Statham recalls his double misery

Less than four days to go now – and Albion's old guard are bristling with optimism as the focus on Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final sharpens.

Derek StathamLess than four days to go now – and Albion's old guard are bristling with optimism as the focus on Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final sharpens.

None more so than Derek Statham, one of the most talented defenders ever to wear the blue and white stripes and also one of the unluckiest.

It was Statham’s fate to experience football’s ultimate “downer” – the losing dressing room at a semi-final in both 1978 and 82.

On top of that, the attack-minded Wolverhampton-born left back constantly came off second best in a career-long battle for England caps with Arsenal’s Kenny Sansom despite howls of outrage at least from this part of the country.

But Statham, who now lives the good life in Spain but remains interested in all matters Albion, is as chirpy as his football used to be as he ponders the remainder of the season.

“I’ve not got a problem with this game, I’m very optimistic,” he insists. “I hear a lot of people fretting because Portsmouth are a Premiership side but I think we’ve a great chance. They are a good side but Albion are well capable of beating them.

“You have to accept that they are the stronger team defensively. David James is playing very well and (Sol)  Campbell has put his game back together but they don’t score bags of goals and don’t frighten you going forward. 

“I think it is going to be an open contest, very entertaining and with a few goals. It’s a very close call as I see it. But we’re strong going forward. I’m impressed with Albion when they attack, they have goals all over the team. And this is a one-off. They have got to give it everything and realise they may not be this way again.

“I don’t see anything to fear in the Portsmouth team. I think they are the ones who could be anxious. They are the only Premiership team left and all the expectation is on them. 

“They will be feeling they can’t hope to have a better chance. But we were favourites in 1978 and 1982 and I can tell you it can be a problem as we discovered.” Statham can afford to chuckle about those two dates but he admits there was nothing funny about it at the time.

“Are you sure I played in 82?” he says, mocking his performance. “I think I was on the pitch but I didn’t perform I'm afraid 

“I think that applied to some of the other lads as well. I don’t know whether we froze  or perhaps we thought ‘this is going to be easy,’ We were the favourites after all. 

“But nothing felt right that day. I can still remember Martyn Bennett playing in midfield, a position he had never occupied in his life before, with Gary Owen sitting on the bench which didn't help. And we just didn’t perform.

“It was a horrible scruffy, lucky goal that beat us but that’s the bottom line – we got beat. And I’ve got to say it was pretty much the same story in 78, we were favourites for that one as well.

“It was very disappointing and you are always thinking you will get another chance but the truth is they are few and far between. 

“Very, very disappointing; the worse moments of my career. Just to have the Cup Final to look forward is so special for the players and the fans and that’s why I really hope they can do it.”

But Statham’s career disappointments are long gone now as he looks forward to a new business venture forged with contacts in his home city. 

The former Albion full-back will be selling spas and hot tubs to the locals on the Costa del Sol in a venture backed by Henry Carver and his company.

“It’s all a bit upmarket round here with plenty of people who have done well for themselves and that’s what we're looking to tap into,” says Statham. “Tony Grealish is living over here as well these days and we he will be coming in on the project a little later.

“I wanted to get over for the semi-final but I got wrapped up in launching the business and I’ll be watching the game in one of the bars with a bunch of Portsmouth fans which should make for some good banter. I’ll be cheering the lads on quite confident that we can do it. I’ve already made plans to make sure I can get over for the final. That’s how confident I am.”

Comments for: "Statham recalls his double misery"

Happy_baggie

Cheers E&S - its great to hear from the legend but come on - why all the doom and gloom ?

Just what we need in the build up to wembley.

Also I think everyone other than the london press knew Decca was a better player than sansom - one of the worst cases of media bias ever.

Is it just me that feels the E&S have got the "Bad luck" headlines all ready - but aint figured out what to put if we actually win ??

Romsley Baggie

Yeah thanks for that E&S, way to go! NOT! Why can't we have some positive press?, what are you going to write if we win? Probably something negative about the promotion push!!!!

Boing Boing

WORCESTERBAGGIE

ITS THE YEAR OF THE UNDERDOG SO WHY CHANGE NOW,,,COME ON ME BAGGIES POMPY ARE THERE FOR THE TAKIN,LETS SHOW THEM HOW WE CAN PLAY FOOTBALL THE PROPER WAY,,,,DOING THE POMPY OVER THE MOWBRAY WAY,,,IN STYLE OF COURSE,,,OH YES

baggie 9

I was lucky enough to see his goalscoring debut away at stoke, if he had played for a london team he would have had 100 caps.London press pick the england team,midland players never had a chance Mike BAILEY John RICHARDS Wagstraff Chippy CLark Tony brown only hand full of caps between them.

Baggiebob

As soon as I heard Gary Owen was only on the bench, my heart sank. I still blame the Manager for the defeat.

Derek was great, but Sansom was something else... he was at a big London club. Even today the media have their "favourite" clubs.

SherpaVanDiv4winners

Ironically his knickname was "Wolverhampton"(I kid you not!).....One of the most naturally gifted footballers your ever likely to see..Just nothing faized him..so assured in possession and I am in agreement with Baggie9.....It's who you play for not how good!....Kenny Sansom wasn't fit to lace Derek's bootlaces......COME ON YOU BAGGIES!!!

Dave

What a great player he was! Top defender and scintillating in attack too. Truly twice the player sansom was.

Jonah

Decca was the most skilful left back that I have ever seen. Wonderful player to watch.

lordbaggie

4 Not to mention King Jeff, Cyrille, Cunningham...

FIltonwolf (Bristol)

Statham was a class player. Nuff said.

TonyWBA

Well 78 I was not thought about & 82 I was 3 (for some of you Wolves fans that means I was born in 79), so I was too young to remeber Statham playing but his name was etched into my head from my dad, always great to hear from the players from back in the day, and look forward to using the Hot tub when we pop across to Costa Del Sol on our tour of Europe next season.

FIltonwolf (Bristol)

11. Why the insult to the Wolves fans ? What prompted that comment ? I don't see any derogatory comments here about Statham or Baggies fans. Absolutely senseless.

Kent Wolf

Statham was in a class team,but never got the accolades piled on to the over-rated Sansom,because he played for a Midlands team.

The same could've been said about Steve Bull & Tottenham's Gary Linekar.

Can anyone confirme the rumours about Bully giving Linekar a slap,because Linekar was mocking Bully's Black Country accent?

baggie

13) i did hear that bully stuck one on linekar, however i do think it is fair to compare linekar and bully mate they were worlds apart. How many gowals would bully have got for barca?

Old gold blahhhh

because Linekar was mocking Bully’s Black Country accent? LOL dont blame linekar great bloke!...Boing boing