To this day Framwellgate Moor, County Durham born centre forward W.G., William or Billy “Ginger” Richardson is one of the all time great West Bromwich Albion heroes. Starting out in junior football, having played for Durham County Schools, he played with Horden Wednesday in 1926 and The United Bus Company in Hartlepool in 1927, and then signed with local Division Three (North) club Hartlepools United in 1928, making his Football League debut against Crewe Alexandra on 22nd September 1928. He scored 19 times in 29 League games in 1928-29 before West Brom signed him in June 1929 for £1,250. He had to wait until Boxing Day 1929 for his Albion debut, scoring in a 6-1 win over Millwall, and became a first team regular from November 1930. He scored both goals in their 1931 FA Cup Final triumph over Birmingham City and was also part of their 1935 losing FA Cup Final team. In the 1935-36 season, he scored 39 goals, which is still the West Brom record for a single season in the top division of the Football League, a total which included a pair of 4 goal hauls and 2 hat-tricks.
His career was cut short by World War Two but by then he had scored 228 goals for Albion in 355 appearances, for The Baggies including 4 goals in 5 minutes against West Ham in November 1931, a record that is still in the Guinness Book of World Records. He scored a double century of League goals alone. He remained with West Bromwich Albion and was for many years club captain, but after the War he joined Shrewsbury Town in November 1945, thereafter returning to West Brom as assistant trainer, continuing at the club in several capacities until his death in 1959.
Surprisingly he was capped only once by England in a 1-0 victory over Holland in Amsterdam in May 1935, due to competition from the likes of Dixie Dean, George Camsell, Jimmy Hampson and several other great centre forwards.
Many of his goalscoring records have of course since only been surpassed by Tony “Bomber” Brown and Ronnie Allen, however in 2004, he was named as one of West Bromwich Albion’s 16 greatest players, in a poll organised as part of the club’s 125th anniversary celebrations.
He was the nephew of England international cricketer Tom Richardson, who played 14 Test matches in the 1890’s.
NB the image appears to be from the 1935 FA Cup Final at Wembley.