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Caps will honour West Brom legends Graham Lovett, Billy Bassett and Joe Wilson

By Matt Maher | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

West Bromwich Albion will honour the man considered to be the club’s founding father and 1968 FA Cup final hero Graham Lovett before the Championship fixture with QPR.

One of the caps which will be awarded

Family members of Lovett, a much-loved figure who also carved out a second career at the Express & Star, will be pitchside at The Hawthorns to receive a numbered, specially-crafted club cap.

They will be joined by the families of Billy Bassett and Joe Wilson, who both played in the Baggies first-ever league game at Stoke’s Victoria Ground back in 1888.

All three men are regarded as legends having each left a significant mark on Albion’s history.

The families of Wilson and Bassett, often considered to be the club’s founding father, got in touch with the Baggies after reading about the caps project, which will see every player to have made a first-team appearance receive a cap, numbered according to when they made their debut.

“We were delighted the Bassett family got in touch with the club after reading about the caps launch at this year’s 50th anniversary FA Cup dinner,” explained the club’s director of communications Martin Swain.

“It was the same for the family of Joe Wilson too. It gives us the chance to salute truly historical figures who have helped make Albion the club it is.

“The caps project is proving a big hit with everyone and, in the way it will also helps us remember Graham Lovett - who I know is a special figure at the Express & Star too - it’s a perfect way to reflect on footballers who have created our story.”

The presentation will be conducted by Ally Robertson, second on the all-time appearance list behind Tony Brown.

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Billy Bassett is considered the founding father of West Bromwich Albion

Lovett, a much-loved member of the team which beat Everton at Wembley, will receive cap no.462.

A powerful wing-half, he made 157 appearances for Albion, scoring eight goals, though his potential was never quite fulfilled due to his career being interrupted by two serious car crashes.

Following retirement he working in the Express & Star’s advertising department for 14 years. He died in May, following a short illness.

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By virtue of alphabetical sequence, Bassett will receive the No.1 cap.

Inspirational as a youngster in the FA Cup win of 1888 and instantly ushered into the England team, he played 311 senior games, including a second FA Cup win in 1892 and a losing final three years later, scoring 77 goals.

But Bassett’s contribution did not stop there. In 1899, he returned as a director amid our financial crisis of 1905, going on to become chairman from 1908 until his death in 1937.

He presided over a period when Albion won the First Division title for the only time in 1919/20 and then completed the still unique double of winning FA Cup and promotion in 1930/31.

Wilson, who will take the No.10 cap, also owns a prominent piece of history having become the club’s first-ever league goalscorer when he netted in the 2-0 win over the Potters.

His Albion career turned out to be relatively short, though he still managed to score 14 goals in just 52 senior games.

Like Bassett, he was an FA Cup winner against Preston in 1888, scoring six goals on route to the final.

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
Football MMPJ - @mjmarr_star

Sports journalist for the Express & Star

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