Blog: Dare West Brom fans dream a little dream?

Right, this is beginning to get a bit silly, writes West Bromwich Albion blogger Warren Stephens.

West-Brom1

Albion beat the European Champions and move into the Champions League places. Have we become lost in somebody’s game of Football Manager or next week’s edition of Roy of the Rovers??

I keep expecting to wake up, switch on the television and see a picture of a gleaming Tim Buzaglo clutching a match ball, or a coffin being carried across the pitch towards Bobby Gould.

These are rewarding times for Baggies supporters, as rewarding as they’ve ever been for anybody who doesn’t remember The Magic Roundabout or Joe Dolce. Perhaps the most remarkable part of our ascent is that few neutral observers could argue that we don’t deserve to be there.

Under Steve Clarke’s governance, with a little help from his predecessors, Albion have evolved into a ruthless, well-oiled machine, persistent and resolute without the ball, explosive and clinical with it.

Chelsea, led by former manager Roberto Di Matteo, became the latest victims on Saturday. At times we rode our luck -  there’s a fair chance that Daniel Sturridge will be doing some work on his finishing in training this week - but Albion’s sheer industry was admirable and deserving of a result.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Peter Odemwingie put as many tackles in. You might argue that if he did that every week, then coupled with his undoubted ability he’d be worth £30 million, but then again if he did that every week, I’m not sure his career would have led him to B71.

I certainly hope we see more of it though, it’s certainly an endorsement of Steve Clarke’s man management that his players are displaying such desire.

Gabriel Tamas, whose Albion career has so often been written off by fans and management alike, was imperious in Gareth McAuley’s absence. That the fringe players are contributing so diligently is perhaps an indication of the spirit in the Albion camp at the moment.

After the game Steve Clarke surmised that Albion supporters might begin to ‘dream a little’. So dare we?

Well let’s be honest, a top four (or even top six finish) remains highly improbable. A top-half finish would probably represent a very good return for a club of Albion’s stature. You might also speculate that if Albion were to lose Ben Foster, Jonas Olsson, Gareth McAuley, Claudio Yacob, Youssouf Mulumbu or Shane Long to long-term injury, this could potentially have a profound effect on the functionality of the side.

The last time we had the opportunity to move into fourth place in the Premier League in November, coincidentally under Roberto Di Matteo, we reached mid-February of the same season in seventeenth place. Whilst it’s difficult to envisage a similar capitulation this time around, it may be prudent for us not to become too engrossed in the idea of European qualification just yet.

So where next? Trips to Sunderland and Swansea loom. At the start of this month, I felt that a win, draw and defeat from our three away games would represent a moderate return. We’ve already won at Wigan and gained an unexpected three points in the home game against Chelsea, anything else really will be a bonus.

Sunderland ominously gained their first away league win last weekend and Swansea are in good form after holding Chelsea and beating Newcastle, so as ever in this division neither game will be easy.

A two-or-three-point return would certainly represent a positive return in my opinion, I’m sure I’m not the only Albion supporter who doesn’t want this run (or the current league table) to end/change.

A few more days like last Saturday and perhaps we can begin to dream. Come on you Baggies!!

 

Comments for: "Blog: Dare West Brom fans dream a little dream?"

1954 baggie

You've said it all are the gods having a bit of fun.

It's encouraging for the FEW clubs that have little

resources, only trouble is if this continues there is

a danger of losing Steve Clarke and some of our best

players, no matter its great to lord it over our neighbours

long may it continue.

hill topbaggie

warren, great blog mate, i have been reading them, but my work schedule rarely allows me time to reply, but you have done well in bombers wake.

I did put a piece on last weeks blog, and as you know i predicted a 2-1 win, nice return it was too.

Sunderland away has always been a good trip for me, right back to andy johnson scoring the winner in the fa cup under sir megson, but in reality, any away game that returns a point is fine by me, and the same goes for Swansea, so 2 points plus and this smile will still be in place. See you in the vine or Sportsman soon i hope

Warren

Cheers Hilltop, much appreciated, particularly from a long-time contributor like yourself.

That Sunderland game was fantastic, I remember Clement burying a penalty in the top corner too and Jason Roberts being superb. The Koumas last-minute one wasn't bad either to virtually seal promotion. Another one of those would do nicely but like you say, any result will be a good result. Will definitely come and share a pint or two soon.

Jack ♣ Hat.

Hill Top,

I wonder how Warren would have fared in his Dingle peer's place?. Hope I haven't trigger off perpetual nightmares for him, ☺☻☺☻s.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

E1 Baggie

I just read on Betfair that the same guy who tipped us to beat Chelsea is tipping Sunderland to beat us. I'll be very happy with anything other than another Fulham performance, to be honest.

Robin Brittain

Warren I am not sure how old you are but some of us who contribute to this site regularly will have memories of the Albion figuring high up the league table on a regular basis. I think the problem is that there was a void after the 79-80 team which finished third up to a couple of seasons ago when we started to prosper again. From about 1983 up till 2009 we struggled. We all knew in our hearts that the promotion teams of Gary Megson and other managers were not strong enough to rekindle our former glories and sure enough we could not maintain our progress. Things began to change when Roy Hodgson arrived and have improved further under Steve Clarke.

We are where we are because we deserve to be. Only three teams have accumulated more than us.

You may have watched our club through the bad times Warren and find the current situation as a welcome surprise but believe me we have been here before.

The game may have changed because of the financial divide between clubs, but going back there were always bigger and richer clubs than us but we managed to more than compete.

We are a great club with an illustrious history and the current team is making it's own mark. Be a little more positive Warren and remember we are back where we deserve to be. It's no longer a dream it's reality.

Jack ♣ Hat.

Robin B,

Warren wasn't a twinkle in his fathers eye at that time mate. ☺☻☺☻s.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Warren

Cheers Robin, I'm 31 and have been going since 1986 (a great year to pick!).

I appreciate our standing in the game and illustrious history. I just fear in today's world, with financial backers and distorted balance sheets that it's very difficult compete at the very top.

Perhaps 35 years ago teams could progress through the divisions. English football's a poorer place now that no longer happens as much and I fear I may never see us win an FA Cup like you and so many others may have done (I believe other than Portsmouth, nobody outside the big 6 has won it since 1991???).

I hope you're right and we can carry on competing, it's certainly a fantastic achievement to have got this far.

Baggyjon

To dream the impossible dream

To fight the unbeatable foe

To bear with unbearable sorrow

To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong

To love pure and chaste from afar

To try when your arms are too weary

To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest

To follow that star

No matter how hopeless

No matter how far

"The Impossible dream". Never say never because life is empty if you can't hold onto a dream. Great blog Warren

Bromham Baggie

As ever I'm embarrassed - I quoted 'Shad uppa ya face'

Jack ♣ Hat.

jon,

"Reach for the Sky" Douglas Bader did and it goes well with "The Great Escape" too, mate.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

CantelloRocket 78

Baggyjon and BB,

From the immortal hit song of Captain Sensible-

'if you haven't got a dream, how you gonna make that dream come true?'.

( words taken from the official song of the English Riviera,

'Happy Torquay'............:)

Warren

Cheers Jon! Very profound!!

Jack ♣ Hat.

Jon,

Sorry mate, I forgot to say "Good Post".

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

baggieinmanc

Can we dare to dream? I recon we're living the dream right now. European Champions dispatched and 4th. We can only hope that it continues for the rest of the season. Fulham got into Europe (granted not in 5th) with a similarly gifted side to us and almost won it. The lads and us supporters need to keep our feet on the ground and the team needs to build on what they have already acheived.

Well done Albion. We do deserve to be there. In fact you could argue that of the 4 teams presently in the Champions league places, we are the club that deserve to be there most. How much have the others spent of the public banks money over the last decade? They should be forced to repay and all clubs should be made to run according to our blueprint. And what a blueprint it is SC DA and JP we all salut you. Kings of the midlands to Champions of Europe? Probably not. But the boss says we can dream, so perhaps we should.

Boing Boing

Warren

I sort of hope the dream's just beginning! I certainly agree that clubs should be forced to be self-sufficient. Living in Manchester (Did you say Eccles?), I'm guessing we see it first-hand. City's wealth is an example of what's ruining this league and English football, I for one was thrilled to see them trip up in the Champions League, I just fear they won't do the same domestically.

Jack ♣ Hat.

Warren,

Chelsea slipped up domestically mate, as I breath on finger nails and rub on jacket lapel.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Baggielee

Here here

Let the season end now, blow the whistle and wave bye bye to the vile once and for all.

It amazes me how little credit WBA are getting in the eyes of the media. The Chelsea defeat was all about them and some quotes even suggested that they sould be easily beating the likes of us. Form and confidence speaks volumes and the majority of premier league teams can beat each other when the two eliments meet.!!

If we keep this up or somewhere close to it, foget 40 points, we should reach a record 50 points.

Boing Boing

Jack ♣ Hat.

Lee,

To them we are the great pretenders but we know what we are, mate.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

TB

The London Evening Standard had a minimum half page on each of the other London teams on Monday but didn't even provide a match report of our game with Chelsea. They had one small paragraph on RDM (RIP) changing his team for the Juventus game after defeat to West Brom. Beggars belief but as Jack Hat says...

Brierleyhillbaggie

Hi warren another great blog to sink your teeth into. And do agree with what you say about waking up and it's all been a dream. In all my baggies years when ever some thing good happened two bad things happened. That's the way it's always been!!!! But something has changed it all feels different !! I no longer expect our best player to break his leg or be sold and if he is sold it will be for a small fortune. I'm glad I ain't the only one to think we rode our luck at times cause we did but there is a steel there that ain't been there befor in my life time (37) as for Europe most teams who play in the Europa league always struggle domestically and I'm not sure the baggies could cope with the extra games !! Suppose j peace would have to bring in more players. As for Peter odi I'm sure it's the first time I've ever seen him sprint back he normally jogs I'm sure everyone knows that something good is happening??? And if it ain't it can't get any worse than our stupid moron neighbours can it haha you know the ones who can't see further than there noses idiots

Warren

BrierleyHill

Cheers mate. I certainly don't think we're here by luck, we deserve to be where we are, but little incidents like getting 2 penalties and a red card against Liverpool. Whether the decisions were right or not, would we have got those 5 years ago???

I think we could've lost at Spurs, didn't have as much control over the Wigan game as we might have and Daniel Sturridge could've changed the game at the weekend.

On the flip side, I guess you can argue Newcastle were desperately lucky against us and City.....well, maybe we were playing with fire committing men forward against such a good side.

I think we give ourselves a chance in every game, even the top sides, what happens then is down to small margins I think. I agree with you though, this is the best side I've seen in my lifetime and long may it continue!!

Brierleyhillbsggie

Your welcome mate seen how many posts there is on here?? That's down to our newest mucker blogger any way

I don't think we're here on chance either mate we've worked hard to get this and yes some teams we played could of had a real good spanking on another day but we have rode our luck at times here's a little question for you do you think we caught up with the big teams or do you think they ain't quite as good as they used to be I kind of think the latter ( only the top 4 or 5 ) but I know we're a good team now who are better than the average teams now

I was alive the last good team. But only 3 and can't remember it at all but my dad tells me this team would of beat them cause there a fitter bunch now compared to then. But the sweetest thing off all is our stupid idiotic neighbours being where they are haha no words to describe it other than supercalafragalistic haha take care fellow baggie

Stoney Lane

Why not dream? Dreams may come. After all, our worst nightmares came true from 1986-2000. As all older fans will know, this is the kind of thing we became used to in the good old days: a top six team, season after season, with no thought of relegation and always a chance of good cup runs. The sheer buzz outside the West Stand in Halford's Lane after the Chelsea game - high volume, excited conversation - took me back to those days of wonder. We always thought we'd win most of our matches and give anyone a game. Let's keep on turning back the clock.

Jack ♣ Hat.

Stoney L,

Nice to know our young fans can now have what we did at that time.

Ay it maet. Cheers to the new era.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

We Only Need One Half!

Hey Warren, is this blog early, or late? Everything is topsy turvy at the moment, I used to scoff about the Mayan Calender prophecy about the world ending December 21st, but strange things are afoot, planets are in alignment, Ed Milliband managed to get elected leader of a major party, and still hasn't been sacked, a Brit wins the Tour de France, Andy Murray actually won something, I even heard Kev was getting the rounds in (although reports on that are sketchy) and, oh yeah, we have just beat the European Champions.

Not to many seasons ago, the win against Chelsea would probably have gotten the longest odds from the aforementioned list (well, other than the Kev thing) but not any more.

If it does all come to pass, I envisage a load of pessimistic Baggie fans stood in a spiritual afterlife bar, wherever, going "see I told you it was to good to be true, typical, bleeding typical" But then, I just look at that lot down the road, and think things are just realigning to their natural state. Its good to be grounded.

I have a good feeling about Sunderland, yes they beat Fulham, but from the highlights I saw Fulham played their part, even with 10 men. If we can keep Fletcher from the 6 yard box (if Fletcher scores against us, will that be the highlight of the Wulfies campaign?) I can see a win, has they have been fairly impotent this season goal scoring wise. Mind you, we do have the dreaded "Curse of Sky" to contend with.

Swansea, on the other hand, I am more concerned about, although The Liberty is not quite the fortress it was last season, still a tough place to go, and I would take the point now from that one.

But, like you said, what ever happens in these games will be a good bonus.

Boing Boing!

Warren

WONOH

That made me chuckle. I must admit I'd be pretty hacked off in that after-life bar having been deprived the opportunity to witness Aston Villa being relegated.

Agree with your sentiments of our upcoming games. I just worry that Sunderland have perhaps been playing within themselves so far and last week's win may be the rocket they needed to get going.

Mancbaggie

IF, and any game in this league is a big if, we were to beat Sunderland, we would go 3rd. Possibly staying there as Chelsea have Man City to play. I would like to see the response on MOTD!! They would HAVE to talk about us...

astleistheking

Nevermind that, where were you on saturday? Only joking Warren.

I text my Father-in-law (Dingle) after the game and just said "Pride of the Midlands", he replied with "how can you define being pride of the midlands? as Wolves were champions of the World" my reply "being 4th in the Premiership kind of defines my point".

Local rivalry aside (as we're in a different league) but I can see a good season ahead. It could be only one season like Norwich many years back, who knows? I do expect a small dip at some point but 40 points could be a realistic target as early as March IMO. Thats a long time away too.

CantelloRocket 78

AITK,

Wolves were indeed once 'Champions of the World', unfortunately after a break for the war, their best players were too old to continue playing, and had to retire.

It was a sad twist of fate, but who'd have thought the Romans would invade us at such a time..........?

(good to see ya last Saturday, hope your Dad enjoyed the game?).

astleistheking

Aye he loved it, but kept comparing Ollson to John Wile and Odemwingie to Len Cantello and so on.

CantelloRocket 78

AITK,

Well at least your Dad's got excellent taste, comparing the present players to the stars of the late 70's.

Although I'm not too sure about P.O. being like Len Cantello-

when I first met Jarrod, he said I looked a bit like Len, but he's never said I reminded him of Pete-

or is that not what your Dad meant........? ;-)

Warren

AITK

Apologies, partly commitments and partly my inability to surface prior to midday stopped me getting down. I promise to show a face before Christmas at the latest though and will look forward to it.

Champions of the World? Pfft. They didn't beat anyone away did they?!!

I hope you're right. If we can just break 30 points pre-Christmas, your post-Christmas record might only need be modest (i.e. W1 D1 L1) and you're looking at a high-finish.

Jack ♣ Hat.

Warren,

I have stated that we came through our transition during our Yo-Yo seasons. Now we have bloomed into a splendid playing squad and shown this by their desire to win. There are no "Great I am" players and as you see on the park, they give their all for one another. Every one would run through fire for Steve Clarke and his unquestionable coaching ability. look at the proof from our last match against the European Champions Chelsea. Osaze, tracked back at will in the second half when needed, Tamas was a revelation, Mulumbu, do I really need to say?. These are three of fourteen players that were efficacious for our club. Our main secret is gradual progression and during the changing of Head Coaches our format has carried on relentlessly. Not one incoming Head Coach has changed the playing staff too much but added better players when they have come on the market. The modern style of play has been adhered to and fitness levels improved. These Head Coaches have been backed by our effectual Chairman Jeremy Peace. We are now a club with players that are good and worthy enough to challenge for the title. Warren, before others start with their Jack and the beanstalk, magic mushrooms jibes, I will go on my exultant way. Oh and in a short time they may say "Jack the Giant killer" mightn't they. I live in positive hope.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Warren

Cheers Jack,

I'd like to think the title was possible, but I fear in today's world, with the likes of Manchester City's sickening resources, it may be a little out of reach for a club like ours, regardless of how well we're run. I hope I'm wrong!!

Jack ♣ Hat.

Warren,

There is one thing you learn when your teeth get as long as mine mate. Never say never, in football.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

JimDavis

We should all enjoy it and aim for the stars as we all know football will eventually come back and bite us in the arse.

Knowing that the club will not be bankrupted by any future stumble makes it easier to dream.

Cyril Randle

JimDavis, absolutely spot on mate. Think how R.diM. felt 6 months ago. Now he's got Abramovich teeth marks all over him ! And your second comment is even better. Wealthy we ain't, pay our way we can. A lovely comfortable feeling.

Warren

Completely agree Jim

Bromham Baggie

It's-a not so bad, it's-a nice-a place, good to be a baggie, ah, shaddapa you face. I didn't mean the last bit, Warren - nice blog.

Warren

Grazie milli Bromham!!

WBA78

WARREN I thought I was on the wrong page then what's with the negative vibes?looking for reasons other than Merritt and earned the right to be 4th in the league ., I don't understand why fans like yourself are picking holes in an outstanding start , you already have long mulumbu ect out injured and got Sunderland ready to take our place cause they won on its obvious you have never been in this situation where as I have , you are nearly as bad as the pundits who think we are 4 th by luck and easy ride in the first 12 games ..I just fail to understand it seemes do well and some fans have to put sticks in the spoke do badly and it's the same rubbish .. warren I'm sorry but we fully diserve where we are and having half the first team out injured where's that come from ? come in warren start believing stop negative blogs great start for 30yrs I have waited for this day to come round again and I'm not going to let pundits or doom n gloom Baggie fans put a spoke in the works you even have us loosing too dear me warren c'mon mate why all the put down eh be happy a bit more BELEIF from you for the team be amazing what can and will be done ..

Warren

WBA78

I did actually say that we deserved to be where we are and believe me there is nobody as excited as I am at the moment. I'm not picking holes just trying to be rational, perhaps a tad cautious but is that not the Albion way?? You may remember 1978, I don't, I'm expecting failure at any time soon because that's what I'm used to.

I could have written about how fantastic we are and how we're going to conquer Europe, but that may look a bit silly if we lose the next 5 games.

Believe me mate, if and when these dreams come true I'll be shouting loudly about it, just perhaps not in this blog because I'll be slumped in the corner of a pub somewhere.......for about a month!!

Jack ♣ Hat.

Warren,

Just to say, your work is well appreciated mate. Don't sit back worrying about our bubble bursting or you will miss this moment. Fans moan when the squad aren't doing so well so why not go ape when they are. Get with it lad.

"Go get 'em lads". Three points that is.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Warren

Cheers Jack, much appreciated

Robin Brittain

Optimism is far nicer than pessimism.

Warren

I wasn't aiming for either, I was trying to be what I thought was realistic. Ah well, can't please everyone........

Cyril Randle

Blimey WBA78, that told him ! I take it the missus kept you and the Rottweiler waiting for your tea ? Only joking, Lol, HONEST.

Jack ♣ Hat.

Well Chelsea, you must be having the Navy blue (And white striped) devils. One set softened you up when they beat you and the other set finished you off.

That soft sod Southgate (Ex-Villa) made a comment about ALBION which I missed, then he said "But tonight they (Chelsea) were beaten by a better side". No wonder he felt he wasn't good enough for the "St Georges" job. Commentators/Reporters won't give us any credit will they?. Good Grief.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Jimmy

Good blog Warren! If we can't dream now then when can we. I have to be honest and say I don't fancy Europa League I think it could comprise us over the course of next season as we will never keep a big enough squad to juggle it. Having said that though I'd still love to see a Euro giant come to the Hawthorns, and to know we'd have done it on merit and not by cheating the financial system like Portsmouth did when they got into Europe and drew AC Milan would be an inspirational thing.

Warren

Jimmy,

I agree with you. A Europa League campaign undoubtedly takes it out of you, you only have to look at Newcastle this season, but it'd certainly be a dream of mine to go and watch us play in Belgrade and Valencia as we did in the late 70's. Over the lifespan of a football supporter, those memories would be difficult to surpass.

CantelloRocket 78

Warren,

an excellent blog mate. Intelligent and measured.

I recently mentioned someone drew my attention to a piece written by Dan Ashworth early in the season, where he reflected on Albion finishing 10th last term.

He asked what Baggies fans would be content with, claiming there's 6 or 7 clubs in the premiership with greater resources than us ( higher quality squads, more financial backing, etc.), so in the circumstances we're not looking much higher than maybe 8th place as our realistic 'peak'.

Of course nothing's set in stone, so we could exceed our expectations, but as Boaz Myhill said, we need to focus on doing what we do, and not get carried away.

From a personal point of view, what would I like to see this season?

Basically, I believe maintaining our premiership status is the first priority, but something crossed my mind earlier-

by January, we may possibly have 30-odd points on the board, in which case our position in the top flight could be close to being assured, with time to spare.

If this is the case, why not aim for what many of you younger guys desire, a serious attempt at winning silverware, by making a strong challenge for the F.A. Cup?

Realistically, it's our best avenue for success, and I believe we now have a squad with the capability of achieving this.

Of course, all other clubs will want the same thing, but wouldn't it be fun 'givin' it a real goo'?

Whatever happens, as always, I aim to enjoy the ride.......

See ya soon....?

Warren

CR78

Cheers mate. Steve Clarke's sentiments when he took over and his team vs Liverpool in the Capital One Cup imply he takes the cups seriously. I hope we have a go at it and a few of the big teams knock themselves out along the way.

I think Bomber wrote a blog once broadly based around finishing in xth position vs winning a cup. I don't think there's any doubt the latter is what we all live in hope of the most. It'd be interesting to know if Birmingham would swap their cup win for Premier League stability.

Lone Throstle

Long time, no say anything, but I would like to add to this blog, especially as everyone is in such good moods these days.

For those who have not read the Bleachers article, it is very upbeat about us retaining our league position, and so am I. The point it makes about our competition for fourth is the one I zeroed in on the most. Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool are to some extent in disarray, making this season a good opportunity for the likes of Albion to sneak in there. I think our squad is better than Evertons and Fulhams, and for some reason Newcastle are struggling at the moment. Our squad is very strong, and has the right mix of both age and experience, plus it has the right character under SC. Plus SC reminds me very much of Mouriniho and Clough, in that he thinks things through, and his teams have a very determined frame of mind. So call me crazy, but I am predicting Champions League footy next season!

As a couple of asides, I agree with Cyrill that Billy the Kid just needs time, and I will throw Brunt and Dorrans into that equation too. The other aside is that I just watched Chelsea try to defend against Juve, and I was reminded of why RDM lost his job with us. No Kev, I am not belittling our victory over them.

The proof is yet to be put in the pudding. So Merry Christmas, and I will be back to see what the New Year brings in.

LT

Baggyjon

And he's just lost his job at Chelsea too!!!!

Jack ♣ Hat.

Lone,

Nice to Know you have returned. Any fans reading these posts who do not post themselves, give us your thoughts on our meteoric rise up the Premiership Table, no matter how few the words. Join in the party, be nice to hear from you.

Go on then, ☺☻☺☻s.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Cyril Randle

"As a couple of asides, I agree with Cyrill that Billy the Kid just needs time, and I will throw Brunt and Dorrans into that equation"

And so say all of us LT. Billy is going to be a good un, a VERY good un.

As for Brunt, Beckham made millions with his centres from a RIGHT foot, Brunty does the same with his LEFT foot, rarer and so worth a bomb.

Dorrans has been to Hell and back, losing a child would have finished me for ever. He's getting back to his best and then they can all watch out.

TB

Thankfully, with the squad we've got, we aren't reliant on the Brunts and Dorrans' of this world like we were 2 years ago.

Dorrans has been so unlucky. Every time he seems to be finding form, he then gets injured or there is another devastating issue in his personal life. He has the talent and I think he's played well this season. He just needs a run of games (be it starting or from the bench).

There is no player in the Albion team that frustrates me more than Chris Brunt. He is capable of things that very few others are, but I can't compare him or his left peg to Beckham as the latter is consistent. Brunt seems to be in world class or Sunday league mode, with little in between. I'm hoping that with the current competition for places, he'll really focus. He's certainly put a shift in over the past few games.

Warren

TB

Agree Dorrans has been unlucky and he's unlikely to get a run of games in his favoured position unless Morrison suffers a loss of form or gets injured, which is a shame in terms of his career progress.

On Brunt, I too find him frustrating on occasions but think we're often a little unfair on him. His languid posture often lends itself to the idea he's lazy or disinterested. He does actually cover quite a lot of ground (I was surprised reading the stats) and is a much more effective player than the one we had 4-5 years ago. He also plays a part in an inordinate amount of our goals.

TB

Hi Warren, yes his languid style doesn't help and, according to those surprising stats, masks a hard worker. I guess this appearance can also affect opinions of him on the ball. He always looks incredibly lazy when he gives the ball away when, as you say, that's his style.

I'd still like to see more from him though...

Jamie

great article

Warren

Cheers Jamie, much appreciated

We Only Need One Half!

Come on RDM, sort it out mate!

Anyone else who would have fancied their chances against Man U this weekend?

It would appear that Luiz Adriano as a boy had his fellow countryman's, Rivaldo, 2002 annual on How To Win Friends and Influence People! Embarrassing.

solihullbaggie

3rd will be our resting place this weekend!

dangerousbrian

I'm dreaming!

Nedball

Of a white Christmas?

Warren

Of going back into the jungle I think......

Jack ♣ Hat.

....... of those shiny points we are accumulating at a rapid rate.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Wall Heath Baggie

A very sensible realistic blog if i may say so mate. However if we are going to dream a little, if we are still in the top six come the New Year and with the Lukaku situation unresolved plus Mulumbu/ Odemwingie off to the African Nations Cup, i wonder if the Club maybe tempted to make a couple of signings to consolidate the position. Perhaps a signing from the MLS for example.

I apologise in advance to those who think this might smack of ambition and please try to take into account that it is just daft old Max thinking aloud and trying to spark a little debate.

Dasveedanja Comrads.

Warren

Cheers mate. I think I've upset some of the optimists but I knew I could rely on you for support on this!!

If you're talking Beckham, then I think wages, his work ethic at 37, risk of upsetting team spirit and telling Posh that she'll be doing her shopping in Merry Hill could provide stumbling blocks!!!

It is an interesting point though to consider. If, for arguments sake, we were in 4th come January, would the club continue with a no-January purchases policy or be tempted to top-up?

Lobe

Good blog mate. 3rd's there for the taking this weekend. Agreed the danger is injuries, and it'll be interesting to see what the Africans cup does to us. I'd keep Myhill and Tamas in the side after those performances. Nothing to fear against Sunderland as long as no ex Wolfie comes to bite.

Warren

Cheers Lobe, much appreciated.

Jack ♣ Hat.

Transfer Talk:

Millwall will not be held to ransom if they pursue a permanent deal for West Brom striker Chris Wood, who is currently on loan at The Den. Report E&S.

Neither will any other club who come in for him, if ALBION decide to sell him that is.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Cyril Randle

You do realise we may have cost R.diM. his job ? Managers will be resigning BEFORE they play us soon to avoid embarrassment.

Funny how life throws up these quirks. I can often stop a queue dead in Morrisons, Lidl and Aldi. The person in front of me invariably has an article that won't scan or their card won't work. Someone 'up there' says, 'It's him, let's have a giggle'. And they do.

Feet firmly back on terra firma, (I painted the ceiling whilst I was up there after Saturday), I now have the usual 'I'm a Baggies' supporter' misgivings about Sunderland. Surely the bubble must burst soon hey ?

I have always wondered just what makes Tamas tick. He can play so well he should be a fixture in the defence, yet he isn't. Has Steve Clarke found the place to fit new batteries ? With the heavy fixtures of the next few weeks we may well see other fringe players staking a claim. As for Boaz, I'm still filled with admiration. Filling in for Foster was a thankless task, it could surely only lead to

bad comparisons. But it didn't. What an accolade that is !

Warren

Hi Cyril,

On Tamas, I wonder what sort of condition he keeps himself in when he's not playing. A couple of times in recent seasons he's found himself called up at the last-minute (Stoke & Man U away spring to mind), on each occasion he's looked like I do after half an hour of a Sunday morning game when I have a stinking hangover i.e. blowing out of each end & feeling like I'm treading quicksand.

This time he had the game time vs Villa, QPR, City and Newcastle (I think) and he looks sharper. Perhaps that Clarke seems to like him is helping his motivation and concentration levels too.

Jack ♣ Hat.

Cyril,

You are bang on the button about RDM mate; the curse of the BAGGIES strikes again. RDM had gone before the Champions league game, figuratively speaking that is. Now Chelsea go cap in hand to try and bring in their once disposed striker Drogba on loan.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

CantelloRocket 78

We recently had 'wolves Sue' ask if everyone at the Baggies is named Kev?, and after 'Hilltop Kev' (sorry Pete) mistakenly called me Kev in a post recently (he was excited after winning next season's ticket money off the bookie) I had to check my birth certificate to make sure I knew who I was.

Anyway, Sunderland next-

any chance Kev Kilbane or Kev Phillips might be playin'............?

The Realist

Reasons to be Cheerful Part 1.

* The squad is strong - full of good, honest and genuinely talented characters who seem to like the club, its fans and the grown-up way that they are treated

* The Coach knows how to play to their strengths, cover their weaknesses and has no pretensions

* Transfers in are made on the basis of good scouting, patient negotiations and no pretensions

* The club is run on strictly business lines, with no debt, a hard-nosed approach to selling players, no mad stadium expansion plans and no pretensions

* The fans are right behind the club - proud, realistic and no pretensions

As a result, the team is playing beautifully - efficient, effective, attractive and with no pretensions.

There are some reasons to be miserable, but I'll leave those for later.

In the meantime, let us all celebrate what has been a remarkable transition from the dark days of getting smashed by Grimsby and Woking and struggling to find a Council pitch for the first team to to train on.

We know who we are.

WakeyBAggie

I too am a fan of some years standing and all I can say is enjoy it and hope it continues.. We have a team that fights for each other and is not short on clas so why should we be worried that our form will lapse?

I think we can even cover Mulumbu and Odemwingie being absent for the african nations. I am confiodent that we will give anyione a good game and why not dream of a Champs league finish? if you dream hard enough it might just happen.

villa man

when the bubble bursts, we will see how good these so called Sandwell fans are ;

CantelloRocket 78

Villa man-

Well the villa fans who live near me used to strut around arrogantly proclaiming they were not just the ONLY midlands club, but one of the 'elite', now they're all either in a stroppy sulk or hiding under the bed, so we know EXACTLY what you lot are like, don't we?

But look on the bright side, local derbies with Blues and Wolves next season, eh........?

Baggyjon

Its nice to know your'e here, welcome and enjoy.

The future's bright, its Navy Blue and White.

Nick

To be honest I'm still waiting for the "we were champions of Europe in 82" bubble to burst! Cos that's all I ever hear. I could elaborate but I won't as you will probably tell me about 1982!

Brierleyhillbaggie

Of course the bubble will burst some where but it won't be against the vile cause your bubble definitely burst didn't it hopefully you'll be playing the " I can't see further than my noses " next season cause your bad enough to be there now and with Darren bent becoming more and more delusional about life at such a big club it's laughable hahahahahahah sadly I think you'll be the fourth or fifth worst team in the league and definitely not the fourth best team to date now go back to Birmingham with your tail between your legs

StripedPyjamaThrostle

At least we have a bubble which could potentially burst! Villa/Wolves certainly don't. Won't be too long before the two are dwindling near the bottom of their respective leagues... Oh wait, that's already the case. Oh dear.

The Reverend Derek Statham

Sorry, that was a bit too high-pitched for me, didn't quite catch it. Hang on, I'll see if the dog understood it.

Jackbriangerry.

Taking up Jack's kind invitation I'll chuck in my twopence worth, which is about all it's worth!

Yeah, good blog, realistic about the lack of strength in depth that will see us punished for success, more matches in the Europa league as was posted will see burn out and injuries.

Bit unfair really, running a football club in the right way sees you at a disadvantage to the loadsamoney clubs, even if you are beating them!

That's a problem that will be solved in the future, until then it's nice to see top teams coming to the Hawthorns looking for their usual 3 points and leaving with nothing but egg on their latest club shirt.

Pretty soon, they'l be coming and playing 4-5-1!

Jack ♣ Hat.

JBG,

Nice to have you on board.

Which ever way we go we will do it gradually mate, so that it will feel like slipping off the doorstep instead of falling off the roof. Steve Clarke has kept quite a few players ticking over by giving them game time by rotation, the other dividend is others have well deserved rest so they are kept at peak fitness and less likely to suffer injuries, e.g. A fit player is an alert player. Thanks for posting mate.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Cyril Randle

villaman, well yours certainly has mate ! I don't want to see Villa go down but it could well happen. We've been there, done that several times but we are now an incredibly well run outfit your owner might do well to consider copying. Your lot will have to grit their teeth and learn a little humility while Paul Lambert sorts you out.

Might I suggest a Villa Song:

"Any evening any day, when you go down Aston Way,

You'll find us all, doing the Lambert Walk, Oi !

You'll find the tune from around 1937 on YouTube I'm sure.

kingstonianbaggie

Here's a thought - before the season started I remember reading in one of the tabloids the odds that were being quoted against each team winning the Premiership and West Brom were quoted at 3,000-1.

I know it sounds silly but the way things are going I'm beginning to wonder whether I should have had a small wager.

Jack ♣ Hat.

Kingstonian,

That is what I call a good "Out-sider".

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Jackbriangerry

Might have been worth having a goo for a quid!

That's unblivvable as Alan Hansen might say.

Nice try at taking the sugar off me piece Villaman.

18 million for a striker to polish the bench? How much are you going to lose when he moves to Sunderland?

No good living in the past, bad as the Moanineux mob still going on about Honved and monkey glands, long long time ago.

That long ago that in those days, the premiership's leading scorer was a village!

look at the league table and bliv it.