An emotional and lasting tribute to the life and career of one of Eastwood’s most famous footballing sons is to be paid this weekend.
Jeff Astle, the iconic centre forward who played for West Brom, Notts County and England, will be remembered for years to come with the declaration of Astle Day on April 11.
Saturday’s Barclays Premier League match between West Brom and Leicester City will pay tribute to the Eastwood-born club legend, in front of an anticipated sell-out crowd at The Hawthorns.
Albion’s players will take to the field wearing a replica of the famous white kit worn during the 1968 FA Cup final to honour what was arguably ‘The King’s’ greatest moment - scoring the winning goal to see the Baggies beat Everton and lift the coveted trophy.
The kit change is a rare honour, only granted by the FA once before when Manchester United commemorated the 50th anniversary of
Astle Day will also mark the launch of the Jeff Astle Foundation, which has been set-up by his family to promote care and research into the brain condition Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy which claimed his life in 2002, aged 59.
Old friend Brian Fretwell, 76, said the occasion would mean a lot to Eastwood.
The retired greengrocer, of Dawson Close, added: “To be honoured like this is a marvellous thing, especially for a local lad from Eastwood who has played on the local rec – it’s an honour for us all.
“Jeff was an Eastwood lad through and through and he stuck to the Midlands. He wasn’t bombastic, or opinionated. He got on and he was one of the lads.”
A spokesperson for West Brom said: “Jeff Astle will be with us everywhere at The Hawthorns - in our hearts, in our minds and in our hopes for a memorable day.
“He was The King and still is. Such is his enduring bond with his public that even now, 13 years since his death, the emotions stirred by Saturday’s occasion will be powerful.”