Flares, parkas, afros, Big Ron’s combover. These were some of the things that dominated life in late 1970’s West Bromwich. There was also a bloody good football team.
The aforementioned sunbed king Ron Atkinson picked up the reins at The Hawthorns from Johnny Giles in 1978, after the Irishman had steered the Baggies back to the top flight after an absence of three years. And before Atkinson was lured to the bright lights of Old Trafford in 1981, he put together one of the most memorable Albion sides in living memory.
With stars such as the curly-haired Bryan Robson in his pre-Manchester United days and Laurie Cunningham – whose talents prompted Real Madrid to fork out the princely sum of £950,000 for his services – West Brom rivalled Aston Villa for the title as top Midlands club.
1978-79 saw the Albion finish third in the old First Division – their highest for 20 years – just a point behind that season’s European Cup winners Nottingham Forest and nine adrift of perennial League champions, Liverpool. They also reached the quarter-final of the UEFA Cup that year and the semi-finals of both domestic cup competitions in 1981-82 before the club’s decline set in from the mid-80’s onwards.
The Umbro shirt worn by Cyrille Regis and co. during those heady days had the iconic, thicker navy and white stripes and looked like the kind of material usually reserved for the manufacture of potato sacks. Luckily for Baggies fans, it didn’t stop the players producing some of the club’s best performances for a generation.
Classic Retro shirts now available from Campo retro www.camporetro.com