Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Tommy Glidden, Native of Coxlodge (NZ232684)

In the days when Coxlodge was a settlement consisting of a handful of terraces around a couple of collieries, a certain T.W.Glidden was born there – a man who would go on to find footballing fame, but at some distant from his native parish.

Thomas William Glidden was born on 20th July 1902 and began kicking a football in earnest for local outfit Colliery Old Boys, before moving on to Boldon Villa and Sunderland West End. Moving up to the professional game, he spent his entire career thereafter in the Midlands at West Bromwich Albion during 1922-36.

When he joined Albion in 1922, they were a force to be reckoned with in the game – having been crowned English champions as recently as 1920. It was, therefore, no mean feat breaking into the team, where he played as a forward at outside-right for a total of 445 league games, scoring 135 goals. He helped the club to a 2nd place finish in 1925, before they were relegated in 1927. They languished in the Second Division for four seasons, gaining promotion in 1931 with Glidden as captain.

However, 1931 also brought West Brom’s first FA Cup success for almost four decades – and Glidden had the honour of lifting the trophy as skipper as they beat local rivals Birmingham City at Wembley 2-1 (incidentally, Glidden had scored the only goal in the semi-final win over Everton). The cup victory on 25th April was followed a week later with confirmation of their promotion back to the First Division – the first (and only) time such a ‘double’ had been achieved in English football. In the crucial final league match Glidden both scored and made a goal in a 3-2 win at Charlton.

Glidden continued playing for West Brom until the close of the 1935-36 season – all in the First Division – appearing in a second FA Cup Final in 1935 (again as captain) when Albion lost to Sheffield Wednesday. He is remembered as one of the club’s finest captains, but never quite gained an England international cap.

He died in West Bromwich in July 1974, ten days short of his 72nd birthday.

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