Long before West Bromwich Albion was associated with the name “The Throstles”, the inhabitants of West Bromwich were traditionally known as “throstles” dating back to the 1750s. This intriguing connection to these songbirds holds an endearing tale behind its origin, shrouded in the town’s history and footballing folklore.
A Gentle Resilience: The Throstles’ Symbolic Connection
Legend has it that the name “Throstle” can be traced back to a charming association with the donkeys grazing upon the town’s open common lands. The distinctive bray of these donkeys was humorously likened to the sweet-voiced thrush, bestowing the endearing moniker “throstles” upon the townsfolk. This gentle yet resilient nature of the thrush found its symbolic connection to West Bromwich Albion.
As time went on, the nickname “The Throstles” gained more prominence, becoming a symbol of pride for the club and its passionate fans. The throstle’s symbolic connection to the town’s history resonated with the club’s values, fostering a deep bond between the avian name and West Bromwich Albion.
West Brom’s Peculiar Mascots and Enigmatic Associations
In the 1930s, a throstle was kept at West Bromwich Albion, becoming a peculiar yet endearing mascot for the club. The bird’s presence added a unique charm to the stadium atmosphere, captivating fans and players alike. But the influence of the throstle extended beyond the club’s confines.
Another enigmatic twist of fate occurred in the late 1800s when another throstle found a home at The Globe, further deepening the connection between the avian symbol and the footballing world. The peculiar presence of throstles in both the club and the town added a touch of whimsy to the footballing landscape, leaving an indelible mark on the club’s identity.
The Intriguing Footballing Landscape of West Bromwich
Around the time of Albion’s formation, West Bromwich boasted several teams:
- West Bromwich Royal
- West Bromwich Sandwell
- West Bromwich Rovers
- Christ Church
- Sandwell Road
- Oak Villa
- Black Lake Victoria
- West Bromwich Strollers
Interestingly, the term “Strollers” was not exclusive to Albion, as Wednesbury and Bloxwich also had teams with the same name. In the Victorian era, numerous clubs were emerging, encompassing cricket, boxing, and football.
Contrary to a romantic tale, “Strollers” referred to teams without a fixed playing area. Considering the multitude of teams in the area, it seems improbable that there was no place in town to buy a ball, especially with West Bromwich being larger than Wednesbury.
West Bromwich Strollers were founded in 1878 by members of George Salter Spring Cricket club, while West Bromwich Albion emerged when lads from The Albion estate united to form a single team.
Billy Bassett, one of Albion’s greatest players, played for West Bromwich Strollers in 1886, even after it was believed that the Strollers had disbanded.
The lineup in the first two fixtures against Hudson’s and Black Lake Victoria was nearly entirely different, with the exception of J. Stokes and G. Bell, raising questions about the rapid changes in personnel for a newly formed team: B. Roberts, G. Bell, J. Stanton, J. Forrester, H. Evans, T. Waterfield, J. Siddons, J. Stokes, S. Evans, E. Evans, W. Jones, and S. Jones played in the game against Hudson’s, while S. Biddlestone, H. Twist, H. Bell, T. Smith, J. Johnstone, J. Stanton, W. Bisseker, J. Stokes, E. Smith, G. Timmins, H. Aston, and G. Bell played in the second game against Black Lake Victoria.
It seems strange that a newly formed team would change personnel that quickly in such a short space of time.
Four years after the Staffordshire Cup victory in 1883 as West Bromwich Albion, the lineup included eight players from a combination of Strollers and Albion: B. Roberts, H. Bell, J. Stanton, E. Horton, Bunn, While, H. Aston, Whitehouse, G. Timmins, W. Bisseker, G. Bell. Eight of this lineup was a combination of Strollers and Albion.
A Beacon of Hope and Camaraderie
Through the passage of time, “The Throstles” became synonymous with the club’s identity, signifying the unyielding spirit and harmony between the team and its devoted supporters. The cherished throstle emblem adorning the club’s crest became a beacon of hope and camaraderie, inspiring players to soar to new heights on the field and instilling a sense of pride in the hearts of the fans.
An Everlasting Legacy
Today, the legacy of “The Throstles” endures as a testament to the club’s rich history and the enduring bond between West Bromwich Albion and its devoted supporters. The whimsical tale of the throstles has become an integral part of football folklore, adding to the mystique and charm of one of England’s most beloved football clubs.
The unique and enduring nickname continues to evoke a sense of pride and unity among fans, encapsulating the unyielding spirit and harmony between the team and its passionate supporters. The avian name remains a cherished symbol of the club’s heritage, preserving a whimsical connection to its past and inspiring future generations of football enthusiasts to carry the legacy of “The Throstles” forward.
Article by John Nicholls Throstle Image: Tony Hisgett, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
The nickname comes from the traditional term used to refer to the people of West Bromwich as “throstles,” dating back to the 1750s.
According to legend the name “throstle” was humorously associated with the donkeys grazing on common lands due to their braying resembling the sweet-voiced thrush.
No, the throstle’s influence extended to the local football scene. In the 1930s, a throstle was kept as a mascot at West Bromwich Albion.
In the Victorian era, many inns and establishments kept pets as a form of amusement, adding a touch of whimsy to the footballing landscape.
Yes, as the charming association between the bird and the club took root, the nickname became a symbol of pride for West Bromwich Albion.
The cherished throstle emblem stands as a beacon of hope, camaraderie, and unyielding spirit between the team and its devoted supporters.
The gentle yet resilient nature of the throstle symbolizes the enduring bond between West Bromwich Albion and its passionate fans.
The whimsical tale of the throstles has become a part of football folklore, adding to the mystique and charm of the beloved football club.
Today, it represents the rich history and unwavering connection between West Bromwich Albion and its devoted supporters, inspiring the team to soar to new heights on the field.