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Plans were made to accommodate the burgeoning crowds and the old South Stand was, at first, uplifted behind a new terrace then replaced in 1954. The North Stand was extended in the mid 1950s; the East Terrace was built up over several years; and the ramshackle old West Stand, which had been modified several times, was finally replaced in 1958.

Under, firstly, Don Welsh and then his successor, Billy Lane, the club’s fortunes improved and there were a number of near misses in the battle for promotion. In 1953/54 the side finished second behind Ipswich Town, and ended runners-up again in 1955/56, this time to Leyton Orient; in the process Albion scored a club-record 112 League goals.

The “Holy Grail” of promotion and the championship were finally achieved in 1957/58 – the last season of a regional Third Division – when, in a dramatic climax to the season, Albion defeated Watford 6–0 in the final game before a crowd of 31,038 at the Goldstone. Adrian Thorne, a local 20-year-old, scored five goals in what was only his seventh first-team game.

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Albion’s first game in Division Two finished in a record defeat, 9–0 at Middlesbrough, but although goals were leaked in abundance the team rallied to finish 12th and huge crowds gathered at the Goldstone. The average gate was 22,460, and on 27th December 1958 an all-time record 36,747 people saw Fulham defeated 3–0. But 12th place was the best the team could manage in Division Two

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