West Brom - away supporters' guide
RTG’s totally and utterly (we hope) indispensable guide to this season’s away grounds.
THE OPPO – West Bromwich Albion aka The Baggies
DATE – Saturday 3rd March
KO TIME – 3.00pm
THE GROUND – The Hawthorns, Halfords Lane, West Bromwich,– click here and here for maps of the area - the arrow near the middle points to where the ground is.
West Bromwich is right in the heart of the west midlands, roughly half way between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, but also conveniently close to the M5, and also the M6 with its links to the north-west and the M1.
Away supporters are seated in one half of the Smethwick End, with disabled supporters at the front of that stand.
The priority application period for season ticket holders has now ended, and general sale will commence at 10am on Thursday 22 February.
GOING BY CAR?
Travelling from the north east, get yourself onto the A1/A1M southbound; just after you pass junction 45 (for the A64 Leeds/York road) you’ll see signs for the M1 – so take the M1 southbound. You join the M1 at jcn 48 and you need to stay on it until you reach jcn 23A.
Then leave the M1 for the A42 (signposted Tamworth and Birmingham) – after 14 miles this becomes the M42.
After another 14 miles, leave the M42 at jcn 8, which takes you onto the M6. Stay on the M6 until jcn 8, then take the turning for the M5, signposted ‘West Bromwich (M5), The South West, Birmingham (S+W)’.
Come off J1 of the M5 and take the signs (left) for Birmingham City Centre, take the first left which is a narrow road (marked "private road") towards the cricket club. There is secure parking there and the pavillion opens for drinks. You might have to pay a nominal quid to get in. It's a ten/fifteen minute walk to the away end from there.
There’s a little street parking close to the Hawthorns – take the second exit at the roundabout when you leave the M5 into Kenrick Way, and it’s only a 15-minute-or-so walk to the ground. Otherwise there are small car parks dotted around the area of varying sizes (but the biggest only has 350 spaces) and varying charges up to £5. The Hawthorns pub, 50 metres from the ground will charge you a fiver if you get a space early enough.
GOING BY TRAIN?
There’s a railway station only 300 yards from The Hawthorns….called The Hawthorns! From Sunderland go up to Newcastle Central Station then change for a train to Birmingham New Street.
If you’re coming from the south, get on a West Coast Mainline train at London Euston that stops at Birmingham New Street .
When you arrive at New Street, take the short walk across to Birmingham Snow Hill station (map here) and catch a Metro to The Hawthorns. The Birmingham Metro trains leave Snow Hill about every 8 minutes and it’s only a 9-10 minute journey to The Hawthorns. When you come out of the station it’s a short walk up Halfords Lane to the ground.
For train times for that day, check the National Rail website.
West Bromwich Moat House, Birmingham Rd, West Bromwich – tel 0121 609 9988
Howard Johnson Hotel, High Street, West Bromwich – tel 0121 525 8333
Holiday Inn Express, Oldbury – tel 0121 5110000
Comfort Inn, Hagley Road, Edgbaston – tel 0121 454 8071
SCRAN AND BOOZE
Unfortunately there aren’t all that many pubs close to the ground. If you’re arriving by train then your best idea is to go for a pint or your nosh in Birmingham before heading across to The Hawthorns. The Royal Oak, about 10 minutes walk away from the ground along the Birmingham Road, will serve away supporters with the added bonus that there’s some street parking in that area too. Another good pub with nearby street parking is The Vine – follow the signs to ‘West Bromwich Town Centre’ at jcn 1 of the M5 then first left into Roebuck St, and The Vine is on the left hand corner of the T-junction at the end.
Pubs to avoid if you’re an away supporter are The Woodman (admission only for those with tickets in the home areas of the ground), The Hawthorns, The Throstle Club, The Sportsman and The Waggon & Horses.
LEND US A FIVER I’M OUT OF CASH
Be prepared for at least a 10 – 15 minute walk! The closest ATM to The Hawthorns is at Lloyds TSB on Holyhead Road, three quarters of a mile away.
Like ourselves and Birmingham City, relegated from the Premiership. They finished 19th, with 30 points
Currently 3rd of 24:
P33 W17 D8 L8 F60 A38 Pts 59 GD 20
P16 W12 D3 L1 F38 A14 Pts 39 GD 24
LAST 6 MEETINGS
28/08/06 Sunderland 2 West Brom 0 (Whitehead 33, N Collins 47)
21/01/06 West Brom 0 Sunderland 1 (Watson og)
17/09/05 Sunderland 1 West Brom 1 (Breen 7)
18/04/04 Sunderland 0 West Brom 1
01/11/03 West Brom 0 Sunderland 0
19/04/03 Sunderland 1 West Brom 2 (Stewart 70)
Darren Carter plays in midfield for them - he previously played for us, on loan, from September to December 2004. Also playing for the Baggies is SAFC's record post-war goalscorer, Kevin Phillips.
The club was formed in 1879 by employees at the town’s Salters Spring Works. Only 4 years after their formation they entered the FA Cup for the first time. They won the competition only 9 years after their formation, in 1888.
They were one of the founding member teams of the Football League.
The Baggies moved to The Hawthorns in 1900.
The West Ham line-up that the Baggies beat to win the league cup in 1966 included Messrs Moore, Peters and Hurst – who went on to World Cup glory 3 months later.
Ron “Spotters badge” Atkinson managed the Baggies from 87/88 before leaving for Man Utd, taking player Bryan Robson with him.
Former Sunderland manager Denis Smith managed at West Brom from 97 – 99 but was sacked only days before the start of the 99/00 season.
They call local rivals Wolves “The Tatters” or “The Dingles” and Villa “The Seals”.
How did the ‘Boing’ thing come about? Well there are a few different theories – one being that a Dutch pop combo released a record called ‘Poing’ and the supporters adopted both the song and accompanying actions and started doing it at matches. Another theory is that at a freezing cold Hull v WBA match some time ago, freezing Baggies’ supporters started jumping up and down to keep themselves warm, chanting “Come on you baggies” over and over again, really quickly.
Famous Baggies’ supporters: Frank Skinner, Lenny Henry, Julie Walters, Cat Deeley, Ronnie Wood, Five Live’s Adrian Chiles, and Ian and Glenn from Judas Priest.
Credits: WBA, Fans FC, Birmingham Council, Link, Rough Guide to English Football, Soccerbase, streetmap.co.uk, 'Boing!', BBC, National Rail.