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Black Cats boss Tony Mowbray proud of West Brom stint

Title-winning Albion boss Tony Mowbray admits he looks back on his Baggies stint with immense pride.

Tony Mowbray (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Tony Mowbray (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Mowbray, 59, locks horns with one of his former clubs on Monday evening as Albion return to Championship action with a trip to Sunderland after more than four weeks out due to the World Cup.

The experienced boss, who replaced Alex Neil as Black Cats boss in late August, landed Albion the Championship title in 2007/08 and is revered by Baggies fans for his success and style of football.

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

“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.”

Such is Mowbray’s Albion affinity he led a side in Team Brunty v Team Morrison, the recent charity fixture in honour of Baggies stalwarts – honouring that position despite having taken on the Stadium of Light job.

And, as timing goes, he was actually in the Black Country last night for a testimonial dinner for the duo.

“I’m actually at The Hawthorns tonight actually for Chris Brunt and James Morrison’s testimonial dinner. I promised to do it in the summer time,” the former boss said.

“It’s a wonderful club, lovely people and there are still a lot of people there from when I was there in 2007 or 2008.

“I enjoyed living in the West Midlands, two of my children were born there and life was good. I lived around the Solihull area and Birmingham is a lovely city to explore.

“Two Wembley (games), a play-off final, winning the league. I have a big picture at home of me holding up the Championship trophy.

“Happy days, happy memories. There are still lots of people at that club who I remember. I had good days there and I’m hoping we can have good days here.”

Mowbray has had spells in charge of Celtic, Middlesbrough, Coventry, Blackburn and now Sunderland since departing The Hawthorns in 2009.

He has faced Albion on several occasions since moving on but reserves a very soft spot in his heart for his first permanent managerial role in England.

“It’s a wonderful place, football environment and apart from when they play Sunderland I always look for West Brom, Middlesbrough, certain teams’ results and West Brom’s one of them,” added Mowbray, who took charge of 140 Albion games between October 2006 and June 2009.

Mowbray has enjoyed six wins from 15 in charge of Sunderland so far, including a comprehensive 3-0 win over Millwall last weekend, when then the Black Cats resumed action seven days prior to their league rivals in a rearranged fixture from The Queen’s death.

“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,” he said of his latest role.

“I try to analyse the club and these are working class people that want to see their team work and fight for every ball.

“The team look like they have lots of talent and high quality in Clarke, Pritchard, Roberts, wonderful technicians with the ball and have scored good goals in the last few weeks.

“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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