Jephcott Claude Image 1 West Bromwich Albion 1921

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Description

Smethwick born winger Claude Jephcott joined First Division West Bromwich Albion for £100 from Brierley Hill Alliance in April 1911 and made his first team debut at Sunderland that December. He soon made the right wing position his own and that spring Albion went all the way to the FA Cup Final before losing to Barnsley in a replay, Jephcott playing 8 cup ties. Indeed it was his injury in the replay, at Bramall Lane, that unbalanced the side and ended with a goal by Harry Tufnell to win the Cup for Barnsley in the last minute of extra time.

He was selected for the England versus the South trial match at Craven Cottage in November 1913, and he was being widely tipped to win his first cap at any time. As a precursor to that, he played for the Football League side against the Scottish League a Burnley in March 1914, but, as the Athletic News pointed out, the winger was starved of the ball, “in one period of 25 minutes in the second half, Jephcott only received three passes.” He also starred for the North against the South in an international trial game at Stamford Bridge the following month. He played both sides of World War One for West Brom and scored 5 goals in 21 games as West Brom were crowned League Champions in 1919-20.

He was once again selected for the Football League side, this time against the Irish League, at Anfield in November 1919, with his Albion team mate Jack Crisp on the opposite wing, but injury was beginning to slow him down a little, which was perhaps why he never did win his England cap. Four days before that game at Anfield, he had been the star performer in Albion’s 4-2 win at Villa Park, when the Athletic News said of him, “Jephcott scintillated in the second half. He is supposed to have a hardened muscle in one of his thighs, but the drawback was not apparent when he wheeled about, and ran in and out, and finally delivered choice centres.”

He was again selected for the England trial match at White Hart Lane in February 1921 but significantly he was playing for the South rather than the likely England side. That was his last such selection. He continued to play for Albion until September 1922 when he broke his leg against Aston Villa, and after 16 goals in 189 games he retired from professional football. He became an Albion director in 1934, remaining on the board until his death, in Penn, near Wolverhampton, on October 5, 1950.

 

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