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Season 1951/52 PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 22 October 2011 10:31
60 years ago Southern League football was just a fantasy dream for The Yeltz as there was no non-league pyramid to move along, whether upwards or downwards. There was just the one division and the clubs competing were; Merthyr Tydfil, Guildford , Worcester , Weymouth, Kidderminster, Kettering, Headington Utd, Hereford Utd, Yeovil, Gloucester, Chelmsford, Lovells Athletic, Cheltenham, Bath, Barry, Dartford, Tonbridge, Gravesend, Llanelly, Hastings. Meanwhile The Yeltz, who had reformed in 1946 after the end of World War II, were playing in the Birmingham League alongside Brierley Hill Alliance, Hereford Utd Reserves, Lye, Oswestry, Burton Albion, Kidderminster Reserves, Shrewsbury Town Reserves, Boldmere St. Michaels, Wolves “A”, Brush Sports, Villa “A”, Cradley Heath, Stoke City “A”, Whitwick Colliery, Wellington, Worcester Reserves and Walsall “A”. The level of “A” sides of the Football League clubs was one below their Reserves and often included First Team and Reserves players. Usually away games against these “A” sides were transferred to the away sides’ grounds.The programme produced by Halesowen for their “away” game against Wolves “A” on 12th April 1952, showed in their line-up Eddie Clamp, Ron Flowers and George Showell, who were all members of the very successful Wolves 1st team later in the 1950’s and Ron Flowers was in England’s 1966 victorious World Cup Squad.
There were also no FA Vase or FA Trophy and so, except for brief FA Cup runs, the Senior Cups were the main focus for winning trophies and 1951/52 was the first season when we reached both Birmingham and Worcestershire finals.
Jimmy Meaney - Worcestershire Senior Cup 1952On 15th March 1952, The Yeltz met Brierley Hill in the Birmingham Senior final at Stourbridge’s ground before a massive crowd of 6,000. To ensure the players were in tip-top condition, a trip to Droitwich Brine baths was arranged for the previous Sunday morning. With admission 1/6d, receipts were less than £500 and Halesowen’s share was barely £100. From Harry Rudge’s programme notes on the following Saturday “ as far as actual play was concerned, we more than held the advantage throughout the game but….it is goals that count” and we lost 1-2. Success did arrive  2 months later when captain Jimmy Meaney held the Worcestershire Senior Cup aloft after we defeated Hednesford 2-1 at Bromsgrove’s Victoria Ground.
SHalesowen vs Brierley Hill Team Line-Up'senior Cup activity that season was not all positive. On October 27th we made the journey to Southern League table-topping Merthyr Tydfil in a rare Herefordshire Senior Cup Tie. We returned having been soundly thrashed 0-9. The following Saturday’s programme notes opened with “A Black Day” and recounted that, after original elation when the draw was initially known, we were “not prepared for the avalanche of goals showered upon us”. Another disappointment was the attendance when only 1,749 turned up after Merthyr had regularly been getting 6 or 7,000.
There was no long lasting adverse effect on our team as we soon got back to winning ways with a 3-1 win over a Kidderminster side that included ex-Yeltz player and long serving bucket-man, Arthur Coley.
Early season mid-week activity brought an excellent League Cup 8-0 away win at Cradley Heath, who played on the grassed area surrounded by the speedway track.
Halesowen vs Cradley Heath Team Line-Up'sThis, 1951/52, season saw floodlit matches starting to take place. On 15th, December Harry Rudge wrote “It will become very popular and the Birmingham League was the first to sanction competitive football under floodlit conditions. Sequel to this is that the first game will take place on Monday, 17th December when the Harriers will play Aston Villa. I have already witnessed a game at Worcester when they played Cardiff City Reserves and I was considerably impressed.”
It was to be over 30 years before floodlights were installed at The Grove and so, without these, Senior Cup games were not played mid-week, as we do now, but on Saturdays.
Our success in the 2 competitions provided an end-of-season league fixture backlog for both 1st team and Reserves and the Easter 1952 period included 5 1st team and 3 Reserves matches. On Saturday 12th April, a double-header was held when the 1st team kicked off against Wolves “A” at 3pm, followed by a Reserves fixture against Smethwick Highfield. The match day programme urged fans to “either stay to see this game or return after a quick dash home for tea”.
When competitive sport started up again after the war, spectators had flocked to see it. By now, Halesowen had a loyal following of around 700 but were still having difficulty meeting its’ operating costs. In mid-February, a ballot was held at the Walsall home game to determine supporters’ reaction as to whether an increase in admission charges should be implemented.
At the end of the season, The Yeltz could be satisfied with their overall performance. 6th place in the Birmingham was achieved to add to their Senior Cup successes.
Halesowen vs Brierley Hill WSC

Halesowen vs Cradley Heath WSC


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