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Gilbert Alsop

UNDOUBTEDLY one of the greatest centre-forwards of his era, certainly pre-War times, Walsall's champion goalscorer, Gilbert Alsop, was a hard, robust, never-say-die striker.

After leaving school in Bristol, he played for Latterbridge FC, then Bath City from August 1923 before joining Coventry City in the summer of 1929, prior to teaming up with The Saddlers in September 1931. Alsop had two separate spells with Walsall, the first one ending in 1935 and his second running from 1938 to 1947.

In his professional career he appeared in a total of 448 competitive matches and scored 308 goals, 167 of which came in 220 third division (south) games, broken down as follows: four in 16 outings for Coventry; 151 in 195 starts for Walsall; and two in nine appearances for Ipswich Town. He also hit 56 goals in over 100 War-time matches for The Saddlers and guested for a number of other clubs during the hostilities including Leicester City, Luton Town, Mansfield Town and Northampton Town.

He headed the opening goal when Walsall dumped the mighty Arsenal out of the FA Cup in 1933 and registered four goals in a game for The Saddlers on five separate occasions. Alsop surprisingly left Walsall for West Bromwich Albion as cover for W. G. Richardson in a £3,000 deal in November 1935, this after representing The Football League in a game against the Baggies.

Alas, he had a disappointing time at The Hawthorns, making only one first-team appearance. He enjoyed a much better spell with Ipswich Town (May 1937 - October 1938) during which he netted 30 goals in 39 games at first-team level, which included a season in the Southern League, before returning to Fellows Park where he saw out his career, retiring as a player in May 1948, although he played his last full season as player-coach to Walsall's third team.

Alsop worked behind the scenes at Fellows Park for a further 20 years or so and later became groundsman of the playing fields adjoining Walsall Arboretum. He was still attending home games at Bescot Stadium, where there is a stand named after him, right up to his death in April 1992 at the age of 83.
Gilbert Alsop
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