October 28, 2011
Last season’s home game with Liverpool was probably the only time we had the attention of the national media. And that was because of one man...Roy Hodgson. The media made this match out to be some sort of revenge mission for Hodgson, and to an extent the fans brought into that. The game against Liverpool witnessed, in my opinion, one of the best atmospheres of the season. The Liverpool fans were angry with Hodgson and lauded their hero Dalglish, with the Baggies more than willing to defend their head coach.
There was probably one man in amongst this atmosphere who really didn’t want revenge and that was Hodgson. Make no mistakes about it, I’m sure Hodgson was delighted to defeat his former club. Michael Appleton summed it up best at the time when he said “I’m sure Roy will enjoy watching Match of The Day tonight with a glass of red wine.” But Hodgson has been in the game long enough to not to hold grudges over these sorts of things. He conducted himself with his usual diplomacy and honour despite being asked some potentially hazardous questions.
October 24, 2011
Paul Scharner should be considered a shining light amongst modern footballers. Ever since joining West Brom, Scharner has proven a hit with the fans. This is not just through his ability on the pitch, but his interaction with the fans through Facebook. But now Scharner is no longer a hit with the fans, he is no longer a fan favourite; he will now be revered by every Albion fan for his winning goal against Aston Villa this past Saturday. If you don’t quite understand what I mean, here’s some of the post from his wall;
"Legend" Multiple times
"Hero" Multiple Times
"Paul I have waited 32 years for today, thank you!!!"
We have waited so long for a victory away at Aston Villa, and whoever scored the winning goal would always be a legend in Albion eyes. But it was not just the goal from Scharner, it was his all round performance. Scharner had many brilliant games last year, but he will be the first to admit that this season he hasn’t been at his best. Until now! The past two games Scharner has come back to being the player that Albion fans loved last year, with tackles flying in, some great attacking runs and of course, some brilliant celebrations with the fans.(See the boing boing after Saturday’s game)
October 17, 2011
A supreme display from Shane Long was the catalyst for Albion's first top-flight victory in the Black Country derby for 28 years. Long terrorised Roger Johnson and Christophe Berra at the back, his impact on the game being so significant even the Match of The Day team picked up on it! The fans were certainly delighted with the victory, and also the performance to go with it.
Once more, Albion had less possession in the game and at times did persist with a more long-ball tactic. However on this occasion, it seemed that this tactic was a plan rather than just panic on the ball. This was clearly a ploy by Hodgson to get Somen Tchoyi and Long in behind a Wolves defence seriously lacking in pace, and the plan worked a treat. But unlike previous weeks, Albion also showed a return to the more attractive football that they have become known for, with the 2nd goal the main example of this, Paul Scharner's sublime back heel the stand-out moment.
Roy Hodgson must take a lot of credit for Albion's victory at the weekend, he made some big calls and all of them paid off. I have been slightly critical of Hodgson in previous blogs for his tactics, but he was absolutely spot on this time. Paul Scharner was brought back into the centre of midfield and he looked back to his best, winning the ball in midfield and also pushing on into attacking position. Scharner clearly thrives on the big-game atmosphere created at the Hawthorns, geeing them on and then delighting them by revealing his under-shirt with an Albion badge drawn on. This didn't go down well with Stephen Hunt but the Baggies fans clearly enjoyed the bravado of it all.
October 14, 2011
The Black Country Derby seems to have slipped under the radar on the national front, apparently there’s some match happening in the North West tomorrow, though I couldn’t tell you who because all I care about going into this weekend is the match with Wolves. I do not care for the Rugby World Cup, That game in the North West or any other football game for that matter. This weekend is all about the Black Country Derby.
This is more than just a game not just for the fans, but for Roy Hodgson as well. Some Albion fans will count the game with Aston Villa as the derby they want to win, where as others will see this as the biggest game on the calendar. All of this depends on location, and for me that means a victory over Wolves is the one I want the most. And even for those who see the game with Villa as a bigger game, they won’t deny that they also love playing Wolves.
October 7, 2011
Well it's that time again, International break. There isn't a lot to talk about on the Baggies front, with the only real bit of news being Albion's pursuit of the young Dundee United midfielder Scott Allan, who is supposedly of interest to Alex Ferguson and Man United. So I thought I would write something about the International break, and whether it is good or bad for us.
From a fans perspective it’s terrible, especially with the upcoming fixtures. The Black Country derby with Wolves, and then another derby with Aston Villa. Certainly for the Wolves game, the nerves are beginning to build already. Neither side are in great form, and with Albion yet to win at home, you just know it’s going to be a close, tense affair. The thought of seeing Wolves celebrate a win at the Hawthorns is something I don’t want to think about.