Another season beckons and further changes have taken place. May the Association take this opportunity of wishing our new Head Coach, his Staff & the Playing Squad all the best for the forthcoming season.
Again The Association will be providing Former Players in the East Stand Hospitality areas throughout the new season. It is really good that the relationship between the Commercial Department and Former Players enables the Guests to benefit from a match day experience hosted by a Former Player and treated to the experiences of some true Legends. This season we have added Paul Raven to our list of MC's so now we have the four Former Players in Ray Wilson, Derek Monaghan, Ian Hamilton and the new boy Paul Raven.
Saturday 18th August LIVERPOOL: MC will be Derek Monaghan and the guests will be Former Captain and 1968 FA Cup Winner, Welsh International and a true Legend Graham Williams, he will be joined by another defender though this one had the No2 on his back, President of the FPA and still involved in many aspects of Football and Sport in general Brendon Batson MBE.
Saturday 1st September EVERTON: MC will be Ian Hamilton and his guests will be both Former Players from the same era, Bob Taylor, scorer of many fine goals through the 90's and member of Wembley Promotion winning side, joining Bob will be the Dutch maestro, brought here from Bolton by Alan Buckley another fan's favourite Richard Sneekes.
Saturday 22nd September READING: MC will be our new boy Paul Raven and joining Paul will be Darren Bradley, Darren joined from Villa and played in the Promotion Play Off side enjoying a successful career at The Hawthorns, a former WBA captain. Joining Darren anbother from the Promotion Winning Play Off side Steve Lilwall. Steve joined from Kidderminster made a total of 84 appearances at left back but never scored during his stay.
Saturday 6th October QPR: MC will be Derek Monaghan and he will have as his Guests 2 iconic centre forwards. He played for The Baggies betwen 1991 and 1994, also played for QPR. Wayne Ferriday played 43 times scoring 3 goals also made 10 sub appearance. Another who played for QPR in 1991,made 105 appearances, scoring 45 times for WBA, also played for Villa, Coventry, Sheffield Wed & Cardiff Gary Thompson. Both are still involved in football.
Saturday 20th October Manchester City: MC is Association Chairman Ray Wilson and his guests are Gary Owen who played for both City and the Albion, Gary made 225 appearances in the blue & white shirt, Gary can be found on match days hosting a hospitality suite at The Eastlands, and with Gary is our long serving centre half Daryl Burgess, Daryl made 359 appearances between joining as an Apprentice in 1987 until his departure in 2001, Daryl today coaches young aspiring footballers and also does DJ work.
Monday 5th November Southampton: MC Ian Hamilton, who strated his career at The Saints. We welcome a first timer in Clive Whitehead, Clive joined WBA from Bristol City in 1981 and made 183 appearances at right back, a popular member of the squad and known for many years as "Scrumpy". Another making a rare appearance is former goalkeeper Mark Grew, Mark also played at Ipswich Town and is currently a Coach at Port Vale for whom he is part of a band of ex Baggies who played for both The Vale and WBA. "Barney" made 47 appearances for the Albion including the semi final v QPR in 1982.
Saturday 17th November Chelsea: MC Paul Raven making his second appearance of the season. Paul will be joined by the "older" generation of Former Player in Stan Jones and Mick Fudge. Stan was a fine centre half through the 60's joining from Walsall making 267 appearances but only scoring 3 times. Mick, a Bristol lad, made only 16 appearances but scored a hat trick against Everton in March 1964. Both extremely popular figures amongst supporters.
Saturday 1st December Stoke City: MC Former Players Association Chairman Ray Wilson. Ray will have joining him a stalwart from the 60's Alec Jackson, local Tipton lad who made 208 appearances scoring 52 goals, alongside Alec is Nick Cross who played for the other Stoke based team Port Vale. Nick made 79 appearances scoring 19 goals playing in 6 different numbered shirts. Nick & Alec both had spells with Walsall during there careers.
Sunday 16th December West Ham: MC Derek Monaghan. This fixture coincides with the Associations AGM so we will have a number of Former Players in attendance including a return from Spain especially for this game Derek Statham and attending for the first time ex Baggie Michael Perry.
Saturday 22nd December Norwich: MC Ian Hamilton. Joining Ian is Big Ron's Assistant Manager Colin Addison. Colin has a vast experience in our beloved game and currently is on the board of Hereford United. alongside Colin is John Lovatt, "Shack" as he was known played centre forward in his time at West Brom.
Tuesday 1st January Fulham: MC Paul Raven. Our guests are the formidable duo of Ally Robertson & Joe Mayo, great friends during their time at WBA and remain so today. Ally needs no introduction he is the 2nd longest servant to the Club, formed a excellent defensive partnership with John Wile. Joe joined from Walsall, being a Tipton lad. He played in the memorable game at Oldham before moving onto Orient & Hong Kong.
Tuesday 15th January QPR: MC Derek Monaghan. Many a memorable night has been spent watching Cup replays and tonight might be another. The Guest is making his debut! Ray Fairfax who wore the No 2 shirt on many occasions including the 1965 League Cup Final. Ray left the Albion for Northampton before returning to run the ticket Office.
Saturday 19th January Aston Villa: MC Ray Wilson. Can their be no bigger Derby than the one against the boys from Aston, so joining us as guests are 2 Former Players who played for both Clubs. Cricketer/ Footballer Jimmy Cumbes joined the Villa after a successful career at the Hawthorns where he battled it out for the No 1 position with John Osborne. Jim has just retired from CEO at Lancashire Cricket Club. A great favourite and he really does not need any introduction Cyrille Regis is our other Guest. Cyrille is revered affectionately throughout the Midlands having plied his trade at both the Hawthorns & Villa Park under Ron Atkinson.
Sunday 3rd February Tottenham Hotspur: MC Derek Monaghan. John Giles is our Guest , the Irish International carved out a great career playing for Man United and more famously for Leeds United during the Revie era. John joined the Baggies as Player/Manager and steered us to promotion in the memorable game at Oldham. He left to manage Vancouver before rejoining as Manager though this period was not as successful. John will captivate any audience.
Saturday 23rd February Sunderland: MC: Ian Hamilton. 2 Black Country born Tipton boys, he made 208 appearances scoring 52 goals Alec Jackson was described as a plucky utility forward. He never ventured far from his routes playing for Birmingham & Walsall amongst his clubs. The other Tipton boy is Joe Mayo, Joe was ill New Years Day so making up for lost time. Joe made 84 appearances + 6 as sub scoring 20 goals. He also played for Walsall, left WBA for Leyton Orient then a spell in Hong Kong.
Saturday 9th March Swansea: MC Paul Raven. Only one Superbob, yes Bob Taylor returning to the Guest Speaking circuit. Bob played in the Swansea Play Off semi final in 1993 & strangely enough being such a prolific scorer never scored in the semi finals or final. Alongside Bob is another No 9 in Stewart Phillips, Stewart played for both Clubs, joining WBA from Hereford in 1988 playing only 15 times scoring 4 goals. He joined Swansea in February 1989.
Saturday 6th April Arsenal: MC Ray Wilson. If you have this Character he does not need a support alongside him, he has vast experience both as a player & administrator so our sole guest for Arsenal is someone that played 715 times wearing the No 5 shirt on 497 occasions, he was the Club Captain through 70's & who can forget the "blooded" bandage in the semi final v Ipswich. He became WBA's first Chief Executive/Director, we welcome John Wile.
Saturday 20th April Newcastle: MC Ian Hamilton If you are playing the Geordies then I suppose a Former Player from that area would not be a bad Guest, we welcome Gary Robson, Gary made 213 + 43 sub appearances joining the Albion in 1981 before signing for Bradford City in 1993. Alongside Gary we welcome another Northerner in Gary Strodder. Gary made 140 apperances including 2 as a sub, scored 9 goals. The two Gary's played alongside each other for 3 seasons, though not in the Play Off final in 1993.
Saturday 4th May Wigan: MC Paul Raven. He played for both Clubs Mark Grew is making a return appearance due to the Division 1 season now ended. Mark played on loan for Wigan between December 1978 & January 79, he made 48 appearances for the Baggies before moving to Leicester City then Ipswich Town.
Sunday 19th May Manchester United MC Ray Wilson He started us off as a Guest Speaker so 9 months later we welcome him back as a concluding guest for season 2012-13 Brendon Batson MBE. Brendon needs no introduction but his wealth of knowledge will entertain any audience.