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.
For me, that is the ultimate dream as a fan, to follow your team in Europe. It is a sign of progress for the club, and the extra money that comes with it from gate receipts, television payments and merchandise would make it mutually beneficial for both the fans and the money-men at West Brom. A sign of how far we have come as a club, even in the most recent of times, is that some fans walked away from Old Trafford disappointed.
Previously, we'd have been happy to go there and make sure we weren't on the wrong end of a trashing. Albion fans want more, the manager wants more and judging by comments made by James Morrison in January when it looked as if the club wasn't going to strengthen, the players want and feel like they can achieve more.
This level of ambition needs to be matched by Jeremy Peace, and I personally feel that this summer we may see Albion push the boat out a little bit further, be that in wages or transfer fees. I believe Peace will do this to ensure he can get Hodgson to stay for at least another season, providing he doesn't get the England job. Peace clearly trusts Hodgson to work well with his money.
Hodgson nor the fans are asking the chairman to go out and buy five £10 Million pound players, far from it. Albion fans more than most appreciate the signing of a player for a small fee who turns out to be a fantastic player, you only have to look at the likes of Youssuff Mulumbu, Peter Odemwingie and Gareth McAuley to see that. In fact, there are only a few areas in which Albion need to strengthen, but it may cost money to do so. The Baggies need to tie down Ben Foster or a goal-keeper of the same ability, that will cost money. We need another winger and a creative midfielder, these are the type of players who tend to cost that bit more because they are "flair" players.
Jeremy Peace only needs to look at the job Sporting and Technical director Dan Ashworth is doing on a small budget to realise that entrusting that bit more money will do no harm at all. Ashworth continues to find players, and managers, who fit into the structure Albion have, who add to the team. Whilst the likes of QPR are going out and spending big money on the likes of Bobby Zamora, Ashworth picked up Peter Odemwingie for £2.5 Million, Shane Long for an initial £4.5 million.
Should Albion stay up this year, which I fully believe they will, they will be caught in a phase that throws some clubs. Do they push on or settle? Albion can afford to push on, so why not do so?