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 v Crystal Palace, Full Members
Cup - Group Match, The Hawthorns, Wednesday 23rd October 1985
As Albion prepare for the visit of Crystal Palace to The
Hawthorns, this month’s featured matchday programme comes from an ‘Eagles’ visit
some 28 years ago in the short-lived Full Members Cup competition.
The competition was created after English clubs were banned
from European football following the Heysel Stadium disaster and numerous other
hooliganism incidents. Only First and Second Division clubs could enter but not
all chose to do so. Even the incentive of a Wembley final couldn’t entice most
clubs with only five First Division sides entering the first season of the
competition - Albion,
Chelsea, Coventry City, Manchester City and Oxford United.
The 1985/86 competition started off with eight groups, of
which the winners of each progressed to a knock out stage,
Albion were paired with Brighton
& Hove Albion and Crystal Palace.
The Baggies’ first match took place at Brighton where two
goals from Garth Crooks helped the visitors to a 2-1 victory over a Brighton
side containing Martin Keown, Dean Saunders, Dennis Mortimer and a future Albion
signing - Kieran O’Regan.
Three weeks on and
Albion faced Palace with the knowledge that a win would ensure
Nobby Stiles’ men would qualify for the knock-out stage. There would be no slip
up against the Londoners, goals from Steve Hunt and Jimmy Nicholl giving the
Baggies another 2-1 win, Jim Cannon hitting Palace’s consolation.
As insignificant as the game was to most, it was very
significant to one player, a certain Steve Bull, who made his first team debut
as a substitute. Now, whatever happened to him?
The full line-ups for the game, watched by just 3,764 fans,
Albion: David Powell, Jimmy Nicholl, Carlton Palmer,
Steve Hunt, Martyn Bennett, Michael Forsyth, Carl Valentine, Tony Grealish,
Gerry Armstrong (Gary Robson), Clive Whitehead, Garth Crooks (Steve Bull).
Crystal Palace: George Wood, Ken O’Doherty, Paul Brush
(David Lindsay), Kevin Taylor, Micky Droy, Jim Cannon, Alan Irvine, Tony
Finnigan, Trevor Aylott, Phil Barber (Ian Wright), Andy Higginbottom.
In the next round Albion would be handed a home tie against
Chelsea, whose Chairman Ken Bates was one of the prime movers in organising the
competition. After the game had finished 2-2 after extra time (Valentine and
Crooks the hosts' scorers), Albion’s involvement in the cup would come to an end
following a 5-4 defeat on penalties.
Chelsea would go on to lift the trophy at Wembley, winning a
thrilling game against Manchester City 5-4 with future Albion loanee David
Speedie hitting a hat-trick for the London side.
Albion’s campaign would not have a happy ending, the club
recording all sorts of unwanted records on their way to finishing bottom of the
First Division in what was arguably the Baggies’ worst ever season.
The Full Members Cup would last until 1992, becoming the
Simod Cup in 1987 and then the Zenith Data Systems Cup in 1989. A lack of real
interest in the competition and the arrival of the Premier League knocking the
final nail in the cup’s coffin.
The matchday programme is nothing remarkable, a very basic
four page issue infact, but even still is something of a rarity, not being seen
too often on dealer’s lists or ebay.
View the complete programme for the game here