|Event||1930–31 FA Cup|
|Date||25 April 1931|
|Venue||Wembley Stadium, London|
|Referee||Arthur H. Kingscott (Derbyshire)|
The 1931 FA Cup Final was a football match between West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham, played on 25 April 1931 at the original Wembley Stadium in London. The showpiece event was the final match of the 1930–31 staging of English football's primary cup competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup (better known as the FA Cup). The match was the 56th FA Cup Final, the ninth to be played at Wembley.
West Bromwich Albion were appearing in their seventh final, having won the cup on two previous occasions, whereas Birmingham were playing in the final for the first time. Albion won the match 2–1, with both of their goals scored by W. G. Richardson. Joe Bradford had equalised Richardson's opening goal, before Richardson put the Baggies ahead again sixty seconds later.
|3rd||Charlton Athletic (h)||2–2|
|Charlton Athletic (a)||1–1|
|Charlton Athletic (n)||3–1|
|4th||Tottenham Hotspur (h)||1–0|
|6th||Wolverhampton Wanderers (h)||1–1|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers (a)||2–1|
Birmingham and West Bromwich Albion were playing in the First Division and Second Division respectively, thus both entered the competition at the third round stage.
Albion began their cup campaign by drawing 2–2 at home against Charlton Athletic, with goals from Stan Wood and Teddy Sandford. The replay at The Valley also ended in a draw (1–1), and with extra time unable to separate the teams, a second replay was required at Villa Park, where goals from Joe Carter, Stan Wood and W. G. Richardson gave Albion a 3–1 victory. Wood also scored the only goal of the game in round four against Tottenham Hotspur to set up a fifth round tie with First Division Portsmouth, the only top division side that Albion faced en route to Wembley; W. G. Richardson's goal was enough to give Albion a 1–0 victory. The quarter-final stage saw Albion paired with local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers, whom they had already beaten both home and away during the league season. After a 1–1 draw at The Hawthorns, Albion won the replay at Molineux 2–1, thanks to goals from W. G. Richardson and Stan Wood.
In the semi-final at Old Trafford, Albion faced Everton, who at that time were 13 points clear at the top of the Second Division. Everton dominated the first half but were unable to score from any of the chances they created, and it was Albion who broke the deadlock ten minutes into the second half. Albion captain Tommy Glidden played the ball into the Everton penalty area from near the halfway line, and aided by a gust of wind it sailed past Everton goalkeeper Billy Coggins and into the net. The match was played in front of 69,241 spectators, setting a new attendance record for Old Trafford.
|4th||Port Vale (h)||2–0|
In the third round, Birmingham "won finely" at Anfield to defeat First Division opponents Liverpool 2–0, with goals from Ernie Curtis and Joe Bradford.In the fourth, they repeated the scoreline at home to Port Vale of the Second Division, both goals scored by Bradford, and went one better in the fifth, Bradford scoring once and Curtis, "in magnificent form", twice to eliminate Third Division South club Watford.
Chelsea provided stiffer opposition for the Birmingham team, a number of whose players were still recovering from influenza, on a St Andrew's pitch treacherous after overnight sleet. The visitors had much the better of the first half. Alex Jackson gave them the lead, and, in blizzard conditions, George Mills appeared to have scored in a goalmouth scramble, only for the goal to be disallowed after the Birmingham players drew the referee's attention to his linesman who had flagged for the ball having gone out of play. Six minutes into the second half, the lead had changed hands. First George Briggs crossed for a Bradford header, then the same pair combined for Curtis to put Birmingham ahead. Birmingham's defence held out until a misplaced clearance by Bob Gregg allowed Jackie Crawford to equalise.The replay at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge attracted a crowd of 74,365, then a ground record, with 6,000 locked out; spectators broke through the barriers and sat round the edge of the pitch. Briggs, in front of an empty goal, allowed a centre from Curtis to pass between his legs – "an amazing miss" – before Chelsea centre-half John Townrow sustained an injury which forced him to leave the field. Chelsea reorganised their personnel, but early in the second half, right-half Sid Bishop was hurt twice in quick succession, leaving him in a worse condition than Townrow and his team short of numbers – no substitutes were permitted – with players in unaccustomed positions. Though they held out well, a goal from Jack Firth and two from Bradford, the second of which scored from an offside position, gave Birmingham a 3–0 victory.
Birmingham faced First Division Sunderland in the semi-final at Elland Road, Leeds. The Times predicted a "hard game" in which "the first goal ... may decide the result".After half an hour Birmingham took the lead via a powerful shot by Curtis. Sunderland's players appealed in vain for the award of a penalty for handling the ball, their forwards failed to take numerous chances, and Birmingham's England international goalkeeper Harry Hibbs – described by Sunderland's Bobby Gurney as playing "an absolute blinder" – made some fine saves. With three minutes left, Curtis's shot from a Bradford cross was blocked by Sunderland's goalkeeper, Bradford "rushed in to help his colleague and between them they scored the second goal".
Demand for cup final tickets far exceeded supply. West Bromwich Albion received 80,000 ticket applications from supporters but their allocation was only 7,500.Those who were successful travelled to Wembley on one of several excursion trains along the GWR and LMS routes, or else by road.
In the days leading up to the final, both teams made use of mid-week games to test players who were doubtful due to injury. Following Birmingham's reserve match against Huddersfield Town's reserves, George Briggs and Jimmy Cringan were pronounced fit to play in the final, but centre forward Joe Bradford's fitness was not decided until the Thursday morning. An injured knee had kept Bradford out of action since mid-March, and he played with the knee well bandaged during the match, which was played in front of "about 12,000" spectators at St Andrew's.Full back Bert Trentham was a doubt for Albion, but came through the first half of their friendly against Headingly "quite satisfactorily". The Birmingham team prepared for the final at Bushey, while the West Bromwich Albion team were based in Harrow. Both teams visited The Cenotaph in the week before the final, in order to lay wreaths.
The clubs had met in the FA Cup on four previous occasions, with Albion victorious each time.The first meeting of the two teams in the competition was in the 1885–86 semi-final, which was the furthest that Birmingham had progressed prior to their first FA Cup final in 1931. Neither club had played a match at Wembley before, though Albion had experienced success in the FA Cup, having appeared in the final on six previous occasions and having won the cup twice, in 1888 and 1892. The two goalkeepers for the 1931 final, Harold Pearson and Harry Hibbs, were cousins. Pearson's father and Hibbs' uncle, Hubert Pearson, had kept goal for Albion during their last appearance in the final in 1912. Birmingham outside forward Ernie Curtis had already gained a cup winners medal with Cardiff City in 1927, while the club's trainer Archie Taylor had played in the Barnsley team that defeated West Bromwich Albion in the 1912 final.
Typical of the era was that the final had little effect on the weekend's Football League fixtures. Although the scheduled league matches of both finalists had been postponed, there were still nine First Division games and ten Second Division games played on the day of the final, as well as a full programme of matches in the Third Division North and South.
Prior to kickoff, T. P. Ratcliff led the crowd in community singing, backed by the band of His Majesty's Welsh Guards. Songs included "Daisy Bell", "John Brown's Body" and "Poor Old Joe".
Both teams employed the formation typical of the era: two full backs, three half backs, comprising one centre-half and two wing-halves, and five forwards, comprising two outside forwards, two inside forwards and a centre-forward.
In the sixth minute, Bob Gregg headed Jimmy Cringan's free kick past the stranded West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper, but the linesman flagged Gregg offside and the goal was disallowed; newspaper reports suggest the decision was incorrect.Albion took the lead after 24 minutes when Joe Carter received the ball from Tommy Glidden and took it almost to the by-line before crossing it. As W. G. Richardson attempted a shot he fell, but Birmingham's Ned Barkas inadvertently touched the ball back to him and away from his goalkeeper, and Richardson was able to recover sufficiently to steer it home. Joe Bradford and Johnny Crosbie both missed good chances for Birmingham before half-time.
In the second half, after Albion had failed to take several chances, Birmingham equalised.Bradford controlled a long ball, pivoted and shot past Pearson from 25 yards. But the lead did not last. Straight from the restart, Carter, W. G. Richardson and Teddy Sandford took the ball directly down the field. George Liddell sliced his attempted clearance, which left the ball at Richardson's feet, and the forward had an easy task to beat Hibbs from close range.
|West Bromwich Albion||2–1||Birmingham|
|W. G. Richardson 25', 58'||(Report)||Bradford 57'|
West Bromwich Albion
The match was reported in that evening's Sports Argus , which was produced in a special run on blue paper in place of the normal pink. Copies of the newspaper were flown down to the London hotels of both teams after the match.
Birmingham's players, together with their wives, club officials, civic representatives and survivors of the 1886 semi-final, attended a dinner at the Russell Hotel after the match. Speaking afterwards, Archie Taylor admitted that the better side had won, that Albion set out to play the game properly, and that "our boys never settled down; they found the ball red-hot and could not hold it". The following day players and wives took a coach trip to the seaside at Brighton,and on Monday afternoon returned to Birmingham by train, to be met by the Lord Mayor and by cheering crowds lining the roads from the station up to the Council House. Albion's players visited Madame Tussauds, where waxworks of the two captains were on display, and some took their wives shopping, before taking the train home.
Trains arrived from London every quarter-hour until 5 a.m., to be met by buses which ran all night to various parts of the city, to make the journey home as easy as possible for the estimated 28,000 travelling supporters. The Birmingham Mail was impressed by their behaviour: "in a great local clash, in which one set of supporters had necessarily to face disappointment, there appeared to be no frayed tempers and little evidence of over-indulgence." The Mail's editorial highlighted the Birmingham players' reaction to the disallowed goal as illustrative of the sportsmanship of both sets of players: "there was no swarming round the official in the clamorous and excited manner so often seen in League games, but just a quiet and philosophic acceptance of the ruling and the position."
In the week following their victory in the final, West Bromwich Albion still had two remaining league fixtures to complete. They beat Stoke City 1–0 away in mid-week before a 3–2 win at home to Charlton Athletic on the following Saturday confirmed the club's promotion to the First Division. The "double" of winning the FA Cup and promotion in the same season has not been achieved before or since.
This would be the last time the FA Cup was won by a team from outside the top flight of English football until 42 years later when Sunderland beat Leeds in the 1973 FA Cup Final.
Teddy Sandford, who played on the winning side, is believed to have been the last surviving player from the game when he died in May 1995 at the age of 84.[ citation needed ]
West Bromwich Albion Football Club, commonly referred to as West Brom, is an English professional football club based in West Bromwich, West Midlands, England. They compete in the EFL Championship, the second tier of English football. The club was formed in 1878 and has played at its home ground, The Hawthorns, since 1900.
Anthony Brown is an English former footballer who played as a wing half and an inside forward. He was often referred to by his nickname Bomber or Bomber Brown and was known for his spectacular goals. He joined West Bromwich Albion as a youth in 1961 and turned professional in 1963. In the late 1960s and early 1970s Brown was part of an Albion team that built a reputation as a successful cup side, winning the 1966 Football League Cup Final and the 1968 FA Cup Final and finishing as runners-up in the League Cup in 1967 and 1970. He was the top scorer in Division One in 1970–71 and received his only England cap at the end of that season.
Ernest Robert Curtis was a Welsh professional footballer who played as an outside forward. Born in Cardiff, he joined hometown side Cardiff City in 1925, initially as an amateur before turning professional a year later. He made his senior debut in 1926 and helped the side win both the FA Cup and Welsh Cup in his first season. In the club's 1927 FA Cup victory, he became the youngest player to appear in a final in the competition's history as Cardiff defeated Arsenal, remaining the only team from outside England to win the trophy.
West Bromwich Albion Football Club are an English football club based in West Bromwich. The club's history dates back to its formation in 1878 as West Bromwich Strollers by workers from Salter's Spring Works in West Bromwich. The team was renamed West Bromwich Albion in 1880. Albion have played their home games at The Hawthorns since 1900.
The 1956 FA Cup Final was the final match of the 1955–56 staging of English football's primary cup competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup, better known as the FA Cup. The showpiece event was contested between Manchester City and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday 5 May 1956. Two-time winners Manchester City were appearing in their sixth final, whereas Birmingham City were seeking to win the competition for the first time, having lost their only previous final in 1931.
The 1886 FA Cup Final was contested by Blackburn Rovers and West Bromwich Albion at Kennington Oval where the result was a goalless draw. West Bromwich Albion wanted to play extra time but Blackburn Rovers declined and so a replay was necessary. This took place a week later at Derbyshire County Cricket Club's Racecourse Ground, the first venue outside London to stage an FA Cup final match. Blackburn Rovers won 2–0 to win the tournament for the third successive time. As of 2022, they remain the last team to achieve that feat. Their goals were scored by Jimmy Brown and Joe Sowerbutts. Both games were refereed by Major Francis Marindin.
The 1954 FA Cup Final was a football match between West Bromwich Albion and Preston North End, played on 1 May 1954 at the original Wembley Stadium in London. It was the final match of the 1953–54 staging of English football's primary cup competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup. The match was the 73rd FA Cup Final and the 26th to be played at Wembley.
The 1968 FA Cup Final was the 87th final of the FA Cup. It took place on 18 May 1968 at Wembley Stadium and was contested between West Bromwich Albion and Everton.
The 1970 Football League Cup Final took place on 7 March 1970 at Wembley Stadium with an attendance of 97,963. It was the tenth Football League Cup final and the fourth to be played at Wembley. It was contested between Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion. Manchester City won their first of two trophies that season; on 29 April they would win the 1970 European Cup Winners' Cup Final 2–1 against Górnik Zabrze.
Joseph Peter Kennedy was an English professional footballer who played at centre half for the majority of his career, virtually all of which was spent at West Bromwich Albion.
The 1930–31 FA Cup was the 56th staging of the world's oldest football cup competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup, commonly known as the FA Cup. West Bromwich Albion of the Football League Second Division won the competition, beating First Division team Birmingham 2–1 in the final at Wembley, London. In doing so Albion became the first and to date only club to both win the cup and gain promotion in the same year.
Robert John Roberts, better known as Bob Roberts, was an English football goalkeeper. He spent the majority of his career at West Bromwich Albion, with whom he won an FA Cup winner's medal, and also played for Sunderland Albion and Aston Villa. He won three caps for England and is the first West Bromwich Albion player to have appeared at international level. He was nicknamed Long Bob and The Prince of Goalkeepers.
Thomas Patrick Magee was an English professional footballer who played as a wing half. He made more than 400 appearances during his 15 years at West Bromwich Albion. He also won five England caps.
The 1885–86 season was the eighth season in the history of West Bromwich Albion Football Club. In what was their inaugural season as a professional club, Albion moved to the Stoney Lane ground after leaving their previous home at Four Acres. The team also changed the colour of its kit, wearing blue and white striped jerseys for the first time. As league football had not been introduced in England at the time, the team competed solely in cup competitions and friendly matches throughout the season, playing 52 matches in total.
The 1883–84 season was the sixth season in the history of West Bromwich Albion Football Club. Albion played their home matches at the Four Acres during the season, and the team wore a chocolate and white coloured kit. The club competed in the FA Cup for the first time, losing in the first round. They did reach the final of the Staffordshire Senior Cup, but were defeated by St George's in the final. Albion also participated in the Birmingham Senior Cup, Birmingham Charity Cup and Wednesbury Charity Cup, but were eliminated at the semi-final stage of all three competitions.
The 1884–85 season was the seventh season in the history of West Bromwich Albion Football Club. It was their third and final season at the Four Acres and their last season as an amateur club. Continuing the trial of various coloured kits during the club's early years, the players wore cardinal red and blue halved shirts. The club reached the FA Cup quarter-final for the first time, played in the semi-finals of the Staffordshire Senior Cup and Birmingham Charity Cup and were eliminated from the Birmingham Senior Cup at the third round stage.
The 1930–31 Football League season was Birmingham Football Club's 35th in the Football League and their 18th in the First Division. They finished in 19th position in the 22-team division, five points clear of the relegation places. They also competed in the 1930–31 FA Cup, entering at the third round proper and reaching the final for the first time in the club's history. They lost 2–1 to Second Division club West Bromwich Albion.
The 1887–88 season was the 10th season in the history of West Bromwich Albion Football Club. The club reached the FA Cup final for the third successive season and won the competition for the first time, beating Preston North End 2–1. Albion also competed in four local cup competitions, winning the Walsall Senior Cup and West Bromwich Charity Cup and finishing as runners-up in the Birmingham Senior Cup and Staffordshire Senior Cup. Due to a congested fixture list, the club refused to take part in the Birmingham Charity Cup.