Young Walsall

Bert reported with his dad to Walsall Football Club and the trainer asked, “What are you here for son, autographs?”  Bert’s reply was, “No, I’m playing.  His first game at the Hawthorns ended in a 0-1 defeat with a penalty from Harry Kinsell.  Bert and Harry would later play together for England.  Bert remembers that if he had stopped the penalty it would have killed him as Harry hit it with such power.  The practice of throwing his cap in the back of the net didn’t help at all on this occasion.

Bert was the baby of the team as the cartoon shows following a victory over Watford in the FA Cup.

When Bert first started playing at Walsall his wages were in the region of one pound ten shillings a week which was a big improvement on the eleven shillings he had been earning at Thompson Brothers.

The start of the season saw Bert signing in and reporting fit with the rest of his teammates.  Bert would play for Walsall from 1935-45 and they played Wolves on numerous occasions with Bert always putting in a first class performance.  The press often commented on his displays and he often wondered if this influenced their decision to sign him in 1945 after WWII.

This was a typical press report from a Wolves versus Walsall match, “Saturday’s match at Molineux was a poor affair.  Walsall earned their point in a 1-1 draw but the game never reached anything but a fair standard.  Williams, Walsall’s goalkeeper, was the man of the match.  He played exceedingly well throughout but he always does against Wolves.

Walsall team training at Fellows Park on the terraces which was a daily routine

Bert had been at Walsall as a professional for about two years when a new manager, Tommy Barrows, began to enlist new young players.  One of them was Johnny Hancocks, far left, another future star at Wolves along with Bert.

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Design: David Ainsworth