August 7, 2012
The summer transfer window is an important time for all clubs, as they look to strengthen their squads to ensure success for the coming season. Additionally, it is always an exciting albeit frustrating time for the fans of these clubs. There is nothing more exciting than your club bringing in a new player, though depending on the player your excitement levels may vary. Every hint of a new signing, every little whisper, every dodgy twitter rumour is pounced upon and discussed by fans.
West Brom are no different, it is clear that signings are needed for the club to continue their progress in establishing themselves as a premier league club. And Albion have been fairly busy, bringing in Ben Foster, Yassine El Ghanassay and Claudio Yacob, with Swedish Forward Markus Rosenberg joining on a free transfer today.
Although making new additions to the squad is hugely important, for Albion I feel that the retaining of key players from their previous two premier league seasons is of even more significance than these new signings. In particular, I am talking about Jonas Olsson, Youssuff Mulumbu and Peter Odemwingie. The transfer window is an exciting time, but it is also a worrying time for anyone who like me, supports a club below the top 3 teams in this division, as key players are constantly linked with moves away from their clubs, like all three of these players have.
July 15, 2012
It has been quite an eventful two months from the end of the season (my last blog) to now (my latest blog). In that time, Roy Hodgson restored a bit of pride in the national team with some gutsy if at times uninspiring displays at the Euro's which culminated in of course the hoodoo that even Hodgson can't break, England losing on penalties. It has also been an eventful few months for Baggies fans.
We ended the season with a mixture of delight at a top ten finish with a tinge of uncertainty following the departure of Hodgson to England. After a lengthy search, West Brom appointed Steve Clarke as their new head coach on a two year deal. A lot has been said and written about the appointment of Clarke so I thought I'd best add my two pennies worth to the mix.
At first I was a tad disappointed by the appointment, I'd been lured in with the links to Claudio Ranieri and Ralf Rangnick, two big-name European coaches and to get someone who hasn't been the top man at any club was some fall-down from that. It's been suggested in some quarters that Clarke is a risky appointment due this lack of experience, but I'd argue that any of the candidates Albion looked at were risky choices.
May 14, 2012
So that's it then. The season ends with a good performance if not a disappointing 3-2 loss to Arsenal, who secured 3rd place with the victory. The atmosphere around the ground was fantastic, the fans showed their appreciation for the players and most of all for the departing Roy Hodgson, who of course has taken the England Job. I've already had my say on Roy, but I'd like to reiterate my thanks to him for a fantastic job and taking Albion to where we are at the moment.
The upcoming summer is certainly a big one for West Brom, the first port of call being a new manager, trying to keep hold of key players such as Jonas Olsson and Ben Foster, bringing in new signings to keep the squad fresh and prepared for a 3rd consecutive season in the Premier League.
But I'm not going to worry about that now, I'd like to look back on this season.
May 4, 2012
A quiet week at West Brom I'm sure you'll all agree. Not a lot has really happened, only that our head coach has become the new England Manager. Firstly, that is quite some honour for a side like ours and although I am gutted about losing Roy Hodgson, I'd like to wish him the best of luck in that role.
There has been a lot of stuff written about Hodgson in all forms of the media this week. A lot of the national press have rightly received criticism for the way they've reacted to the appointment of Roy who for me clearly had the best CV to the job even if he isn't as "charismatic" as the people's choice Harry Redknapp. The local media and various bloggers have gone some way to defending the choice of Hodgson, spelling out exactly why he is the right choice for the job.
I don't feel I have a lot to offer in terms of a different perspective on Roy and why he will be a good manager for England, thus I decided I'd go through some of my favourite moments of Hodgson's tenure at the Albion.
April 27, 2012
Who said the end of the season was just going to peter out into nothing, that for sides in mid-table that these final few games didn't really matter, that they were little more than end of season friendlies? Not for West Brom.
Last week saw a big game against Liverpool, a revenge mission for the fans and the players even if the man they were imparting revenge on behalf of, Roy Hodgson, said it was just another game and conducted himself with great dignity despite some of the treatment he received whilst at Liverpool.
If that was Hodgson's big game, for a large section of Albion fans, this weekend's derby match against Aston Villa is their big game.
April 9, 2012
And now everybody can relax as West Brom all but secured their top flight status for next season with a 3-0 victory over Steve Kean's Blackburn Rovers.
In truth, the scoreline flattered Albion somewhat. Rovers saw a lot more of the ball than the home side, particularly in the 2nd half. Having said that, they did not create too many clear chances for all their possession with Ben Foster providing the heroics when Blackburn did create some opportunities.
The afternoon started off well for West Brom, gaining 4 corners in a fast-paced opening salvo. Skipper Brunt produced quality from all these set pieces, the ball being delivered to the back post where Jonas Olsson and Gareth McAuley demonstrated their aerial prowess by winning every ball. It was McAuley who helped Albion grab the lead, though he will have a tough job claiming the opener as his goal.
April 2, 2012
So in the week that I haven't blogged, The Baggies have suffered two very disappointing defeats although not entirely unexpected. That is one important thing to note, both Everton and Newcastle are above us in the table and would have fancied their chances in the two matches. This is not to say they were write-offs, Albion beat Newcastle earlier this season away from home and did the double over Everton last season.
The worst thing about these two games were the performances put in by The Albion. Gone were the free-flowing, attractive yet solid football that we witnessed against Wolves and Sunderland or the resilience and guile shown against Chelsea and Wigan. The two performances were distinctly average, "on the beach" displays from the players.
The football was slow and cumbersome, the defending poor. Albion lacked any pace or width, and the service to the strikers in both games was nigh-on non-existent. There are of course many reasons for this.
March 23, 2012
Last saturday's draw with Wigan would have shown both Roy Hodgson and the Albion fans an awful lot. Let's not beat about the bush, West Brom were shocking last weekend. It was one of those games that Albion have so often found themselves involved in, dominating only to be hit with a sucker punch. So for once, it was nice to have the shoe on the other foot.
But despite the point, this did hide some glaring problems with the Albion side and areas which will need strengthening in the summer. Let's look at some of the lessons learned from last Saturday;
March 14, 2012
Firstly, apologies for the lack of blog entries recently. I have been snowed under with school work and the like, so for anyone who has missed me, sorry!
I thought I'd talk about something that was widely quoted in the press recently regarding Roy Hodgson, who said something along the lines of, if he was to stay on as Albion manager it would only be if his level of ambition, both personal and for the club, was backed by the chairman.
Personally, to see Roy making this statement fills me with pleasure. If Albion really want to consolidate as a premiership club, firstly they need a premiership quality manager, and we have that in Roy Hodgson. We also need to support that manager by making cash available to take us to the next level. Hodgson is ambitious, he doesn't want a relegation fight every season, he wants us to push on, challenge for trophies and European football.
March 3, 2012
No, that isn't the latest ITV 4 show though I think it would be pretty cool if it was. This is all about Roy Hodgson's ability to seemingly do the impossible.
When Roy took charge of West Brom, we accepted certain things were impossibilities as an Albion fan and most accepted certain things were impossibilities with Roy in charge. He came with a reputation of having a fantastic home record and being poor away from home. With the Albion, it's been vice versa, though that's probably one myth Albion fans didn't want busted.