West Brom shirt

Red gold and green: West Brom’s away shirt was tainted with blood after a clash of heads.

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When West Bromwich Albion player John Wile was photographed with a bloodied shirt and bandaged head during the 1978 FA Cup semi-final against Ipswich Town, it epitomised football’s rougher days.

So when that (washed) shirt appeared at Stacey’s Auctioneers in Essex on April 29, it had collectors jostling for its possession, resulting in one private collector securing the item for £11,000 (estimate £1400-1800).  


The iconic FA Cup photograph was signed by the domineering central defender.

Wile made 728 appearances as a defender for Peterborough United and the West Midlands side before becoming a manager for both clubs, but it’s the incident at Highbury against Ipswich Town for which he is most famous.

Respected within the game for his grit and uncompromising playing style, Wile characteristically challenged for a header with Ipswich’s Brian Talbot. The resulting clash of heads ended Talbot’s afternoon, but Wile managed to continue and finish the game after a patching up from club doctors.

West Brom shirt

The reverse of the West Brom’s away shirt.

The match worn green and yellow away shirt was consigned by John Wile and was accompanied by a photograph of the incident signed by the player.

The sale was part of the Football Memorabilia Auction at Stacey’s which also featured a 1975 West Ham FA Cup final match-worn shirt and a Bobby Charlton England football cap, selling for £7000 and £4200 respectively (plus 24% buyer’s premium).