From Triplex Safety Glass to Pilkington XXX –
A brief history of the ‘Triplex Teams’
By Ian McDonald
In his guide to non-league football grounds in the
West Midlands, Colin Peel describes the Triplex Sports Association Ground as a “hidden gem”. A number of teams have used the ground over the years and the ground has also experienced radical changes.
Triplex Safety Glass
A team of employees from the Triplex Factory joined the Works’ League in 1931. The Works’ League was founded in 1905 and at its peak it ran 22 divisions for 150 teams. Such was the size of the operation that full-time employees and a large office were needed to administer the league. The league folded in the final years of the twentieth century. Ironically, Burman Hi-Ton, for-runners to Pilkington XXX played in the league in its final years.
Triplex Safety Glass were very consistent members of the Works League and rarely dropped out of the top two divisions, perhaps their most successful season was in 1959/60 when they romped to the league title, dropping just 7 points in the process.
In 1984, Triplex FC, the successors to Triplex Safety Glass joined the Midland Combination’s Second Division. After a moderate first season, promotion was achieved at the second attempt. Triplex then became consistent mid-table finishers in the Combination’s First Division before quitting the league at the end of the 1992/3 season.
Richmond Swifts/Kings Norton Town
In 1994 Richmond Swifts was formed by the merger of two minor clubs – Swift Personalised Products and Richmond Amateurs. The newly formed team joined the Midland Combination’s Second Division and moved into the Triplex Ground. In their first season they stormed to the division title, winning it by 15 points. The following season saw Swifts runaway with the First Division title. In 1996/7, a treble of back to back title wins was achieved as the Premier Division was won by 11 points, with 95 points from 38 games. Season 1997/8 saw the Swifts promoted to the Midland Alliance and, in an attempt to establish links with the area, the club changed its name to Kings Norton Town. However, the Triplex Ground was not up to Alliance standards so Kings Norton had to groundshare with Redditch United. On the pitch the first season in the new league was a success and Kings Norton finished fifth. The following season the club was on the move again and Oldbury Leisure Centre became their home and the club had a highly successful season finishing second. Sadly after a poor 1999/2000 season, Kings Norton Town folded.
Burman Hi-Ton/Pilkington XXX
1996/7 season saw Burman finish runners-up in Division 1 of the Birmingham Works league and win the League Cup. In 1998 they joined the Midland Combination and finished runners-up in Division 3. In 2000/1 they were runners up in the Smedley Crooke Cup losing to Alvechurch in the Final having beaten Studley in the Semi Final. 2001/2 was a very successful season with the team completing the treble winning Division 2 of the Combination, the Birmingham FA Junior Cup and Combination Challenge Vase. The following season saw the team name change to Pilkington XXX F.C. In 2003/4 Pilkington gained promotion to the Premier Division and floodlights were erected at the Triplex. The following 3 seasons have seen Pilkington establish themselves as a Premier Division side with a positive future, including finishing 5th last season in the league and ending as runners-up in the Challenge Cup.
With thanks to: John McVey, Steve McGinn, Jim Burman, Football Club History Database
PILKINGTON XXX F.C. Honours
Pilkington XXX F.C. Honours
1996/7 – Birmingham Works League Division 1 runners-up
League Cup winners
1997/8 – WBA Shield Winners
Wade Victory Cup Winners
1998/9 – Midland Combination Division 3 runners-up
2000/1 – Smedley Crooke Charity Cup runners-up
2001/2 – Midland Combination Division 2 Champions
Midland Combination Challenge Vase winners
Birmingham F.A. Junior Cup winners
2002/3 – Midland Combination Challenge Cup runners-up
2003/4 – Midland Combination Division 1 runners-up
2005/6 – Birmingham F.A. Midweek Floodlit Cup runners-up
2006/7 - Midland Combination Challenge Cup runners-up