West Brom out to avoid Welsh curse against Swansea

It was at Swansea that Albion’s Premier League success story started to unravel.

Now Pepe Mel heads for the Liberty Stadium desperate not to become the biggest victim of the Baggies’ South Wales curse.

Trips over the border have brought out the worst in Albion recently. Swansea was the stage for Roy Hodgson’s lowest moment as Baggies coach, while Cardiff was the scene of Steve Clarke’s last stand in December.

Yet arguably the most significant bleak day in Wales for the Baggies came in November 2012 with their most recent visit to tomorrow’s venue, as their top-flight bubble burst and the slide towards their crisis began.

They arrived in south Wales on the evening of November 28 third in the Premier League and ultra-confident after four successive victories.

Their 4-2 victory at Sunderland just four days earlier had underlined their red-hot form, while Shane Long’s goal in the rout of the Black Cats was his eighth of the season.

Yet the contrast at the Liberty Stadium could hardly have been greater as Clarke left out Long to hand loanee Romelu Lukaku a start. The Baggies were taken to the cleaners by a first-half Swans super-show and the momentum that had fans dreaming of Europe was destroyed in one dismal evening.

An early goal from Michu and two Wayne Routledge strikes put the hosts 3-0 up inside 39 minutes and although Lukaku reduced the arrears, Albion never seemed likely to fight back.

A side that had travelled south on the crest of a wave headed home with a major dent in their self-belief.

While they held on for their best ever Premier League finish of eighth, the remainder of their season was to prove an anti-climax.

Long’s confidence was punctured by his omission and, while his workrate remained unquestioned, he never rediscovered the goalscoring form of those early weeks. The gradual breakdown of his relationship with his employers led to his controversial sale in January.

The ease with which the Swans dismantled Albion sowed seeds of doubt in the minds of the club’s defenders and Clarke was never able to fully re-establish the solid base left him by Hodgson.

The summer brought turmoil as a recruitment department robbed of Dan Ashworth and unimpressed by the influence of Dave McDonough was unable to find players of the quality to fit the requirements for loans and free transfers set down by chairman Jeremy Peace.

Clarke was unhappy, too, at the failure to land the players he wanted and his public expressions of frustration prompted a ‘trolley dash’ on the final day of the summer transfer window for Victor Anichebe and Stephane Sessegnon.

Neither has yet come off while Diego Lugano and Scott Sinclair have been even bigger flops. The summer tension left Clarke on borrowed time and a string of poor results gave Peace and chief executive Mark Jenkins the reason they needed to dispense with the Scot.

Then came a protracted search for his successor. And the players were hardly blown away either by Mel’s preferred style of play or the increasing influence of McDonough.

Seven games later and the Spaniard is without a win and already fighting to save his job. Should he lose it, he will become the victim of a slump that started 16 months ago – at the place he heads for tomorrow with his neck on the block.

Comments for: "West Brom out to avoid Welsh curse against Swansea"

We Only Need One Half!

Mboy, did you write that ;-)

Mboy

I suppose I could have written about 90% of the above. However, I don't think that tomorrow's game is a "must win" for Pepe (well I hope not anyway!!). We've never done well at Swansea (see the video from 1993!!) so I'm more interested in the performance than the result. I think the games against Cardiff and at Hull and Norwich give us a greater chance than tomorrow of picking up a win, so for me, any points tomorrow are a bonus.

We Only Need One Half!

No, I don't think its a must win for Pepe, I have previously stated has far as I am concerned he has to stay until at least the end of the season, but I do believe it is one of the games we need to be winning, or at the very least, not losing.

I am still secretly harbouring hopes of overhauling Stoke, like we always do.

Cyril

No, not Mboy. He is an Albion supporter. That script was written by someone enjoying our present misery.

Cyril

Back in 1946, we played Swansea in Div 2 first match of the season and away. We won 3-2 and I think Dave Walsh, our brand new centre forward from Linfield, Ireland, got 2. Now that's from memory as I cor be ar**ed to look it up. So we DON'T always lose there !

Even Dizzymoth won't remember that one, Lol.

Mboy

Sorry Cyril. I should have said that we'd never beaten them in living memory. (only kidding!!)

Jeffersobiwan

Cyril.

Are you actually Methuselah by a different name??

Cyril

Jeffersobiwan, ME ? Methuselah ? You need a beard for that role and I couldn't grow one to save my life. Not that I'd want to anyway.

I was nearly 22 when I went in the Army and nearly 24 when I came out. I shaved TWICE !

And then only to try it out. Ah day lahk it.

It did have one other good side effect. Girls wanted to mother me. COOORRRR ! Or was that smother me ? My hearing was never too clever.

Jim Baggie of Bromham

Five minutes ago the sun was shining brightly and the daffodils were glowing yellow. Having read this article the clouds are grey and the flowers faded - it seems relegation is inevitable. Hang on, the sun IS bright, the spring flowers ARE colourful, and surely that is the soft voice of Hope coming from Pandora's box.

The Real Bully Hoo.

Hurrah Jim, that's the way to do it.

Cyril

JimBaggie. Brilliant mate ! I've just finished mowing the front lawn, my mower needs stripping, etc., but it was sunny, fresh air, two lady neighbours stopped to chat, all was well with the World just for now.

priceywba....Plymouth..

Well lets hope that this weekend we get our win as time is running out, this club sould never be where thay are and i think deep down its going to be to the wire as we dont seem to have it in us. I would really love to be wrong but i get that feeling Sunderland and Cardiff will be our problems at the end of this season thay are both doing well. So we need to up our game and stop letting them score 1st all the time, come on you baggies do it for the Midlands and do it for us the baggie fans......

ManInsider

Pricey, Sunderland away been re-arranged for may 7th, what a cruncher that could be.

Dizzymoth

Thanks for the boost, just what we wanted before the game.........Not

priceywba....Plymouth..

How old are you..

We Only Need One Half!

He has a point though pricey, all this week the troops on here have been rallying, accepting we are in a fight, but still trying to remain positive like a supporter is supposed to do.

Then, 24 hours before a true 'must win' game we get this article, its timing is uncanny, I cant see anything in it that means it couldn't have been posted Monday or Tuesday, if it needed posting at all, after all, what part of it is actually today's news?

Tell you what I think, I think the E&D have seen how the masses have refused to capitulate, and have got behind the team, and someone in the editorial department has thought to themselves "we cant be having this, they are remaining far to positive, what can we possibly do to try and bring them down again"

couple that with a open door for every saddo from the other side to try and twist the knife, because we haven't had our quota today, after all, the other week you couldn't get on a Anelka thread for them, now the F.A. has failed to deliver the verdict they so obviously craved, they have all melted away again.

Strange that.

Dizzymoth

Hi Pricey

Not sure why the question of my age but if you want it 71, a Baggie supporter from age 9. I am glad WONOH could see my point. That last thing we want is doom and gloom at this stage.

Cyril

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;

Or close the wall up with our English dead!

In peace, there ’s nothing so becomes a man,

As modest stillness and humility:

But when the blast of war blows in our ears,

Then imitate the action of the tiger;

Goo gerrum Baggies !

The Real Bully Hoo.

Spot on Cyril.

And forget all this Men of Harlech rubbish there were more Midlanders than Welsh at Rorkes Drift as well. We only invited the Welsh for the singing.

We Only Need One Half!

Well I've had a 'affiliation' with Cardiff fans for many years, so I get to dislike them on two levels, bonus.

Jack the Hat

Bully,

I remember Rorkes Drift, the Zulu who led their spear formation when they came over the hill was named Bill, how do I know, the order was given out,

" Aim ..... fire at Will ".

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Cyril

Oh but Bully, there's nothing as moving as a Welsh Choir. I LOVE that sound. I love Wales too, but for a few hours, this is WAR !

Jack, where in the name of Heaven did you get that one from ?

Jack the Hat

Cyril,

It is a golden oldie, you didn't say whether you liked it or a get me coot job mate. I used to tell that one wearing my pith hat but they used to think I was taking the pith.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

baggiebornandbred

Its a fair account really we have know for the past 18 months it hasnt been good enough, whether that be down to quality or tactics im not sure and everyones opinion will differ

my personal opinion we seem to play every play out of position bar mulumbu and yacob the entire midfield is out of position, we dont seem to have an amazing amount of attacking spark and we look sometimes out of ideas players mentioned sess sinclair have to find their teeth and produce what we know they can, for me one player we have sinclair has to be utilised regardless of lifestyle it has to be done he is a good playet and can create a lot going forward,

as i said on a previous post the reason we did so well last year was due to us scoring more than they did

Mboy

Fair assessment of the last 16 months. Hope the last two paragraphs are incorrect, though.

We Only Need One Half!

I disagree, obviously.

Jackett the Hat

The Welsh certainly love their leeks, the Albion defence on the other hand ,are sick of them .

The Real Bully Hoo.

A comedy genius.

We Only Need One Half!

Well he is Welsh Bully, you never heard a Welsh person say "who's coat is this jackett'

Jack the Hat

Jackett the Hat,

Maybe we might be, but leeks are still better than the stuff from down the A41 that is put around the rhubarb.

Gorra loff ay ya.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Jack the Hat

nik.hare1,

Bet that post tested your brain endurance.

L☺Ls

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.