Fascinating football facts
Curiosities of Midlands football, with Tony Matthews
• David Asson, born in West Bromwich, refereed the first-ever Wembley FA Cup final in 1923, when Bolton Wanderers beat West Ham United 2-0 in front of an estimated 200,000 spectators, with 123,000 of them paying!
He spent most of his football life refereeing in the Stourbridge area and as a 15 year-old, had an unsuccessful trial with the Baggies.
• Two Stourbridgeborn referees – Ken Burns and Eric Jennings – both officiated in FA Cup finals – the former 1970 when Chelsea drew with Leeds United, and the latter in 1973 when Sunderland beat Don Revie’s Leeds.
• Andre Marriner, born in Sheldon, Birmingham, refereed the 2013 FA Cup final when Wigan Athletic upset the odds by beating Man- chester City 1-0.
• The only FA Cup final ever to be stopped by ‘fog’ was the 1935 encounter between Sheffield Wednesday and the Albion at Wembley. The referee Bert Fogg blew the final whistle after the Owls had won 4-2.
• A total of 59 FA Cup semi-finals have been staged on the grounds of Aston Villa; two have taken place at both the Aston Lower Grounds (1884 and 1886) and Wellington Road (1890 and 1896) and 55 have been held at Villa Park (19012007).
There have been ten semis at Molineux (18921957); nine at St Andrew’s (1905-1961) and two at The Hawthorns (1902 and 1960). The last one at Molineux ended Aston Villa 2 Albion 2 and the last one at The Hawthorns saw Wolves beat Villa 1-0. As yet not one of our Midland clubs has been asked to host an FA Cup final (not even a replay).
• Three England managers also had links with Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion. They are Joe Mercer, Gareth Southgate and Graham Taylor with Villa, and Sam Allardyce, Roy Hodgson and Bobby Robson with Albion. Taylor also bossed Wolves as did Glenn Hoddle, while 1966 World Cup winner Sir Alf Ramsey later became manager of Birmingham City.
Burnley’s Charlie Taylor (left) is shown a yellow card by Sheldon-born referee Andre Marriner for a foul on Wolves winger Adama Traore at Molineux, September 16, 2018. (Nick Potts/pa Wire)