Baggies lift the FA Cup

Albion parade the FA Cup

May 18. West Bromwich Albion beat Everton 1-0 with a Jeff Astle goal to win the FA Cup. Skipper Graham Williams received the cup from Princess Alexandra at Wembley after the match had gone into extra time.

The next day the triumphant team came home to a crowd of 200,000. "We would have been overjoyed if only half the number had turned out," said one player.

It was the fifth time in their history that West Brom took the Cup, although Everton were favourites to win. It was hardly a classic match with passes lost and opportunities missed as both teams slithered on a rain-soaked pitch.

But Albion's much-criticised defence rose to the occasion. "They stood as steady as granite," reported the Express & Star, "as tough as steel."

August 20: Russian and other Warsaw Pact troops rolled into Czechoslovakia, crushing the liberal reforms which had been known as the Prague Spring. Alexander Dubcek, the much-loved leader of the new spirit, was carted off into captivity. Tanks on the streets stifled any serious protest.

As in Hungary, 1956, Moscow was showing that it would not tolerate any dissent in the ranks of those Soviet bloc states it claimed as its own. It was a bitter blow in a year which, across the world, became known as the Year of Revolution.

In London students fought with police outside the American Embassy in London as they protested at the wanton killing of the war in Vietnam. But the dissent of youth went deeper than one far-off war. In Paris, thousands of students fed up with overcrowded classes and demanding student control of campuses took to the streets and fought running battles.

Soon they were joined by communists and striking workers. Tearing up ancient cobblestones as ammunition, the rioters were driven back by police wielding batons, rifle butts, tear gas and water cannon.

France was paralysed and for a while it looked as though the Government would fall. The French President De Gaulle fled the capital. Calm resumed after the government promised to listen to student demands.

As a precaution, many old cobbled streets were covered in asphalt. Traumatised Parisians chose to refer to this near-revolution simply as Les Evenements (the events).

January 31. The Viet Cong used the cover of the Vietnamese new year celebrations to launch their Tet Offensive. The guerillas attacked at places all over the country but their most spectacular success was in occupying the US Embassy in the heart of Saigon.

It was the last major operation staged by the VC who had been badly mauled in earlier engagements with American forces. But although Tet was a tactical failure for the Viet Cong, it was a huge blow to American public opinion.

Raised on a daily diet of victories, the US public was horrified to see the enemy within the embassy compound, technically US territory. The demand to get out of Vietnam as quickly as possible was growing.

April 21. In a speech at Birmingham the Wolverhampton South-West MP, Enoch Powell, condemned the government's immigration policy as madness and declared: "Like the Roman, I see the River Tiber foaming with much blood."

His "Rivers of Blood" speech was too much for prime minister Edward Heath, who promptly sacked Powell as shadow defence minister. And yet no-one denied that the speech struck a chord in white, working-class areas where many took to the streets in support of Enoch Powell.


In brief

January 1: Walsall Council voted to get tough by moving on caravan families campaigning for a proper site in the borough.

  January 12: Five out of seven grammar schools in Wolverhampton were slated for closure under the Tories' education reforms.

February 22: New legislation was rushed through Parliament to stem the tide of Asian immigrants into Britain from East Africa.

March 15: Mercurial politician George Brown quit as Foreign Secretary after accusing Wilson of being a dictator.

March 16: Three wagons in an oil train fell 25ft from an embankment on to Willenhall Road, Wolverhampton. Miraculously, no-one was hurt.

March 27: Colonel Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, was killed in an air crash juts north of Moscow at the age of 34.

March 28: At by-elections at Dudley and three other seats, Tory candidates sweep the board in a humiliating night for Harold Wilson's Labour government.

April 18: London Bridge was moved lock, stock and barrel to the USA after being bought by an American businessman.

May 29: Manchester United won the European Cup beating Benfica of Portugal 4-1 after extra time.

June 24: Birmingham's Tony Hancock, once Britain's most popular comedian, committed suicide in a Sydney hotel room aged 44.

August 1: Pope Paul dashed the hopes of millions of Catholics by refusing to endorse methods of birth control.

October 2: The first sextuplets were born in Britain.

October 31: Britain's first abortion clinic was opened.

November 6: Richard Nixon won a surprise victory to become US president.

December 17: Mary Bell, aged only 11, was ordered by a judge to be detained for life for the manslaughter of two little boys.