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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 8 April, 2003, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Tram named for Baggies hero
Jeff Astle
Jeff Astle is West Brom's most famous player
Former England football striker Jeff Astle is to have a tram named after him.

The West Bromwich Albion legend emerged as the most popular choice when the people of Sandwell were asked to nominate a candidate to be immortalised on a Midland Metro tram.

Astle's friend and former television colleague Frank Skinner will unveil the nameplate on Saturday before West Brom's Premiership clash with Everton at the Hawthorns.

Astle, who played for England five times, is the first person to be honoured in such a way on the Wolverhampton to Birmingham tramway, which opened in May 1999.

What would have pleased him more than anything was that he was the people's choice, because he was a man of the people
Laraine Astle

Frank Skinner said: "It's a real honour to be part of the naming ceremony for the new Jeff Astle tram.

"I don't there is much danger of Albion fans ever forgetting Jeff - even the ones who never saw him play are aware of how special he was - but this seems like a really unique way of paying tribute to the great man."

Astle's widow Laraine told Centro, the owners of Midland Metro, that her husband would have been delighted with the honour.

"Jeff would be very proud. What would have pleased him more than anything was that he was the people's choice, because he was a man of the people.

"Also, it makes it special for me, because our daughter Claire travelled on the Metro regularly when she was at the University of Birmingham and living in West Bromwich."

The striker died at his home in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, aged 59 in January 2002.

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