Blog: It's all been going on at West Brom

A player trying to orchestrate his own move away from the club, one sent off for spitting and another swearing at his own fans - it’s been a hectic week at West Brom, writes blogger Warren Stephens.

NTI_PETER_ODEMWINGIE
Peter Odemwingie alone at West Brom's training ground

It's a week that has thrust us into the national spotlight and, coupled with a poor run of form, has posed the first serious test of Steve Clarke’s managerial credentials.

I was slumped against a bar in Poland last Thursday evening and couldn’t follow the live TV footage of Peter Odemwingie’s late-night cruise around west London but by all accounts it was pretty embarrassing.

The outcome left me with conflicting thoughts on the matter. I felt a great sense of pride that the club had so resiliently fended off the wishes of Odemwingie and Harry Redknapp, particularly given QPR’s pursuit was so media-orientated and potentially done without Albion’s blessing.

There is no player bigger than the club, Odemwingie signed a contract and in my opinion there are too many examples in modern football of player rather than club deciding whether that contract is honoured.

However, I also wondered if it was the best move practically and economically. Keeping Odemwingie until the end of July will reportedly cost Albion around £1m in wages, a period in which he quite conceivably may contribute nothing towards the club should he remain frozen out.

Add the £3m we might have received in fees and the net difference begins to build. A lot will obviously depend on the likelihood of any reintegration into the first-team squad.

Perhaps most importantly we hadn’t found a replacement despite a late pursuit of Junior Hoilett, a swap which I wouldn’t have been too disappointed with.

In this respect the club must surely be applauded, none of us would have been pleased with a repeat of the 2006 transfer window when both Robert Earnshaw and Geoff Horsfield left near the end without being replaced.

In terms of transfers in I don’t think any of us were surprised to see that we didn’t sign anybody. We know the club’s stance on January transfers and frustrating as it may be, it is a fairly pragmatic approach.

Zoltan Gera’s absence and a saddening injury to the unfortunate George Thorne have left us a little thin on the ground, hopefully returning players will see us through.

I would now hope that Steve Clarke is given reasonable backing in the summer transfer window to mould his own squad.

Goran Popov made the headlines for spitting at Kyle Walker, earning a red card that cost us a potential result against Tottenham on Sunday.

I think most of us would agree that spitting is a pretty detestable thing to do, although I must admit I wasn’t aware that spitting in somebody’s direction constituted violent conduct.

Regardless, it was silly and changed the dynamics of what had been a competitive game.

Without particularly defending his actions, and I’m no expert in Macedonian culture, I suspect spitting is something we frown upon on these islands more than in other parts of the world.

Goran’s since apologised to team-mates and fans, he’s got a three-match ban, lost his first-team place and jeopardised his summer move; I don’t see any value in chastising him any further.

Jonas Olsson also caused a stir by reacting to fans in the Smethwick End with a ‘salute’ during Sunday’s game.

He’s a professional and you could argue that he should have more respect for the supporters who pay to watch him and be mindful that he’s a role model for young children. However, he’s a passionate man.

It's something we don’t want to detract from his game and, if I’m brutally honest, I’d probably like to swear at some of our more critical supporters for the way they have treated our players in recent games.

There’s been a suggestion the aforementioned incidents are symptomatic of an issue with discipline at the club.

I don’t buy this, Odemwingie has never come across as a steady character and cited issues before Clarke’s arrival for him wanting to leave.

I’d be very surprised if we saw Popov spit at anybody again and I can recall Olsson having a similar altercation with fans at Coventry a few years ago, it will undoubtedly have no effect on his performances going forward.

For me, Clarke’s issue is on the field where Albion could really do with a win. In truth, I don’t think performances have been that bad.

Indeed, I don’t think we could’ve done a lot differently against Spurs and small details changed the game at Everton, both top six sides.

We have also been plagued with injuries in recent weeks, it’s been more than two months since Gareth McAuley, Olsson, Claudio Yacob, Youssouf Mulumbu and Shane Long started a game together and I think we have to remember that.

You only have to look at Newcastle this season or Birmingham when they got relegated to understand the profound effect key injuries can have on team with limited resources.

Hopefully with players now returning,  Mulumbu the latest, we can get back to somewhere near our early-season form.

Lest we forget that 12 months ago we’d just lost at home to Swansea and were languishing in 15th place. This can still turn out to be a very good season, especially if we get behind them.

Come on you Baggies!

 

 

Comments for: "Blog: It's all been going on at West Brom"

Bushbabbybaggie

Good Blog Warren, I also think that JP will back SC in the summer. I certainly hope so, as our squad needs a bit of strengthening. I would love a couple of kids to come through. Hopefully once we are safe we can give them a couple of games. Shame about Thorne, he didn't look out of his depth at all, and contributed well during his brief appearances. Get well soon sonshine.

Kev in Mallorca

Warren I'll say the same to you as I said to Inside Man and it's starting to get a little boring, don't come on here talking sense!

Adeu

We Only Need One Half!

Your on the money with that blog bud, nice one.

Angel

Embarrassing!

Cyril Randle

Embarrassing ? Only to you sweetie Angel dearest. Warren, hope you had a nice time in the Land Of PO. The blog sums up how most of us feel NOW, after the dust has begun to settle. If PO is chosen again and plays up instead of playing good, deduct some money off his wages. After all, that's exactly what this is about.

Headlines this morning, the FA and Chairmen have passed a new ruling about clubs going into big debt. POINTS will be deducted ! Is this the start of a new era ? I do hope so.

Bromham Baggie

Laconic and cryptic.

Inside Man

I think the crowds general frustration comes from us being in and around the premiership for the last 10 years. This raising of expectations can sometimes be problematic. I am not sure about anyone else but I would happily take a finish of between 8th & 16th every season for the next 50yrs with the occasional cup run thrown in. Not sure what more we can expect.

Warren

Agree completely

Baggie Rich

Great Blog!

We have our part to play Baggies fans! The performances have not been bad! We just need to string it together for 90 mins and stop shooting ourselves in the foot!

The core of the team is now regaining fitness and this will obviously help to get that all important victory we crave!

Come on you Baggie Boys

Do Lallytap

Nice blog,

The question I ask is Clarke the man to get us out of this mess, if he does turn it around with some better performances then he will go down as a great manager, if it gets worse then he will go down as not so good, it's a very thin line.

Can we trust Clarke to carry us forward, I don't know.

He came to the club when we were on a high and at the start of the season when we had a full squad it really was great football to watch but as the going got tough and injuries kicked in it was like going back to the Gould era lumping high balls up front in desperation.

Somethings not right at the Albion, it's been like it for a few months and this Odemwingie saga is really dragging the clubs atmosphere down.

OK, Olsson has appologised as Popov has too, can we move forward now, I rate Olsson and Popov and it would be a shame to lose Popov for this one moment of madness and I reckon and hope that they will learn from this and make them better players.

I have met Odemwingie on a few occasions and he really is a quiet unassuming man and I feel that he was badly advised or set up like a kipper or both.

Clarke needs to get a grip and lets not forget this has been going on much longer, who's forgot about Ridgwell and the £20 notes, Clarke needs to crack down hard on this as it's dragging West Broms name in the gutter and he needs to prove EXACTLY who is in charge and build from that otherwise it will be another managerial run around in the summer me thinks.

One thing for certain is that the Albion will still be here long after Odemwingie, Olsen, Popov and Clarke have gone and we will probably be having the same discussion with those that take over their places.

Warren

Cheers, I was half-expecting a roasting from you given our recent exchanges!!

Personally I think we can sometimes look too much into stuff. When was the last time Albion didn't have a bad run of form over Christmas and January. With numbers back, a couple of wins and all this stuff gets forgotten about. I don't think it'll be Monday but after that the fixtures seem to start looking a bit more winnable.

Our record doesn't have to be that great from now to secure a steady finish, then Clarke gets the chance to mould his own squad, that may be the real test??

scouse baggie

Give clarke some spends in the summer. and get garlick breath out there scouting. Well be fine.

carly g

Warren,

The last sentence says it all!

Mboy

You mention losing games to top 6 opposition, but conveniently forget to mention the debacles against Reading and Fulham etc. We have been poor since Sunderland away (and that includes a scrappy win against Norwich and a fortunate win against QPR) - and that is worryingly far too long.

Warren

Mboy

Reading wasn't a debacle for 80 mins, the same thing nearly happened to Chelsea. I think the mistake some make is thinking there is a huge difference in this league between being 8th and 17th. There's not, every game is about small margins.

Everton for example, if Dozza tracks Baines & Yacob doesn't make a tackle, it's 0-0 after 60 mins then who knows? And we all say how brilliant we were.

I take your point about Fulham being lethargic but by and large I don't think we've been that dreadful. It took a piece of Bale brilliance for Champions League-bound Spurs to beat us with 10 men. I'm not sure what people expect from us.

We are who we are, we've limited resources competing around teams with more. A few injuries is going to knock us a bit. Are we better off complaining EVERY single time we lose a game or getting behind the players and having a good end to the season?

There are signs of improvement, the wins will come.

Mboy

I really hope you're right Warren.

The season started with so much promise but has totally petered out. I am concerned that if we continue with present form into next season, we could be in a spot of bother.

Brunt`s left peg

No Warren my friend it was not a piece of Bale brilliance it was a piece of James Morrison jumping out the way.

'The Class of 68'

Warren .....

..... With regard to any goal scored, your second paragraph.

Would you say the same regarding Geras wonderful strike against Liverpool, if had been charged down by a Liverpool player ?

coyb ©

Warren

Cheers Kev/WONOH

Can I just point out that they changed my opening paragraph and the opening to the second now makes no sense?! 'One' refers to it being a bad week, not just hectic!!

Angel

Cheers for your constructive feedback, I'll take it into account when writing the next one!!

wbabomber

Hi Warren.

For me the January transfer window was disappointing. The squad desperately needed additions and with Gera and Thorne injured, Dawson, Reyes, and Ghannassy on loan and Wood sold to Leicester why the hell have we not added players into a midfield that is now not only low on numbers it is carrying players who are out of form.

Add into that the very real prospect that PO wont be available we have a lack of options in midfield.

The great early start has been blighted by a lack of foresight on the clubs behalf, and the whole Odemwingie affair has helped the club to gloss over the facts.

Our form is poor, we have suffered from injuries all season, we lost six arguably seven players in January, yet we were the ONLY Premier League team not to make a signing in January.

I have been disappointed in our transfer policy before, its certainly nothing new, and i accept a club like ours has its limitations in terms of finance, but i really do think we have under played our hand this January, and i see us limping towards the end of the season.

We now find ourselves praying that we dont have any major injuries to key players, because if we do our search for a win in 2013 could be a long wait.

Kev in Mallorca

Bomber.

Don't you think that the club has looked at as we are still in a good position, with a few more points safe from relegation and the Jan transfer window notorious for inflated prices? Then with the extra money we receive this year we can really improve the squad in the summer on our terms.

For all we know after the injury to Thorne we may have tried for a replacement but were quoted silly money due to our predicament and it being near to the end of Jan.

Adeu

Brunt`s left peg

Kev my friend if you believe that you will believe anything,you really believe we did not buy in january so that we can spend more in the summer? smell the coffee Jeremy is holding us back.

wbabomber

Hi Kev,

I would say that is exactly what the club have done, i would also say that i disagree with it.

If the club wanted to sign players in January and failed then i would be even more concerned than them making the decision not to sign any players.

I can accept that the summer is a better time to recruit players but sometimes needs must.

Particularly in midfield where we have players who are currently out of form, we have a lack of options. I would have liked to see some additions for the second half of the season.

I just hope that after a great first half to the season we dont flounder and limp over the line finishing in the bottom half of the league.

On a positive note, having the Yacob and Mulumbu partnership back together will make a world of difference to us as a team.

See you soon.

Warren

Hi Bomber,

I take your point on the midfield numbers.

I think Brunt looked a lot better on the left against Spurs though and hopefully the return of Mulumbu and Yacob will give Morrison the freedom to rediscover his early season form. It looks like Odemwingie's going to be playing a part and I still think a lot of us would like to see what Dorrans could do in a more central role- should Morrison not rediscover his form- over a run of games.

It'd be interesting to know if the club did pursue anybody, who they were, why we didn't follow it through. I'm guessing we'll never know.

We don't need a fantastic record between now and the end of the season to cement a top-half finish, if we can do that then hopefully Clarke will get good backing in the summer???

CantelloRocket 78

Warren, another excellent blog mate!

Yes, some things mirror the no.74 bus, one minute it's quiet, next minute 3 turn up together!

I think you've summed it up very well, P.O. has always been 'unstable' (ask the Nigerian Coaches), and both Goran and Jonas made ill-advised 'gestures' whilst angry in the heat of intimidation, both have to account for those actions, but it doesn't exactly warrant a 12 month Leveson Inquiry.

If there WAS such an inquiry, both Kyle Walker and the Albion 'fans' who were giving Jonas verbal abuse would have to tell the public exactly what THEY said at the time, which would be very interesting.

Anyway, you visit so many other countries, I'm gonna put forward the suggestion that you become the new Baggies Chief Scout, maybe you can then uncover a few gems?

And if your 'better half' is reading this, no, I don't think this means he plans to buy you a new diamond ring in the near future, but he might eventually buy a round of drinks for us.........?

( only jokin' mate, see ya soon).

Warren

Hi mate, I'd be in no fit state to carry out any scouting duties on these Eastern European jaunts.

I hope you're right with the 74 bus analogy, we might be stuck in traffic on the Soho Road at the moment but the utopia of Dudley town centre may await us at the end of the road/season!!

david

Big up on your comments about our fellow supporters and their moaning and booing---it drives me mad.

I think its an Albion thing because I dont hear it at other grounds.

On PO I think if we had a replacement we should have got rid----now there must be a bad atmosphere which could escalate if we don't fine him.

Wall Heath Baggie

Never been to Molineux Pal ? .

Kev in Mallorca

Yes Max, but they've got reason to boo.

Adeu

Warren

Cheers David.

I think it's something that's crept in with modern football, or certainly teams outside the top 6 in modern football. There's a ceiling that none of us can break through and it's easy to get frustrated with just being a mid-table side.

I think there's booing at the likes of Bolton, Blackburn, Villa, Middlesbrough, Sunderland over recent seasons. The worrying thing is that none of them are in as good a position now as when the booing started. Perhaps a sign we should be grateful for where we are rather than rip it apart?????

TB

Thanks for providing some perspective, Warren.

The Peter Odemwingie saga continues to drag on and disappoint. Like you I had admired our refusal to give in to player power, though it seems the truth of the matter is that the 'deal was done' before JP changed the terms at the last minute (demanding QPR pay Hoilett's wages).

Odemwingie has behaved appallingly yet this is no surprise as he's always come across as a strange fella. Sublimely gifted but quite simply a 'mental midget'. One missed chance and he can go hiding for the rest of the game.

I don't begrudge anyone wanting to move clubs for money or to fulfil ambitions higher up the table, something that will inevitably be the case with Olsson. However, there is a right and wrong way to go about things. Odemwingie, the petulant and self-centred person that he is, has undoubtedly chosen the latter.

What's done is done but he now continues to drag this club's name through the mud. He should have released a statement acknowledging his wrong-doing (the public statements, twitter meltdowns etc.) and then addressing the transfer day saga. This could quite easily be put down to a misunderstanding - let's face it, he did no wrong in heading to London but his real mistake was not hiding away in a hotel - and we could all move on.

If he truly respected the fans and had an ounce of common sense, he would have done this by now. Unfortunately, the truth is that he epitomises everything that is wrong with the modern day footballer. He's selfish, delusional and quite frankly I'd rather he wasn't at the club. West Bromwich Albion is bigger and better than Peter Odemwingie (or Odem-whitey as my friends now call him).

Warren

Cheers mate, interesting post as ever. It seems he has now apologised. Any thoughts??? I personally thought it sounded a bit disingenuous, three short sentences that anybody could've knocked up in 10 minutes, probably designed for the purpose of being able to play football between now and the summer. But like you say, that's probably where we are with a lot of modern footballers......

TB

Yes, I agree. It appears to be a statement designed to help both parties get to the end of the season. It will be interesting to see if he's in the squad for tomorrow's game. My guess is he won't be.

Bromham Baggie

In my miserable old geezer aspect I remember gritting my teeth and and sucking in a noisy breath when I read your "Dare we dream a little bit" blog. "That'll come back to bite you on your posterior," I thought. Well, the dreams turning into a bit of a nightmare, but hey, that's what being a Baggies fan is all about. I think Tony Brown's Moustache got it right on another page. It was a rose tinted summary, but by and large correct; We have a decent group of players who can certainly get another six points under the belt. A couple of fans have been writing 'Where will the next points come from?' I suggest three will come from Anfield next Monday when we win 4-0; That's also what being a Baggies fan is about.

Warren

Bromham

You're probably right mate, I don't pick the blog titles though and in reality I probably predict us to lose more than Lawrenson does!!

I hope you're right about Monday, but if not it's not the end of the world, the fixtures look a bit kinder after that. Am sure we'll be fine!!

Bromham Baggie

Don't you just hate it when other people change what you've wrote. eg first and second para. I've never really recovered from when The Argus did it to one of my letters.

Baggiedad

What's all the fuss?

We've hit the national press many times, we've had players on strike cause they can't wear tracksuit bottoms, a player missing a match cause he didn't know the kick off time, we've had a manager who invited fans into the dressing room to tell the players off!

No, the recent goings on you describe Warren are typical Albion but we'll survive, why?

Because JP will get it sorted. Odemwingie, Olsson, Popov they will all be put in their place. No one is bigger than the club.

Ain't it great to be a Baggie! Especially as there's not much happening on the pitch at the moment!

Warren

Baggiedad

Hello mate, I agree it'll all be forgotten about soon with a couple of wins, but if I didn't mention it I'd have nothing to write about!!!

Wall Heath Baggie

Trust nothing that you see and even less of what you hear.

We Only Need One Half!

Do you watch Richplanet Max?

Robin Brittain

They say there is no such thing as bad publicity but it would be good to receive some good news for a change.

On a positive note I heard the report which stated that out of all the Premier League teams only Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion are the only two clubs that would currently comply with the new financial regulations coming to us soon. At least we are doing something right.

astleistheking

I personally think we should draw a line on the Popov incident as he has tried to make ammends, admitted his mistake and feels deeply hurt by what he did. It shows the guy cares!

When news of him arriving was announced I was very tempted to jump on the tube to Goldhawk road and try to find him, but was in a meeting so couldn't.

JohnR

Ok we aint a buying club.We aint a selling club either.That was the statement JP put out when we didnt sell PO. A bit of common sense is needed here. Lets just get the points needed to stay up. In the summer,lets add 4 or 5 quailty players to our already talented squad. I dont care if they are freebies or 5 mil plus players as long as they make our squad stronger. With all our players back to full fitness who knows what we can achieve next season. For the last 10 years JP has been edging this club in the right direction. Frustrated at the moment YES. Excited about what we can achieve in the next couple of seasons YES also.

Warren

Some good points in there John!

'The Class of 68'

Rabbit .....

Warren, nice one, you put things in perspective.

Many entrances to our warren, with hopefully one common exit (unity).

or

Many entrances and exits to our warren (disunity)

All for one and one for all.

COYB ©

Warren

Very good and cheers mate!

Bugs.

Kev in Mallorca

Have you got a few mates who talk the same common sense as your good self?

If the answer's yes can you ask 'em to start posting on here, it might lighten the load a little?

Adeu

Kev in Mallorca

My post was a reply toJohnR

Adeu

Warren

Kev

Most of mar friends think I chat rubbish mate!!

santa

I just hope S.C has a plan" b"or even"c" at the moment it all smacks of RDM.

'The Class of 68'

santa .....

.................. ''y''

COYB ©

phoenix neo

Good optimistic blog. The Albion have two problems, they cannot score goals and they cannot keep a clean sheet. Makes it difficult to win.

Medway Baggie

This may have already been made, but... There is now a difference between fans and players. Fans choose the team they support and are passionate, loyal, follow to the end of the world and usually live, breathe and bleed the team they support. Players are employees and, mostly, just play for the money. Now I know that I just made a generalisation, but in the main these days loyality is bought.

On another note, if we look at this time last year didn't we have a drop in form due to injuries and packed fixture list. Lets face it until we lost Jacob to injury most of us didn't realise how much he had improved the team and I believe that in the summer more areas will be improved in line with how we've gone about things.

EX39Baggie

JP needs to start looking for a new Head Coach, this one must go at the end of this season. We are going backwards, Just glad we have got 34 points. If Clarke stays we will be in a relegation fight next season.

brian baggie

come on lads albion will be safe. come summer jp will spend a bit on the team,lets all move forward..