It is with deep regret that the West Bromwich Albion Former Players Association record the passing of former 1950’s full back Stan Rickaby. Stan passed away in Perth Western Australia on Tuesday 11th February, and was the last remaining link with the famously dubbed ‘team of the century’ that so nearly attained the illusive ‘double’ in the 1953-54 season.
Stan was born in Stockton-On-Tees on 12 March 1924, and after spending all his early footballing days in the area signed for Middlesbrough as an amateur in 1941, and then professional for the club after the war in 1946. In February 1950, the then Albion manager Jack Smith brought him to the Hawthorns for a reported fee of £7,500, mainly as cover for Jimmy Pemberton.
Unfortunately Jimmy had a terrible injury record and it wasn’t long before Stan had cemented his place firmly in the Baggies side at right back, a tenure he was pretty much to hang on to until he himself was injured in the F A cup semi-final in 1954 against Port Vale, when he famously missed the final against Preston North End, giving Joe Kennedy the opportunity to win a cup winners medal in his place.
Thankfully, both he and injured goal-keeper Norman Heath were presented with cup medals after the event, but Stan was never able to permanently secure his place back in the side at right back due the emergence of firstly Stuart Williams, then Don Howe. Sadly he became embroiled in a ‘messy’ dispute with Albion after the 1954 final, and in June 1955, he finally left the Hawthorns to join Poole Town as their player-manager, after 205 first team appearances and two goals for the ‘Baggies’.
After further moves to firstly Weymouth, then Newton Abbott ‘Spurs’, Stan finally hung up his boots in 1964, and emigrated to Australia in the late 1960’s, where he was to remain for the rest of his life. He did return to the Hawthorns on a couple of occasions, the last of which was to promote his autobiography ‘Upover and Downunder’ in 2003.
The Association wishes to extend its deepest sympathy to Stan’s family and friends, at this sad time.