The ideal stocking-filler for that Saddlers-supporting loved one...FOR THE very first time the definitive story of the beginning of Walsall FC is being told in a new book entitled ‘Birth of The Saddlers’, which was published in November.
Local author, Mike Bradbury, tells the story of how football gained popularity in the town during the 1870s, with over 20 teams being formed and competing in the Walsall Cup, which aimed to find out who was the best.
One middle-class team, Walsall Town, refused to take part believing that they were the true representation of the town, however, Walsall Swifts, were proving it on the field by beating everyone and winning trophies.
The public wanted them to meet on the playing fields of Chuckery and they finally did before years later, in 1888, they were forced to join forces and a new club was born.
With over 300 pages, this is the most accurate and detailed book yet on Walsall FC in the Victorian era.
It contains many rare images, including the ball from the 1887 Walsall Cup Final when Walsall defeated Wolves, and some never before seen photographs, including a unique picture of Walsall Swifts in 1879.
The product of three years research from two of the town’s best football historians, this new book will delight football fans across the region.
“The idea was a development of a chapter in my first book, ‘Lost Teams Of The Midlands’, which included Walsall Swifts and Walsall Town amongst its 60 football clubs long since disappeared,” said Mike Bradbury. “No-one has previously looked at this period of the club and its beginnings, so it was certainly a project worth undertaking.
“Although my team and I took almost three years of researching through Victorian newspapers, not just in Walsall, but all across the UK, I am very pleased with the finished product and also that the book has the support of Walsall FC.
“Hopefully it will prove to be the ideal stocking-filler this Christmas.”
Birth of The Saddlers (ISBN 978-09565030-6-0) is priced at £12.99 and will be available from Waterstones in Walsall and Cannock, www.Amazon.co.uk, the Black Country Bugle newspaper shop in Cradley or by post from Black Country Research, 19 Calstock Road, Willenhall WV12 4TG (please add £2 postage and packing if ordering through the post and make cheques payable to Black Country Research – copies ordered this way will be signed by the author).
Pictured we see author, Mike Bradbury, handing over the very first copy of the book off the press to manager, Dean Smith.