Baggies starting to believe

When the fixture list computer paired us with Liverpool and Spurs for our first two games of the season few would have predicted a haul of four points, writes West Brom blogger Jarrod Hill.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion - White Hart Lane

When the fixture list computer paired us with Liverpool and Spurs for our first two games of the season few would have predicted a haul of four points, writes West Brom blogger Jarrod Hill.

However the new buzz word at the Hawthorns is belief, and after two great performances, Steve Clarke’s boys have us believing.

Injury time equalisers can feel as good as winners and the work the team put in in the second half meant that James Morrison’s goal felt like just desserts.

Steve Clarke has repeatedly spoken about belief, and you could see from our second half performance that the boys believe they are good enough to compete against teams like Tottenham Hotspur.

That belief has come from the last two seasons competing at this level, players like James Morrison, Chris Brunt, Youssouf Mulumbu, and Jonas Olsson can now regard themselves as competent Premier League performers. Add to that the strides we have made in improving the squad and you have plenty of fuel for confidence to flourish.

That same confidence is spreading to the fans, without getting carried away the feeling amongst the Albion faithful is one of optimism. The new signings have certainly helped to nurture that positive outlook and their early contribution in the first two games has not gone unnoticed. Claudio Yacob has quietly slipped into the midfield anchor position and instantly looked at home alongside the ever impressive Mulumbu. Romelu Lukaku has had to make his first impressions from the bench, but this has hardly put him off, on Saturday his introduction coincided with a change in our emphasis and his marauding forward play will cause many defences problems. Markus Rosenberg got his first taste of first team action on Saturday after coming off the bench, and although we still await the introduction of Yassine El Ghannassy the feeling is the squad has been strengthened.

It is still too early to get carried away, after all we are only two games into the season but the fans out there that were worried or unsure about the appointment may just start to develop some belief themselves. I include myself in that category, I was worried Steve Clarke would make too many wholesale changes and the time too adapt would be prolonged. But the transition looks to be smooth, probably as any changes our new head coach has brought in have been minor ones.

James Morrison has said the changes have been slight compared to the regime under Roy Hodgson. Training has been physically more demanding during pre-season and he remarks that the boys are all feeling super fit, which could relate to how strong we have finished each of our first two games.

As I say it is still early days and next Saturday will arguably be our toughest challenge yet when we entertain the impressive Toffees.

Before then however we have the small matter of League Cup game away at Yeovil to navigate our way past. A competition Steve Clarke won last season while first team coach at Liverpool. Traditionally the League Cup is a competition that falls into two categories within a clubs outlook. Either it is seen as a competition for developing fringe or youth players or it is seen as a competition worth competing for. In recent years we have fallen somewhere between the two and some would argue our Premier League survival could be jeopardised by drawn out cup runs. Personally I am of the opinion that winning breeds confidence and every game and competition should be entered into with us looking to win it, and that goes for the League Cup too.

Steve Clarke has hinted that he sees both cup competitions as realistic targets for success and I am keen to see how we approach the game at Yeovil.

The following few days are more important than first glance, the League Cup game, the closure of the transfer window and Saturday’s game against Everton will be key. Momentum is a powerful force and two good results would add to our early optimism and help build on an excellent start to Steve Clarkes Albion career.

It will help develop our belief, early signs have been good, let’s keep it going.

Up the Baggies.

Comments for: "Baggies starting to believe"

CantelloRocket 78

Hi Jarrod,

it's a key subject when you talk about 'belief',because your namesake 'Bomber' Brown has repeated many times on the radio that player's performance's can be dramatically lifted by a boost in confidence,often seen when the whole team sudden raise their game after scoring a goal.

Many years ago,almost everyone believed it was impossible for a man to run a mile in under 4 minutes,yet what I find fascinating is that when Roger Bannister actually achieved this feat,more than 20 other runners did the same thing shortly afterwards.

This illustrates the power of the mind,and that's why having a negative attitude can only be destructive,it holds you back and drags you down-

the thing about having a positive attitude is that even if you don't achieve the target you set yourself,at least you know you've given it a damn good try,not just given up.

Personally,I see Albion as having their strongest squad for maybe 30 years,so why shouldn't they believe they're a decent premiership team?

I know every game at this level is a tough one,but most of our guys have shown they can 'cut it' with the best,and the team have beaten the likes of Arsenal,Chelsea,and Liverpool (3 times) in the last couple of seasons,so there shouldn't be anything to fear.

As for us fans being at risk of 'getting carried away',don't worry-

even if we win our next half a dozen games,the so-called 'experts' will still have us as nailed on certainties for relegation.

They'll remind us that 'we're not worthy'.

Yeah,right.......

J♣ck the Hat.

Worrow Jarrod,

My belief came from the Jeremy Peace actions over his time as owner of our legendary club. We have gradually grown during his leadership both on and off the field of play. Good water has now passed under our bridge and has brought to us another experienced coach to become our player overseer. Steve Clarke's addition to our club had no fears for me only through Jeremy Peace and Steve's reputation. Without going through obvious names ALBION have many players worth millions of pounds thanks to the phenomenon that is Dan Ashworth (although some were in place prior to his station). I have stated before "Youngsters peg open your eyes you are on the threshold and about to witness another great ALBION era". For the C.O.C-up I think we will field a mix of new, experience and younger players most of which have not kicked a ball in anger yet so to speak. Here goes that word again you were on about; I "Believe" we won't C.O.C-up mate.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

The Real Bully Hoo.

Morning Jarrod.

I'll be really interested to see tonight's line-up. I'm been one of the 'the cup should be sacrificed for the league' brigade for the last few seasons and I'm not back tracking, I think that was totally the right thing for us. This season though I think we are equipped to attack the cups as well as the league because for the first time we actually have a squad that is large enough and good enough to cope. We actually need a couple of good cup runs to give players game time.

That brings on the next question. How much can you afford to change the team? Jones , Jara, Dawson, Allan, El Ghanassy, Rosenberg, Thorne, Thomas, Tamas and many others need to get some match fitness. It's a really interesting balancing act because although our second XI should be good enough to beat Yeovil, football doesn't work like that does it?

2 Jack.

I still can't believe that we have a competition called the COCup. Shame it's not the one the FA run as it would have been so much more suitable.

WbaChris

with our squad now I can see a strong second XI that could compete with most teams. why not have a cup run and these lads get some game time, Yeovil are having a good start to the season so I see a good test ahead

my Team at Yeovil

Myhill

Hurst

Dawson

Tamas

Jones

Gera

Thorne

El Ghannassy

Thomas

Rosenburg

Lukaku

Cyril Randle

James Morrison said they got a right rollocking from SC at half time. That pleased me as much as the revival. Yeovil won't roll over either. Top of Div.1 means that confidence thingy is sky high.

They televised Roger Bannister doing the 4 minute mile. I honestly thought he would die at the end, looking at his face. Do have a look at this and marvel too at the clothes worn in those far-off days. A 'search' will produce lots of info. The commentary is fascinating too.

CantelloRocket 78

3 Bully,

it's a good job the F.A. wasn't called the Football Union of Clubs-

just think what the F.A.Cup might have been called.........:)

J♣ck the Hat.

(5)

Cyril,

I remember our gym gear issued by the school was Singlet (House colours), shorts and black plimsoles, no socks allowed. Organised games and P.E. consisted of being changed within three minutes without talking. Any one with dirty feet were made to scrub them with a scrubbing brush in the cloakroom overseen by a prefect. We then ran half a mile approximately to the football pitch, many a wintertime in about nine inches of snow. We were glad when the match and the run back to school was over. Local lad (Hurst Hill) Gordon Bentley broke the track record at Crystal Palace in the same attire back then, no socks were worn by him. When he finished his plimsoles were stuffed full of red shale and his feet were red with tough Black Country Blood. Gordon had two brothers Ronnie and Gordon. Just thought our young fans would like to know mate.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

J♣ck the Hat.

Don't know whether anyone else has tried it but being as there is only old info down the right, I have magnified to 300mag. Let me know if it helps.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

The Real Bully Hoo.

5 Cyril.

I saw that bit of film recently and you're right, it is fascinating, expecially the footwear worn compared to today.

My favourite athletics clip is still Ann Packer winning the 800 metre gold in the 1968 Tokyo *lympics. I still remember watching it as though it was yesterday. She'd been favourite for the 400m but lost out to an Australian, she'd never previously run an international 800m but entered out of disappointment.

Entering the back straight of the final she was hopelessly behind the leaders and then came the famous David Coleman commentary 'and here comes An Packer' as she burst past runner after runner before hitting the front and instead of blowing up she extened the lead and finished the race smiling as the other runners looked totally spent.

Anybody looking for a bit of inspiration should watch this clip. She was a full time teacher at the time training in her spare time while Iron Curtain athletes and Americans were virtually full time professionals running as amateurs. I have to admit it still brings a tear to my eye when I watch it.

Sorry for interrupting the football flow.

Robin Brittain

Jarrod

The doubts that you and many of us had about Steve Clarke's appointment can largely be discounted. Perhaps we should have had more faith in the board to select the right man which appears to be the case.

It would be interesting to hear from other contributors as to whether given the hyperthetical opportunity we would have RH back in place of SC. Not many I suspect.

21k poor mol

Good point on belief, it's how we react from a bad run which will determine how much belief we actually have. At the moment even if we lose I can't see us rolling over easily.

The Everton game will be a great test for us as we are both on form. Last time we played them it was the most boring game I have possibly have ever seen, they got a lucky goal close to the end which was the only defference apart.

Early days yet but hopefully mid table will be reached a little easier this time round.

Dead Baggie

I admit I did have my doubts about SC, but they are fast diminishing. The true test will be when we hit a sticky patch and to see if he has the nous to navigate us out of it. On the subject of Roy Hodgson, I was never a big fan, he did well, but the style of football was dire in my opinion and I was glad he left, just dissapointed though that he is now England manager.

WarandPeace

Robin, I am sure there are going to be days ahead where we longingly remember Hodgson. I think those days will coincide with defeats and leaking of goals. SC is obvously trying to get us to be a more positive team which I prefer to be honest, but getting the balance right is key. I am fully behind SC.

CantelloRocket 78

Re: SC and RH-

I mentioned earlier about being positive,but that doesn't mean charging forward without exercising caution-

Jimmy Morrison's said that RDM started very well in his first premiership season with us (ironically,I think we were 4th after a handful of games),and we were playing good,attractive football,but we all remember what then happened-

so you still have to tread carefully.

Having said that,I believe we're in a better position this time around,because Steve Clarke's got a wealth of football knowledge and experience at top level,plus the current squad's stronger than it was a couple of years ago.

All the same,we just need to 'take it a game at a time' (where have I heard that before?),and give the team our full backing.

Sometimes you can play 'the beautiful game',and sometimes you have to dig in,and grind out a result.

RH achieved what he was asked to do at the Baggies,and SC started out with Roy's legacy,which was a very good one.

So praise all round.

J♣ck the Hat.

(14)

Cantello,

We certainly got stuck in against Spurs and ground out a big, fat, well deserved point mate.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Robin Brittain

In no way did I intend to demean the achievements of Roy Hodgson because I was one of his many fans who post on this site. Without him there was a reasonable chance that we could have been relegated.

The only doubts I had about RH were his desire to stay with us. After his experience at Liverpool I always felt that he wanted to draw the curtain on his career on a major stage and he looks to have managed that.

On the other hand we now have a head coach who seems genuinely pleased to be in his job and totally immersed in his work. I have always believed that the strength of any football club depends on the strength of it's playing staff rather any perceived hierachy within the game. Rather quickly we seem to have assembled a group of players which may continue to surprise this season. Exciting times.

kev in mallorca

Cyril and Trbhoo

My favourite athletics from the past is any footage of Mary Rand in them big white pants, lovely.

Adéu

kev in mallorca

BonzoBallBaggie

Didn't know you were still in the UK after the Liverpool game,vaguely remember seeing you Saturday night and it wasn't you who pinched me trumpet was it?

The two of you will have to come over more often to keep the good luck going. I can understand Lukaku starting but he makes one hell of an impact player.

Adéu

kev in mallorca

Cantello

The ony down side with this good start is there ain't nobody moaning and that means Max ain't got anybody to sharpen his tongue on and you know what he's like he doesn't like to give praise in public,it spoils his image.Another plus is it's a great time to buy second hand pitch fork on E-Bay.

Adéu

New Broseley Baggie

We are now 2-1 up,but my point still stands.Enough spin,the club should be more honest about these things before fans pay out their hard earned wages,especially during a recession.

kev in mallorca

Mate I've not been paying too much attention of late, can you please explain your point?

Adéu

Cyprus Baggie

Gr8 Blog.

Changing the subject, having beaten Yeovil I noticed that JT didn't even manage the bench, does anyone know what's happening there is he injured ? has he fell out with SC ? JT has played a big part in the last couple of years and it seems strange that he would be excluded so drastically.

Paul

J♣ck the Hat.

(16)

Robin,

Careful mate, who brought those players together.

(-)

To you lads who are debating Athletics,

26 Dec, 1970.

We were leaving Coventry after our Boxing-day match when it came over the radio that Lillian Board had died. What a 400-metres runner she was.

(20)

Broseley,

Come on mate everyone new their would be wholesale changes!, well nearly.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

CantelloRocket 78

19 Father Kev,

Hola,

it might just be coincidence,but I've noticed we often get a lot more posts on here after the Baggies lose than when we win a game (although some are obviously wolves fans,because you get some like 'MolineuxBaggie' saying- 'we am rubbish and we shud be doin' wat wolves is doin' they am a big club they am').

I've noticed there's also a load of Olympic torches been sold on eBay,so if we lose to Everton,you might see the sky lit up with flames outside The Hawthorns on Saturday night,with people climbing the walls and shouting for JP's head.

Or do you think I'm just getting carried away?

Like JP will be.......

Adeu.

The Real Bully Hoo.

Kev.

As a 12 year old I was in love with Mary Rand but funnily enough I didn't find Ann Packer at all attractive whereas looking back at the old film clips I now find AP the more desirable of the two, strange isn't it. I write this fully aware that you will take the p**s.

Don't get to complacent about the villagers. I've checked and there's not a single pitchfork or flaming torch on Ebay (apart from some typical rip off *lympic ones.) They will all be settled in their starting blocks like Bolt and Blake, pitchforks in hand and ready to take off at the first defeat with

'Clarke isn't a No1.'

'Why didn't we go for Van Persie as a marque signing?'

'PO isn't trying because he wants a transfer.'

Our fifth columnists are alive and well and living amongst us ready to strike. So if you see any nuns at the game on Saturday 'give 'em the cold steel, they don't like it up 'em.'

20 New Brosely.

I'm afraid I agree with Jack. Anybody that hasn't clocked on to the fact by now that we aren't going to play our first XI in the first round of the COCup against lower league opposition is probably never going to work it out.

Every one of those that played are first team squad players and need game time if they're to be ready when they're required in PL games, you can't expect them to step in and perform against top teams if they haven't played all season.

Cyril Randle

I want to make half a dozen replies to good points above but I have to keep scrolling up and down.

Roberto di Matteo lost the plot with us, (or did he read another story?), yet he's now managing Chelsea. Some demotion !

Hodgson did what he was paid to do, saved the ship from sinking. Mainly it was dour and unexciting, but it worked. One could get castigated for daring to make this point on here and we did have the worst home record I can remember. I still think he'll make a good England manager though. He's not afraid of 'big-time-Charlies' and he's very astute.

Steve Clarke is a top class coach, got away to a flying start. There will be a period when the pooh hits the fan.

Bully and Kev. I shall seek out those clips as I love looking at 'The Way We Were'.

I hope JT is OK and will play soon.

Anyone going to Yeovil sensed the team would be different, but if you're anything like I was 'doing away games', you go anyway. You go to do friendly battle with another village, the travel, the tension and sometimes, just a new ground. Remind me, didn't Bristol Rovers use the Yeovil ground on an ill-fated day in 1991 ?

CantelloRocket 78

24 Bully,

do you really think anyone would take the p*** because you had a crush on Mary Rand as a 12-year old?

I'm sure no one would dare to suggest you were a randy schoolboy.

Perish the thought...........;)

The Real Bully Hoo.

Rocket.

When it comes to taking the p**s, Kev, Max and Lonely seem to treat me as their specialist subject.

CantelloRocket 78

27 Bully,

it's just a sign of affection.They luv ya really.But only in a 'manly' way,of course.

(p.s.-Max cringes at my jokes.After the effort at post 26 on the 'Rand' theme,I can see what he means).

AndyH

Afternoon all,

tried to post earlier but it did'nt seem to work so try again time....

a win is a win from last night - and i'm sort of glad that the players who were rotated in got a good result as it gets them game time and puts "good" pressure on the players in "first team" to keep performing well - and we make it through to the next round obviously! I also hope JT is well and will get a run out as he can be a match winner.

On the athletics front, one clip that makes my shed a tear or two is the one of Derek Redmond when his hamstring goes and his dad helps him on the track. Back in 1989 i went on a school trip to see England V Argentina at Hockey at the Alexander stadium (pitch was behind the main stand) England won 5-1 but we snuck off to watch some training in the stadium and Redmond came over and talked to us...some annoying teenagers we were and he gave us some time...class act and i always remember that.

regards

AndyH