George Lee. The lead would
last just 55 seconds though, North End equalising through an Angus Morrison
header. Despite the setback Albion started to pile on the pressure and were
undoubtedly on top when referee Arthur Luty blew the whistle for half-time.
The Baggies started the second-half brightly but on 51
minutes Preston took the
lead when Charlie Wayman netted despite claims from the
Albion defence that the striker was offside. The goal saw the
Lilywhites grow in confidence but Albion hit back on 63 minutes when Ray Barlow
was brought down in the box by Tommy Docherty, Allen stepping up to net his
second of the game.
On 88 minutes and with the match seemingly heading for
extra-time Frank Griffin wrote his name down in FA Cup folklore when he broke
clear and netted from a tight-angle past
Preston keeper George Thompson.
There would be no immediate equaliser this time and the Baggies held on to claim
their fourth FA Cup Final win.
Albion: Jim Sanders, Joe Kennedy, Len Millard, Jimmy Dudley, Jimmy Dugdale, Ray
Barlow, Frank Griffin, Reg Ryan, Ronnie Allen, Johnny Nicholls, George Lee.
Preston: George Thompson, Willie Cunningham, Joe Walton, Tommy Docherty, Joe
Marston, Willie Forbes, Tom Finney, Bobby Foster, Charlie Wayman, Jimmy Baxter,
Referee: Arthur Luty (Leeds)
Attendance: 99,852 (receipts £49,883)
Only two of the 22 players that played at Wembley are alive today - Tommy
Docherty (86) and Joe Marston (88). Albion's last surviving member from the game
- Ray Barlow, died in March 2012 at the age of 85.
20 page programme for the game isn't too rare with copies still coming up for
sale fairly regularly although you can expect to pay in the region of £40-50 for
View the complete programme here