Bilston Town aint just the place that I grew up in, it’s also the place that I learned to love football. Back when I was a kid I’d go to Molineux whenever I could but I’d also find a way to Queen Street now and again too and I can recall two of the best games I’ve ever seen were at Bilston Town and were two of the biggest games in there recent history… I assume (Yeah I picked the big games too, but I knew I’d get in you see, what? Yes I admit it; I’m a Bilston Town glory hunting fan on the quiet! I only turned up when they were winning.)
Back when I was a mere teenager and my bell-end had barely seen the light of day, let alone the inside of a vagina (I used to wank furiously in the dark), I remember spending an overcast, grey Saturday afternoon down at Queen Street with my mate Lloyd, spending about £2.00 to get in (only cus we couldn’t find a hole in the fence which was our preferred method of entry into Darlaston FC back then, after we’d spent bus fares on the old 78 bus to get there, we couldn’t afford the entry fee at Darlo) and watching the sheer might and awesome power of Bilston Town against Canvey Island in what I remember was the Quarter Finals of the FA Vase. Now this game had our interest because if the Steelmen won they would’ve been a single game away from Wembley. So we jumped on the bandwagon and turned up hoping to see a result. We did. Bilston 0-2 Canvey Island. Fuckers. I never realised until I heard the accents of the away fan(s) (delete as applicable) that Canvey wasn’t an Island it was actually an Essex/Cockney backwater full of tossers. But fair play to the few that drove all the way up to the Black Country for the game, they went home happy, we just fucked off home happy that we’d seen a quarter final and legitimately supported one of the teams. I wasn’t sure exactly when this was as I wrote it, but according to Google it was 1993.
It was a year after that I saw a team lift a piece of silverware for the first time with my own eyes. I’d gone midweek to see Walsall play Hednesford at Bescott Stadium in the Birmingham Senior Cup final and the Swifts spanked them 3-0, from what I can remember Evran Wright played up front for Walsall, and he later went on to play for Bilston Town. It’s weird how football allows you to link events to a single club, even a small club like Bilston, but it does. Football is just like that game, “Six degrees of separation” as any club can be linked to any other club very easily it seems. Well I can make another link to Bilston right now: Did you know (I’m sure you didn’t) that the joint highest scoring Birmingham Senior Cup final featured Bilston Town? Well it did. In 1969 Tamworth beat Bilston 6-3 and 9 goals in the final is a joint record. See what I mean? You are never more than six people, or places, or clubs or what ever away from any other person/place/club in the known universe. Its why I enjoy blogging about football, you always know you’re point is going somewhere and if it aint, just look for the obvious.
The second of the two Bilston games that I refer to was the Staffordshire Senior Cup final of 1998. Bilston won away at Tamworth and only had to avoid defeat at home to lift the trophy, a trophy they won three years in a row between 1960 and 1962, and amazingly they did, it was a great night filled with (as I remember it) chips and burgers and feeling very cold. The Steelmen earned a draw and won on aggregate to lift the trophy, what I think may have been there last knockout cup victory since then. Bilston have a proud history in this competition, having won it as many times as local professionals Walsall (4 times) and more times than Port Vale (3 wins), Birmingham City (3 wins) and Wolves (2 wins).
That brings us to today. As a Wolves fan, with Wolves struggling, I’ve turned my attention more to the local leagues. Bilston aren’t letting the side down, they are currently top of the West Midlands (Regional) league Division 1 and are looking good to take the title. Maybe Karl Henry et al should take a leaf from Bilston Town’s book at the moment.