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.
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.
February 11, 2012
"The biggest Black Country Derby ever" this line seems to have been churned out for most of the Black Country Derby's that have been played in the Premier League, the only one not given this tag was the reverse fixture this season, which Albion won 2-0.
Last year's games with Wolves were not the most successful, in Roy Hodgson's first game in charge Carlos Vela scored a late equaliser for the Albion. That goal was massively important as a defeat would have left Albion in the relegation zone and Hodgson with a defeat in his first match in charge. It was from there where Albion went on the great run that saw them survive with comfort.
However, the away game with Wolves was a different story. Although Albion had there excuses, some valid such as the absence of key men Chris Brunt, Steven Reid and Paul Scharner, they put in a non-performance that angered every single fan who witnessed the game and also signed off the Baggies career of Abdoulaye Meite after a dreadful mistake that gifted Steven Fletcher a 3rd goal in the 3-1 victory.
January 20, 2012
No, I am not talking about the transfer window, though that can be equally as frustrating for Albion fans. Nor am I talking about the annual figures being published, again another thing that prompts annoyance amongst the fans.
Rather I am talking about one particular day, in one particular match, at one particular ground, against one particular team. Yes, Albion fans it is that time again, Stoke City, away from home. No longer a cause of annoyance or frustration for us, more so a sense of impending doom and pessimism in larger doses than usual.
I am normally someone who looks at things optimistically. Earlier in the season, I was genuinely convinced it was our time. Stoke had just been playing away in the Europa League, they had yet to make their customary big-name signings and after two fantastic performances in the games against Manchester United and Chelsea, it just had to be the time didn't it?
December 9, 2011
In our mini-league of 8th-20th the most vital thing for any of the sides in this areas is their home form. In the Premier League, you would take a point on the road every single game without fail. And so far Albion's away form has been decent, picking up 8 points from 7 games with two of those games falling against Arsenal and Chelsea.
At home, things haven't been quite as good. Albion have 7 points from 7 games, and goals have not been at a premium in home games this season. Roy Hodgson will be looking to change this, and the past two home games have given fans many promising signs with a very good, attacking display against Bolton and matching Tottenham for most of the game and quite possibly unfortune with a series of refereeing decisions.
November 25, 2011
Who’d have thought we’d have been in this situation 6 months ago? 6 months ago Peter Odemwingie was the saviour Albion had longer for. Odemwingie had scored 15 goals in a season, contributing a further 8 assists. Only Carlos Tevez had more of a hand in his team’s goals than Odemwingie. Yet this season, we have yet to see Odemwingie really reach his best form and there is now a supposed rift between Odemwingie and head coach Roy Hodgson.
When the Nigerian signed for West Brom, fans from his previous clubs spoke about how his attitude seemed to change as he went into his 2nd season, how he became lazier and less interested. I put this down to sour grapes, and I think there is a pretty valid reason for thinking that considering the vile abuse Odemwingie received when playing in Russia. Some people are beginning to believe that this maybe the case.
November 18, 2011
But it will go a long way to doing so. Looking at Albion's season so far, I'd say it's been average. We've had some fantastic results, beating Wolves and Aston Villa in consecutive games, and some not so fantastic games-losing 3-0 at Swansea and losing at home to Stoke 1-0.
Then there was the games against Manchester United and Chelsea at the start of the season, whilst we've also played Arsenal and Liverpool. Despite the achievements of last season against the bigger clubs, and the sense of impending doom that echoed across message-boards after the Arsenal match, more often than not, getting points from these games is massively unlikely.
The Baggies head into a slightly easier run now, although they don't start off with their strongest possible side. The upcoming fixtures are;
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 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.
September 16, 2011
West Brom head into their first Saturday 3 O’clock game of the season in a lot more confident mood than they did last week when travelling to Norwich. That is the effect of Albion getting some points on the board in their fourth game.
Last Sunday was not exactly a display of free-flowing, fluid passing football that Albion fans have become accustomed to. Yet it was one of the most satisfying three points for a while, as it proved that we could grind out results, and most importantly we could a keep clean sheet away from home, the first in the league since winning promotion under Roberto Di Matteo. And at Swansea, Albion fans will be wanting more of the same, but maybe with a bit more control from the midfield.
August 26, 2011
“I’m not superstitious about records. When somebody gives me a statistic saying we haven’t won somewhere in goodness knows how long, I see it as an opportunity to put it right. "
And Hodgson certainly did begin to put some records straight when he arrived at Albion last year, with victories over Aston Villa and Liverpool the most noticeable. He also did what is pretty much unimaginable to most Albion fans, he took a point from Stoke. It’s fair to say we don’t have the best record against Stoke, 2 wins from 29 matches to be precise, which is why they probably sing “We always beat West Brom.”
On paper it’s difficult to see why Albion have such a poor record against Stoke, as looking at the squads of both two teams not even the most ardent supporter of either side could claim huge superiority over the other. But when it comes down to the match, we just can’t seem to do it.
August 12, 2011
When West Brom fans saw the opening weekend’s fixtures, there was little surprise to them that Albion were dealt a tough hand. Last season Albion started the league season away at champions Chelsea, this time they start the season at home to champions Manchester United but the good news is that West Brom don’t have to play Chelsea until the 2nd game of the season.
Last seasons’ fixtures against the champions do offer some encouragement however. Albion were the only club to take anything from Old Trafford and in the return fixture they were outstanding with Jerome Thomas essentially ushering Gary Neville into retirement and onto our TV’s. Of course there have been changes to both sides over the summer, and there is no doubt Albion will be weary of the threat posed in particular by Ashley Young, Nani and Antonio Valencia. News coming from the club suggests that Steven Reid is struggling to be fit for the game, so summer recruit Billy Jones may have to be handed a debut at right back in his place.