Following a nomadic early existence, The Hawthorns became West Bromwich Albion’s sixth and final permanent home when they took over the tenancy in 1900. They had enjoyed much success at their previous Stoney Lane home – winning the FA Cup twice in 1888 and 1992 – but the expiry of the lease and lack of space in the town centre saw them acquire the current plot of land out the outskirts of Birmingham.
The land in question, upon their acquisition, was covered in hawthorn bushes, hence the name of the modern stadium that sits upon the land to this day. Originally owned by a local colliery, the club initially leased the land, but took over the freehold of the site in June 1913.
In 1949, the club became the first to install device to automatically calculate attendances and, bizarrely, when they had floodlights installed eight years later, the Russian Red Army were the opponents for a friendly in which the Baggies won 6-5 in front of a crowd of almost 57,000.
Despite almost a constant presence in the top flight until the mid-1980s, the ground began to fall into the beginnings of disrepair and, unlike it had done for most grounds, the Taylor Report perhaps aided the development of the Hawthorns. The Smethwick End and Birmingham Road terraces were demolished to make way for all-seater stands, much to supporters’ dismay.
By the 1994, the new look stadium was almost complete, though 2001 saw the construction of a brand-new East Stand and there were plans in place to increase the capacity to 40,000, though the club’s tendency to yo-yo in and out of the Premier League in the early 2000s forced those plans to be shelved, for the time being, at least.
Though Brentford have never won at the Hawthorns, their last triumph came at Griffin Park on 18 August 1998 when Jamie Bates, Charlie Oatway and Lloyd Owusu netted in the first round of the League Cup.
DID YOU KNOW?
In its first incarnation, the Hawthorns was the final Football League stadium to be built in the 19th century when it was opened in September 1900 after a construction period of just four months.
HOW TO GET THERE
The journey from Griffin Park to the Hawthorns is 127 miles and takes just over 2 hours, depending on traffic. Firstly taking the M40 then the M42, the official West Brom website gives fans directions for the remainder of the journey.
From M5 junction 1, take the A41 East, signposted Birmingham City Centre. The stadium is visible immediately after the motorway island is cleared and stands about 600 metres to the Birmingham side of junction 1. Alternatively, from Birmingham, follow the A41 West towards the M5 junction 1. The stadium will be located on your left-hand side.”
There is not an official car park for away supporters to use; however, there is ample parking in the area, both street and off-road. Away supporters’ coaches are parked in Middlemore Road 250 metres from the away turnstiles.
The nearest railway station is The Hawthorns, which is approximately 800 yards from the stadium and can be reached via trains from London Euston. The journey takes between two and three hours with Super Off Peak returns costing £31.40.
As you leave the station, follow the signs for visiting supporters. Please note that trains to and from this station run via Birmingham Snow Hill rather than New Street. Should a connection be required from New Street, Smethwick Rolfe Street station is also within walking distance.
Due to a planned rail strike there will be a reduced rail service at The Hawthorns and an additional two trams throughout the day. Rail tickets will be accepted on the tram
WHERE TO EAT/DRINK
The primary location for away fans to grab a pre-match beverage is The Vine on Roebuck Street, about a 15-20-minute walk from the Hawthorns. It is a venue where both home and away fans congregate and though it appears small from the exterior, there’s plenty of space inside and they also serve Indian food inside.
Alternatively, the family-orientated Park Hotel – which is just off junction one of the M5 – is just 10 minutes from the ground and fans can park in their car park for £5. In addition to these two there’s the Royal Oak on Birmingham Road, or, close to the Jewellery Quarter station, Rose Villa Tavern, the Red Lion and the Lord Clifden. From there, the stadium is just over three miles away and it can be reached by either the regular West Midlands trains or West Midlands Metro services.
Tickets are on sale in advance until 2pm on Friday.