The Baggies View
Next up is a trip to The Hawthorns to take on newly appointed Alan Pardew’s West Bromwich Albion. We got the lowdown on the Baggies from our pal Dan Watts from popular fan site ‘EighteenSeventyEight’.
Q. What did you make of last season for the Baggies?
We had a very good season, that is until we reached the safety mark of forty points. Of our final twelve fixtures we managed to win just once. There can be no real complaints at finishing tenth in the league, but we were so far clear in eighth spot there was a tinge of disappointment at how the season ended. Having to contend with the lack of excitement being offered to the Baggies fans who thought that Pulis may allow some of the attacking players off their leash a little having already achieved safety was a real issue for some (including me).
Q. What were your hopes for the new season before a ball had been kicked?
Safety. I’m a realist. This Premier League we find ourselves in now is extremely tough. Every single club instantly becomes one of the worlds most affluent upon entry because of the masses of television money being chucked about. The issue for me personally was that building on last seasons solid tenth place finish, Pulis had to start trying to entertain more than he has done.
There had always been an excuse up until this summer as to why we had to set up defensively. At first it was because he hadn’t built his own team, then it was because of the change in ownership. This summer, we signed some genuinely good footballers and the hope would have been to give our loyal supporters something more than thirty percent possession. Two shots at goal and an open invitation to every opposing team to have the ball wherever they fancied it.
Q. Tell us about Tony Pulis’ time at the club and why the club felt it was time for a change.
In addition to the above mini-rant, I think Tony Pulis simply isn’t capable of managing players of a higher standard. He’s built what is now a very good squad, and for that he must be given credit, but in order for us to utilise that we needed a fresh approach, and someone who would allow players the chance to express themselves more. There is no doubt Pulis will get a job somewhere and be a success at what he does, but he had overstayed his welcome at The Hawthorns.
Q. It is likely a successor will be appointed before our match but who would be your choice to replace Pulis?
Well, it had to be didn’t it. Just in time to face the club that sacked him this time last year! We went and appointed Alan Pardew on Wednesday following our 2-2 draw with Newcastle. I wouldn’t personally have gone for him. I’m all for giving someone fresh a chance to prove themselves on the biggest stage. Everyone talks about Premier League experience as if it’s the only attribute required, but how does someone get that if a club like ourselves isn’t willing to think outside the box?
Google Graham Potter. He would have been my choice but then I suppose out of some of the names mentioned, at least Pardew will look to attack teams from time to time! Everyone has a clean slate from this point forward, Pardew will be given every opportunity by the Albion faithful.
Q. How was the summer transfer window for the club and were all needs addressed in the squad?
Grzegorz Krychowiak is our most highly paid player ever. He has two Europa League’s to his name and came on loan for the season from Paris Saint Germain, a big signal of intent from the Baggies top brass. Kieran Gibbs and Jay Rodriguez are also stand out signings from the summer window. All in all I think 99% of fans were chuffed with the business done in the summer, it’s now just a case of getting them playing as opposed to participating.
Q. Do you expect much business by the club in the January transfer window?
I think there will be a need to get players out of the club before we can start splashing too much cash. Jonny Evans could well be talked about with so many of the top clubs struggling to keep clean sheets. I’ve no doubt there will be business done both coming in and going out. Who, what, where and when, I couldn’t even try and call it just yet having only just appointed our new gaffer.
Q. Explain in no more than 140 characters how the last ten years have been for the football the club.
Fairly stable to be honest. We’ve got through a few managers and had a couple of patches where our survival in the Premier League hasn’t been a certainty, but we’ve always managed to come through those, in no small thanks to two men you guys know well in Roy Hodgson and the man in the cap.
Is that less than 140 characters?!
Q. What do you make of Palace’s current predicament?
About as promising as our own! Seriously though, we both have plenty good enough squads and now managers to get out of the relegation zone and be fighting higher up the table. It’s not always that simple but I’ve no doubt under Roy Hodgson, you guys will at lest be fine. Wilf Zaha has been so impressive this season, and if you can get Benteke firing, like I say, you’ll be sound. As long as it’s after this Saturday!
Q. Name one player from EACH side that you think the opposition should consider a real threat.
As mentioned in the last question, I think an on-form Wilf Zaha could walk in to any side in the country and not look out of place. Keeping him quiet on Saturday is going to be a tough job for someone in blue and white.
Q. Your prediction?
Seeing as Albion can’t hold on to a lead for toffee, I’m going to say we go three-nil up and then you come back to make it a tense finish. 3-2 to the home side. Come On You Baggies.
Q. And finally, please tell us all about your fan group along with any projects that you may currently be working on.