Something that is quite interesting for fans of English football, in addition to the great players and managers that can be seen in the English Premier League or the exciting matches that we see on a regular basis during the season, is the tradition that surrounds that country in terms of history, whose environment is the closest thing to what was lived in other times in this sport.
English people have maintained some little things that have kept that atmosphere alive, remembering that they were the first to create the official rules of football, which is why they consider themselves the creators of this sport. This environment is largely possible thanks to the stadiums that retain details from other times but which turn out to be part of the charm of these structures.
The Birth of The Hawthorns: A Symbol of Enduring Football Tradition
Thus we find a clear example of the aforementioned in The Hawthorns, the home stadium of West Bromwich Albion, a club that has just been relegated to the EFL Championship after finishing 19th in the Premier League in this recent season.
Despite this current situation, it is a traditional club of the first tier of English football that has 148 years of history in which it has had the honor of winning, at least once, the most important trophies of British football (First Division, FA Cup, Football League Cup and FA Charity Shield).
The Hawthorns ended 22 years of West Brom moving from one stadium to another since the club’s conception in 1878. Stadiums such as Cooper’s Hill, Dartmouth Park, Bunn’s Field, Four Acres or Stoney Lane were some of the places where they played as locals until the year 1900, where The Hawthorns would be born.
The Location and Name of the Iconic Stadium
The stadium is located on the outskirts of the city of West Brom, unlike the rest of the stadiums that hosted the Baggies, which were located closer to the city’s center. In the area there were many hawthorn bushes that ended up being the ones that would give the stadium its name, which, as a curiosity, had a construction time of no more than 4 months.
The Evolution of The Hawthorns: Capacity and Records
The Hawthorns has a current capacity of 27,751, all seated. However, at the time of its construction, it had a maximum capacity of 35,500 spectators. The club did not own the pitch since they had a lease until it was able to acquire it in 1913 where it was able to carry out modifications such as the installation of concrete terraces that by 1924 allowed increasing the capacity to 65,000 spectators.
Over time and for various reasons, the capacity of the stadium gradually decreased until reaching 30,000 by the end of the 1980s. Once the Premier League started under the current name and format in 1992, West Brom had to reduce once again the capacity to which the stadium currently has to comply with the regulations of the nascent competition that required all spectators to be seated. Hence, the attendance record for The Hawthorns is 64,815 (vs Arsenal on March 6, 1937), much higher than the current capacity of the stadium.
A less striking record that the home ground of West Brom has is that of being the stadium located at the highest altitude in the entire United Kingdom because it is 552 feet above sea level, surpassing Oldham’s Boundary Park. Another interesting about The Hawthorns is that it was the first stadium in England to have an electronic scoreboard, back in 1949.
One of the highest points in the history of the stadium it is also one for West Brom as a club since it is the only First Division league title (first tier) of the institution, which was in the 1919-20 season, when football returned after World War I. The Baggies were not only champion, but they also did so in an overwhelming way by playing offensive football that led them to exceed the record for the most points and most goals scored in a league to date.
The Highest Altitude Stadium in the UK
That season, The Hawthorns would see one of the most outstanding players in the club’s history, Fred Morris. The striker was the tournament’s top scorer with 37 goals. During the 20s and 30s, West Brom was one of the most attacking teams in England, although they maintained that characteristic inconsistency of theirs since in that period they were league and FA Cup champions and were also relegated to the Second Division.
Honoring Legends: Statues and Gates at The Hawthorns
Something that is common in football and, more specifically, in English football, is to place figures such as statues or plates of their great legends in their stadiums.
Tony “Bomber” Brown Statue: A Tribute to an Attacking Icon
In this regard, The Hawthorns is no exception as there is a statue of Tony “Bomber” Brown, an attacking midfielder from the 60s and 70s, formed at the club and who scored more than 200 goals for the Baggies.
The Jeff Astle Gate: Commemorating Heroic Achievements
Another tribute to a legend can be seen in one of the gates of the stadium that has the figure of Jeff Astle in his classic goal celebration. Astle was one of the great goalscorers in the history of the club and one of the great architects of the last two major titles that West Brom ever won (along with Brown), the 1966 Football League Cup and the 1968 FA Cup.
Bryan Robson’s Roots: A Star’s Emergence at The Hawthorns
The Hawthorns also saw the birth of one of the great English players of all time, Bryan Robson. Before reaching stardom at Manchester United, Robson excelled greatly at West Brom.
The Hawthorns has had the honor of hosting three matches of the Enlgand national team during its existence: two were from the defunct British Home Championship (a tournament played by the countries that make up the United Kingdom) and a friendly match against Belgium, although all were played in the first half of the last century.
In 1998, the stadium would be used by England B, an alternate national team that was sometimes used by the FA, against Chile.
Despite not being a stadium of one of the largest clubs in England, The Hawthorns is a place that combines the modernity of today’s stadiums with the history of English football, having seen the birth of great players and serving as home to one of the traditional clubs of that country.
Getting to The Hawthorns: Transportation Guide for West Bromwich Albion’s Historic Stadium
To reach The Hawthorns, the historic stadium of West Bromwich Albion, you can use various transportation options, depending on your location and preferences. Here are some common methods to get to the stadium:
Car: If you prefer driving, you can use GPS or navigation apps to guide you to The Hawthorns. The stadium’s address is The Hawthorns, Birmingham Road, West Bromwich, B71 4LF, UK. Keep in mind that parking around the stadium can be limited on matchdays, so arrive early to secure a spot.
Public Transport: The Hawthorns is well-connected by public transport. You can take a train to The Hawthorns railway station, which is just a short walk away from the stadium. Trains from Birmingham New Street and other nearby stations run regularly.
Bus: Several bus services operate near The Hawthorns, providing convenient access to the stadium. Check the local bus routes and schedules to plan your journey.
Taxi: Taxis or rideshare services are available in the area and can drop you off near the stadium’s entrance.
Walking: If you are staying nearby or prefer walking, you can easily access The Hawthorns on foot. Just follow the directions to the stadium.
Before attending a match or event at The Hawthorns, it’s advisable to check the official West Bromwich Albion website or local transport services for any updates or changes in transportation options.
The Hawthorns, home to West Bromwich Albion, was built in just four months in 1900 and was named after the hawthorn bushes that once grew in the area.
The stadium can now accommodate 27,751 seated spectators, though its original capacity was 35,500, increasing to 65,000 in 1924.
The stadium is the highest altitude stadium in the UK, sitting at 552 feet above sea level, surpassing Oldham’s Boundary Park.
The club’s significant moment at The Hawthorns was winning the First Division league title in the 1919-20 season, with Fred Morris as the top scorer.
The stadium features a statue of Tony “Bomber” Brown, a prolific attacking midfielder who scored over 200 goals for the club in the 60s and 70s.
The Jeff Astle Gate celebrates the contributions of legendary striker Jeff Astle, who played a key role in West Brom’s 1966 Football League Cup and 1968 FA Cup victories.
The stadium was the first in England to have an electronic scoreboard, which was installed in 1949.
Bryan Robson, one of England’s all-time greats, showcased his talent at West Brom before achieving stardom at Manchester United.
The Hawthorns has hosted three England national team matches, two from the British Home Championship and a friendly against Belgium, all held in the early 20th century.
Despite adjustments to meet seating regulations, The Hawthorns remains a place where modernity meets the historical legacy of English football, witnessing the rise of great players and hosting a traditional club in the country.