West Bromwich Strollers

Is it true? Are the history books correct?

Long before the West Bromwich Albion where associated with the name the Throstles. The inhabitants of West Bromwich were traditionally known as “throstles” going back to 1750s. This could explain one of the many stories surrounding the Albion.

A throstle was kept at the Albion in the 1930s and a throstle also kept at The Globe in the late 1800s. Most inns kept some kind of pet in those days as form of amusement.

vintage, retro and classic west brom football shirts

The name Throstle is said to derive from the “numberless donkeys who grazed upon the open common lands and whose bray was thus satirically alluded to under the name of the sweet-voiced thrush”.

The other fact I have found since starting this site is that around the time of the formation of the Albion was that West Bromwich had quite a few teams:

  • West Bromwich Royal
  • West Bromwich Sandwell
  • West Bromwich Rovers
  • Christ Church
  • Sandwell Road
  • Oak Villa
  • Hudson’s
  • Black Lake Victoria
  • West Bromwich Strollers

The name Strollers was not solely used by the Albion as Wednesbury and Bloxwich had teams around the same time using Strollers. In Victorian times a lot of clubs were beginning to spring up Cricket clubs, boxing clubs, football clubs.

The term Strollers was used more for a team with no fixed playing area than anything to do with a romantic tale of taking a “stroll” to Wednesbury to buy a ball.

With so many teams in the area it would seem highly unlikely that there would not be anywhere in the town to buy a ball as West Bromwich was a larger town than Wednesbury.

It appears that West Bromwich Strollers were formed in 1878 by members of George Salter Spring Cricket club and that West Bromwich Albion were formed by a group of lads from The Albion estate, joined forces to amalgamate in to one team.

One of Albion’s greatest ever players Billy Bassett was playing for West Bromwich Strollers in 1886 eight years after it was thought the Strollers had been disbanded.

If you look at line up for the first two fixtures versus Hudson’s and Black Lake Victoria the two line ups are almost entirely different with the exception of J. Stokes, and G. Bell.

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 and 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 personal that quickly in such a short space of time

The Staffordshire cup victory line up in 1883 as West Bromwich Albion 4 years later was B. Roberts, H. Bell, J. Stanton, E. Horton, Bunn, While, H. Aston, Whitehouse, G. Timmins, W. Bisseker, G. Bell, Eight of this line up was a combination of Strollers and Albion.

Article by John Nicholls

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