Express & Star

Steve Madeley's Albion tour diary

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Albion will follow in some famous footsteps when they take to the field here in Portland.


Albion will follow in some famous footsteps when they take to the field here in Portland.

The Baggies will retrace the steps of rock 'n' roll royalty by facing Portland Timbers in a stadium that once played host to Elvis Presley.

'The King' – for once that's Elvis, not Jeff Astle – played one of the first outdoor stadium rock concerts in history on September 2, 1957 at the Multnomah Stadium, now known as Jeld-Wen Field and home to tonight's MLS opponents.

And, after seeing his side beaten by San Jose Earthquakes in their first brush with America's top league, Hodgson will hope they are not 'all shook up' again in the early hours of tomorrow morning your time.

Sorry, but it had to be done.

The Baggies players will notice a marked difference in their surroundings here in Oregon after spending more than a week in California, where the temperature rose from the early-20s on their arrival to the high-20s by the time they moved north yesterday.

Portland still has a pleasant climate in July but is noticeably greener, less dry and cooler that either San Jose or Los Angeles.

The drive from the airport to the downtown area is reminiscent of the approach to Newcastle – but the temperature isn't that cold.

Freelance photographer Matt Ashton's pictures will again adorn the pages of the Express & Star tomorrow, but only after he overcame some major travel difficulties and a brief change of gender!

Our man was scheduled to depart Los Angeles for Portland yesterday morning, so imagine my surprise when I checked in for my lunchtime flight and found him sitting in departures.

Matt had been given a boarding pass in the name Alison Ashton and, by the time the mistake was spotted and rectified, his flight had gone.

Luckily he was able to go on the Alaska Airlines waiting list and secure the last available seat on the lunchtime flight.

Tonight's match will bring memories flooding back, as it marks the 30th anniversary of the only previous meeting between the Baggies and the Timbers.

In 1981, an Albion side managed by Ron Atkinson and including the likes of Bryan Robson beat their American hosts 1-0, in front of a crowd of 6,770, with a goal from Terry Summerfield.

The match was part of a loan agreement that took striker Ally Brown to Portland.

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