Tony Mowbray reveals how research told him what West Brom fans wanted

Tony Mowbray revealed his pride as Albion fans shared memories of his team’s exciting, attack-minded football.

Tony Mowbray poses for selfies and signs autographs for fans after the match at The Hawthorns on September 24, 2022 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Tony Mowbray poses for selfies and signs autographs for fans after the match at The Hawthorns on September 24, 2022 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Mowbray, 58, has just taken charge of Championship rivals Sunderland but was back in The Hawthorns dugout leading out a Baggies side last weekend in the aid of charity.

The former defender won the Championship title in his second season in charge of Albion, having seen his charges fall at the play-off final in his debut campaign.

Mowbray, who has since managed Celtic, Middlesbrough, Coventry and Blackburn, oversaw 140 games in charge of Albion across three seasons enjoyed by supporters for the football his team produced. The club finished last and were relegated from top flight in 2009, after which Mowbray moved north of the border.

The experienced boss explained one of his main points of research upon taking a new job is to explore a club’s heritage – and what makes supporters tick.

“It’s nice to listen to the supporters when they appreciate what they saw in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 seasons,” Mowbray said.

“It makes me feel proud, that we tried to give them a brand of football that this football club was built on really.

“When I grew up it was all about the Laurie Cunninghams and Brendon Batsons of this club and when I go to any club I try to analyse what the history is, what they’re about.

“What the supporters are like, are they a working class? Are they a flair team? What do they want? I tried to give them attacking, goalscoring football and I think they appreciate it.”

Mowbray was appointed new boss at the Stadium of Light in August by Championship newcomers Sunderland following Alex Neil’s departure.

Albion’s first game back following the month-long break for the World Cup in Qatar is a trip north east to face Mowbray’s men on December 10. The Black Cats are currently fifth.

“It’s my part of the world, I was born and bred on Teesside, it’s a steel town and just 30 miles up the road it’s a mining town, a working class environment,” the manager added. “I try to analyse the club and these are working class people that want to see their team work and fight for every ball.

“It’s started OK but football is a long journey and management is a cruel game at times, you don’t always get what you deserve and I know there’s going to be some tough games with a 40,000 and it isn’t going well, with young players it’s how they react to that pressure.”

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