West Brom 1946

1940’s – Games, results and tables

In the league season of 1939-40, only three games were played, but the results were deleted from the records when, on 3rd September, Britain was once again at war with Germany.

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Immediately, all organized football was suspended, but unlike the first war, not all games were suspended it was generally decided that football of a somewhat limited regional nature should continue for the entertainment of the munitions- workers in their limited leisure time. Albion resumed in the Midland Regional League.

During the first six years of the War, all football was regionalized with the same teams meeting five or six times a year, attendances plunged, sometimes dipping below the one thousand mark

Albion never really shone in the league competition after finishing as runners-up in that first war season neither did they do particularly well in the two Cup tournaments set up, mainly due to the lack of availability of their players due to the war, during the 1942-3 season, a club record of fifty-four players were fielded, a record which, with today’s wage costs will never be beaten!

Clubs struggled to raise a team, the use of locally based ‘guest’ players was sanctioned, and Albion made full use of this dispensation from 1941 onwards. Many class players from other clubs appeared in the Albion team – England ‘keeper Gil Merrick, the Arsenal full-back pair of Scott and Hapgood and full-back Jack Smith of Chelsea, who became the Albion’s first manager. The performances of some of the guests earned them a permanent transfer goalkeeper Jim Sanders and Peter McKennan of Partick Thistle

In 1944 when the Albion carried off their one and only War-time trophy – the Midland Cup. Only winning one of their four qualifying games against Nottingham Forest and Wolves, the competition proper was reached where first Walsall and then Stoke were eliminated to gain a two-leg Final meeting with the Nottingham Forest.

Forest were clear favourites to win the Cup, having beaten Albion twice in the qualifiers and their case was strengthened when they shared four goals in the Hawthorns first leg – and worse was to come.

In the deciding second leg, Albion were two down inside the first quarter of an hour and completely outplayed – but, like so many times in the past, the old Albion Cup spirit rallied and Aquaroff, guesting from Hull City, pulled back a five minutes before the break. This spurred on the whole team and young Frank Hodgetts headed a splendid equalizer on seventy minutes to give a full-time scoreline of 2-2.

Twenty minutes of extra time were scheduled and Albion were forced to defend. With so much pressure by the home team, a goal was inevitable and come it did, one minute from the end of extra time. Albion equalized direct from the kick-off, to silence the celebrating Forest fans.

Even as the teams walked back to the centre-spot, the referee signalled the end of extra time and announced that play would continue until a winner emerged, ‘sudden-death’ style, with the first team to score winning the Cup. Aquaroff, who hit a neat goal from an Ike Clarke pass in the 119th minute of play, enabling skipper Sandy McNab to collect the trophy from the Mayor of Nottingham for the club’s first senior trophy in thirteen years.

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