Our Albion


Brownhills Albion Football Club. What do we know about the team, this event, and why there are only 11 men? Photo via Wyrleyblog, kind permission of Walsall Local History Centre.

Here you go, a quick one this afternoon before some meatier local history over the weekend – Paul Ford, top local history operative, whizz behind the ever-brilliant Wyrleyblog and researcher at Walsall Local History Centre posted the above image on Twitter.

Paul siad:

Brownhills Albion FC late c19. They folded and reformed in the Hussey Arms (where they played) as Britain joined WWI.

I noticed there were only 11 players – is that the team bus on the photo? I assume you had seen it before, but worth tweeting.

The team played on a pitch where the Hussey Estate is today, hence the name Albion Road. I’d be interested in any history at all of Brownhills Albion FC, or indeed, Brownhills Town FC.

We’ve had lots of Walsall Wood FC stuff, but not much from Brownhills. Let’s see if we can correct that.

Don’t forget Walsall Wood’s boys play Heath Hayes this afternoon, so the footy tradition is still strong.

Please do comment here, or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

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22 Responses to Our Albion

  1. Pedro says:

    Plenty of mentions of Brownhills Albion in the Newspaper Archives between 1891 and 1939.

  2. mickysix says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but if the photo is the era which Pedro says. There would only be 11 players as in those days there were no extra men allowed as there were no subs allowed/

    • Thanks, Mick – great stuff. What I know about footy could be written on a pinhead. Brilliant, thank you – ad well done for expanding on the Irish Harpers Two the other day!


  3. Andy Dennis says:

    I think I’m right in saying that substitutes were only introduced in the 1860s (not available when England won World Cup?) and initially only to replace an injured player. It became somewhat controversial as some players feigned injury to enable a tactical switch and the rule was changed.

    I would like to see further changes, similar to Hockey, where you have a team of 16 players any 11 of which can be on the field at any time with unlimited substitutions. You could even replace the goalkeeper to try to score from a last minute corner or free kick, instead of hoping the goalie can help to score.

  4. mickysix says:

    Hi Bob and others. Further to my earlier reply to your blog about the Albion, I thought that one Dickie Dorset had played for them before going pro at the Wolves. Going through my stuff i could not find anything to prove it one way or another however I do Have this:
    Thomas Henry ‘Tommy’ Lunn (9 July 1883 – 1960) was an English professional footballer who played for Brownhills Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspur and Stockport County.
    Football career
    Lunn began his career with Brownhills Albion before joining Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1904. The goalkeeper made 129 appearances for the Molineux club. Lunn collected a winners medal in the 1908 FA Cup Final.
    In 1909 he signed for Tottenham Hotspur where he featured in a further 91 matches in all competitions between 1909–1912. He played regularly over the next two seasons but was replaced by John “Tiny” Joyce in 1912. He played two more games in early 1913 but on taking out a publican’s licence he was suspended for breach of contract.
    Lunn went on to play for Stockport County where he ended his playing career.
    As a kid i remember there being an off licence type of place run by an Aston Villa fan. maybe by the old square where the land that Walsall Housing are going to build on. He used to talk foorball to us kids all the while and I think that he had the Cup in his shop at some time, (but maybe my memory is playing tricks)
    I can give you some info on Dickie if you would like but i dont want to turn you into a soccer anorak.

  5. Pedro says:

    Another Brownhills forgotten Sportsman!

    22 April 1910…the Evening Telegraph…

    Last evening Thomas Lunn the Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper was transferred to Tottenham Hotspur, and he will play for his new club tomorrow against Bolton Wanderers. Secured from Brownhills Albion in 1904, Lunn at once showed distinct ability, and when Tom Badderley was transferred to Bradford Park Avenue, Lunn took the international’s place as the first team goalkeeper.

    When the Wanderers won the English cup two years ago Lunn displayed brilliant form, and throughout the tournament only had two goals scored against him.

  6. Sue Lote says:

    I have a number of ‘snippets’ regarding ‘The Albion’ amongst my DORSETT family history memorabilia. The earliest is dated Wednesday September 21, 1892 and was issued by the Football Association regarding various suspensions for playing in the close season, amongst these is John DORSETT (brother of George and Joe) Brownhills, Albion.

    The next is dated Friday September 8, 1899 reporting on a match between Brownhills Albion v. Bilston United……..’600 spectators witnessed this match at Brownhills on Saturday. The first half took place in a heavy thunderstorm and the players had to change their attire…………DORSETT opened the score for the homesters.
    From a breakaway ROBERTS scored the third point for Bilston.
    The home team retaliated, but the point was disallowed, and GWILLAM scored their second goal just before the finish.
    Bilston 3.

    Brownhills 2.

    I have another snippet from a publication of the Brownhills Guide (date unknown)……
    ‘BROWNHILLS Town Football Club played on a racing field along Pelsall Road before moving to playing fields near the Hussey Arms. A lady named Mrs DORSET (my 2 x gt.grandmother Ruth Diana DORSETT nee SEAGER – mother of George, Joe and John DORSETT) used to have an eating house and spectators supporting BTFC would call in for ham sandwiches after the game. Mrs DORSETT had 2 sons (George and Joe) and a grandson (Dickie) who were to become professional footballers.’

    • graham birch says:

      Hi, in reply to this post- Ruth Diana Dorsett was my great grandmother. George Dorsett was my grandfather. Their family home in Brownhills was on the High Street and it was where the Hsbc bank stands or so I am led to believe. I have a huge ammount of information on the Family’s footballing exploits and just to let you all know that there were 5 Dorsett brothers who played for the Albion. The picture which is most published is the 1885 picture. There are three Dorsett brothers on the picture. If anyone knows the rest of the players please let me know. You can e-mail me at—gbirchscs@googlemail.com. or call me on 07788197932.

      • Sue Lote says:

        Hi Graham – its me Sue Lote!
        So pleased you have joined the blog – I’m sure Bloggwatchers will be very interested in your Grandad’s story after he ‘went north’:) I was just sorting through my own memorabilia last summer, when I was hit by a family bereavement, so everything went on hold!
        PS The DORSETTs resided by the old Natwest Bank alongside your grannie’s family. The old race track where George honed his running skills was located nearby behind their houses.
        Would love to catch up with again, perhaps off list…..
        Regards, your cousin Sue

  7. Mike says:

    Please Sue send BB a copy of your snippets as mentioned, I would so love to see them. Also I didn’t realise that you were a Dorsett (is it 1 or 2 T’s as I always thought that it was 2 but some places have it one way others the other, and looking above you have spelt it both ways.

    • Sue Lote says:

      Hi Mike,
      I’m not sure how to ‘send’ BB copies of my snippets, there are quite a few especially regarding the 2 footballing DORSETT brothers, George and Joe! Especially George and his later career with Manchester City.
      The name is indeed spelt DORSETT (I accidentally missed off one of the ‘Ts’ in my previous post).
      My paternal great grandparents were Isaiah DORSETT (or Zeah DOSSETT as my dad referred to him – took me ages to trace him when I first started out on my family history research! Isaiah was the brother of George and Joe) and Nellie nee HAYWARD. My granny Kate DERRY and Dickie DORSETT were sister and brother amongst many others – they were a huge family. My dad knew his DORSETT grandparents very well and had some fond memories of them.

      George DORSETT’s transfer from West Bromwich Albion to Manchester City was recorded in the Manchester Evening News on Friday December 9th, 1904…..
      …..Dorsett, West Bromwich Albion’s clever forward, secured by Manchester City in the face of much competition, has been engaged as an understudy to Meredith, as well as Booth………The newcomer who may be regarded as quite a ‘capture’ will make his appearance in the Combination team against Nelson tomorrow……..

      My own small obituary reads as follows:
      George DORSETT 1881-1942, was born in Brownhills in August 1881. He signed for Manchester City from West Bromwich Albion for a transfer fee of £450.0.0d. City bought him to replace the famous Billy MEREDITH, who had been sacked by City following a scandal.
      George and Joe became know in the family as the DORSETTS who went north. They were also the first brothers to play in the same derby match against Manchester United, which produced a 4-1 win for City.
      Joe went on to play for Colne, Southend and Milwall and in his retirement ran a newsagents in Eccles near Manchester. He died there in 1952.
      Following a severe knee injury George was forced to retire from football in 1912 and settled down to become a landlord of pubs in the Stockport area, before running the Cleveland at Ardwick.


      • Hi Sue,

        I’ll send you a mail in the next 24h. I’m happy to post up any material you have – and whatever form it’s in (clippings or electronic) something can be arranged – I’m sure Davd would be glad to help if required.

        Mick – thanks for your interest. Football is a vital and intrinsic part of local (and national) culture, which I’m happy and delighted to be able to feature here from the Brownhills Bomber himself, through Cecil Poynton and the history of the local clubs – and of course, I do the match reports and stuff for The Wood.

        Th fact that I haven’t a clue what I’m talking about with regard to the sport just adds to the frisson of the thing. One day I’m sure to make some horrific and glaring error…


  8. Sue Lote says:

    Incidentally, regarding the photo at the top of the page – I first saw this photo many years ago I am 99% certain that the footballer sitting on the right had side of the 2nd row is a DORSETT – which one is open to conjecture – but he certainly bears more than a passing resemblance to George DORSETT!

  9. Pedro says:

    For anyone interested in the history of the Football Club it is worth having a look over the years of the Lichfield Mercury. Even back in November of 1891 there is a very detailed description of the match against Stafford Rangers Reserves…

    “The Albion then transferred play, E Dorsett kicking out on the left…a few minutes later J Dorsett sent in a stinging high shot, Merricks tipping the ball over the bar in capital style…the Rangers then attacked, and T Dorsett missing his kick gave them a chance, but Chilton relieved with a huge kick.

    Three Dorsetts!

    • Sue Lote says:

      E Dorsett = Edward DORSETT
      J Dorsett = John DORSETT
      T Dorsett = Thomas DORSETT
      The older brothers of George and Joe.
      Incidentally, George was also a very good sprinter, and regularly won local foot races particularly on the track which once existed approximately where the car parks are now for Aldi and the new stretch of shops. The DORSETT clan lived in one of the old terraced houses which once stood on that spot!


  10. Pedro says:

    I have a feeling that the bus is a “campaign bus” accompanied by the associated heavies.

    During February of 1896 there was the fight for Parliamentary representation of the Lichfield Division. Major Darwin was the Unionist candidate, and Courtney Warner the Liberal candidate.

    Courtney Warner was giving speeches, and was elected…

    ….During the election Mr Warner was in a measure handicapped in that Major Darwin had the assistance of his wife in promoting his candidature. There was no donbt that Mrs. Darwin worked assiduously on behalf of her husband’s came, and very naturally so, and all praise was due to her for her efforts, which however failed to turn a Liberal constituency like Lichfield into a supporter of a Tory government (applause)…(Tamworth Herald)

    The same picture with names in the B’hills Gazette…


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  13. ken says:

    george banks ex west brom & mansfield town played as a young man early 1930s
    georges son in law

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