Express & Star

Matt Maher: West Brom's happy ending a big victory for fan power

It is impossible to know whether Shilen Patel will be a success at Albion.

Ali Jones leads Albion fans in protest outside The Hawthorns

The only thing which matters for now, following Bilkul Football group’s impending buy-out of Guochuan Lai, is the Baggies won’t be in financial meltdown anytime soon.

That is essentially what has been at stake over recent months, as takeover talks took place while the club’s funds decreased.

It never pays to be overly dramatic. Neither should the situation be downplayed.

The additional loan from MSD in December, to essentially fund the day-to-day running of the club, was acquired through a belief negotiations would be successfully concluded by this point. Inside The Hawthorns, there had been a quiet confidence Patel’s bid would get over the line for several weeks.

Yet takeovers are complex things and there can never be complete certainty. The immediate reaction among most to news an agreement had been reached might be best termed as relief, tinged with excitement. A very real possibility of disaster had been averted.

Over time, no doubt, more will emerge about the last 18 months and the vital roles played by people inside The Hawthorns in ensuring this story had a happy conclusion.

Yet this also feels something of a victory for fan power, most particularly the Action for Albion and Shareholders 4 Albion (S4A) groups who, through diligent work and carefully choreographed campaigns, effectively shone a light on the severity of the situation.