I doubt there are many people who can claim they have cheered both Albion and Wolves wins in Black Country derbies.
But I can. Back in 1989, I nearly got kicked out of The Hawthorns when Steve Bull scored a last-minute winner for the visitors.
I was a Wolves player then, of course, though I wasn’t involved in the match and was watching from the stands.
Prior to that, I’d played against Wolves countless times over the course of nearly two decades with the Baggies.
I’ve always maintained the biggest rivalry for us as players at Albion was Villa. In the late 1970s and early 80s they were the team we were always challenging with near the top of the First Division. But for many of the fans the biggest match of the season was Wolves and my word, those games were special. They always produced the best atmosphere of the season.
You just couldn’t wait to get out on that pitch. You just knew how much the result meant to the supporters, who would go and have to face their mates in the pub after the game or in work the next week.
The fans, of course, are what tomorrow’s match will be missing. I honestly can’t imagine what it is like for players to prepare for a big game knowing you will have no backing in the ground.
For me as a player the supporters and atmosphere provided that extra edge and motivation. I know I would certainly have found it hard to perform in front of empty stands.
The fact there won’t be 27,000 Wolves fans inside Molineux tomorrow might help Albion.
Neither team is in particularly great spirits heading into the match but it is the Baggies, six points of safety and with only one win all season, who are in greater need of a result.
I’m hugely proud to have played for and captained both clubs and I always want to see both do well. In that regard I’m desperate for the Baggies to stay up, though admittedly it is looking tough.
The biggest problem when I watch Albion at the minute is I don’t see any leaders on the pitch. Back in my day we had the likes of John Wile, Bryan Robson and Len Cantello to organise and do any shouting that needed to be done.
I look at the Baggies at the moment and wonder who is going to step up and take things by the scruff of the neck?
From a Wolves perspective the season so far has been disappointing. I really thought they would kick on again this year but it hasn’t quite happened. The injuries certainly haven’t helped, with Raul Jimenez obviously a huge miss.
But they still have some very good players and will be eyeing this fixture as a chance to kickstart things.
For Albion you feel any positive result would do wonders for their confidence. They need to stop the rot.