West Brom’s venture into the past


For Saturday’s Premier League game against Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion honoured the late Jeff Astle by wearing a replica of the kit worn in the 1968 FA Cup final win over Everton, in which Astle scored the vital goal. Gloriously, they also lined out in 1-11 (goalkeeper Boaz Myhill wore a blank green jersey – albeit with a historically-inaccurate baselayer).

Coincidentally, the matchday 18 featured all of the outfield players with squad numbers in the ‘first’ 11, though four were subs and three in the starting line-up wore different numbers to normal:

  1. Boaz Myhill (squad number 13)
  2. Craig Dawson (25)
  3. Chris Brunt (11)
  4. Claudio Yacob (5)
  5. Gareth McAuley (23)
  6. Joelon Lescott (6)
  7. James Morrison (7)
  8. Craig Gardner (8)
  9. Saido Berahino (18)
  10. Brown Ideye (9)
  11. Darren Fletcher (24)


  1. Andre Wisdom (2)
  2. Jack Rose (38)
  3. Jonas Olsson (3)
  4. Chris Baird (4)
  5. Callum McManaman (19)
  6. Victor Anichebe (10)
  7. Stephane Sessegnon (29)

Chris Brunt wearing 3 instead of 11 is to be applauded, while Claudio Yacob switching from 5 to 4 was welcome as he lined out in central midfield (though, being Argentinean, 5 is ‘right’ for him too). With wide midfielder Craig Gardner retaining his 8, it meant that Darren Fletcher wore 11 in the centre, but we could get over that.

Saido Berahino had 9, which Astle used to wear in his time at the Hawthorns, with Brown Ideye moving from 9 to 10. Albion’s top scorer couldn’t mark the day with a goal – they lost 3-2 – but manager Tony Pulis was pleased that he did the famous shirt justice. Clearly, he felt it was good.

“Saido is a good player, that is why I gave him that No.9 jersey, because he has been so good for us,” he said.

“He has been very good for us. The significance was not lost on him – we had a chat before and I thought Saido did well.”

3 thoughts on “West Brom’s venture into the past

  1. Really good piece. I do wonder, though, if that match raises more questions than it answers.

    I quite enjoy the thought of an Anglo-Argentine debate in the home dressing room over why Yacob had to change – though I’m fully aware that it never happened – and I suppose you have to question where the charitable gesture ends and the necessity to win a football match begins – the numbers being allocated entirely “correctly” may have given away the formation and each player’s role to too great an extent (though I also admit that thinking is unlikely to have played a part in the allocation).

    I did notice that not only was Myhill not given a number on his shirt, but MotD also rendered him numberless. In terms of the team lineup, would he be Number 1 or blank?


    • Aha. As I thought. Somewhat obtuse from the BBC there. Shirt numbering was based on teamsheets, not the other way round.

      These retro kits don’t work out very well in terms d result, do they? I know City wore a simplified kit in that Munich game but United’s was a complete throwback. Perhaps the occasion gets to the players or maybe there is a psychological association thing with wearing a familiarly-styled and fitting kit. Throw that element out and preparation is perhaps confused by an environmental change.


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