Terry Wills looks ahead to the start of the Premier League for Albion.
First, an admission. Never have I felt so downbeat at the start of a new season. This is entirely due to the radical changes that have turned the game on its head and it’s about MONEY, MONEY, and now even more MONEY. £98 Million plus add ons to take Pogba to Manchester United?
It all proves yet again that the Greed League (or should that be the Even Greedier Greed League?) has restricted the chance of genuine competition for lesser-known clubs of seriuosly challenging for honours. Okay, Leicester City bucked the trend last seaosn but the chances of that happening again are as likely as seeing West Bromwich Albion following in their footsteps.
So what are the Baggies realistic prospects, bearing in mind that the long, seemingly never-ending, takeover has been resolved?
Despite criticism of Jeremy Peace it’s impossible to deny that in his 14 years in charge he did a fantastic job. Guiding Albion into the Premier League to give it its coreect title and establishing them as a viable, well-run and established club. On behalf of all Baggies supporters, thank you Jeremy.
But now, naturally the acquisition of badly-needed new players are the supporters MAIN concern . New Chinese owner Goochland Lai without going over the top, has stressed that funds will be made available ensuring that the clubs retain their current status.
With the tedious Saidio Berahino saga still to be resolved (please the sooner the better), Salamon Rondon and Matt Phillips badly need attacking support although the potentials of Jonathan Leko IS an encouraging bonus. Should Tony Pulis decide not to select him his popularity with supporters will sink even lower than it is at present.
Last season Pulis did what the club wanted, keeping them from sliding into the Championship on the back of his must not lose defensive policy. That HAS to be changed. Games have to be won otherwise another season of torment will be on the cards,
Two new strikers are essential bearing in mind that the Baggies were the lowest scorers in the League, with fewer attempts on target than any other. First game is away at Crystal Palace and without knowing what could happen on the transfer front it’s difficult to envisage us emerging with a positive result. But being optimistic, should Pulis’s recognised defensive policy work and somehow the outfielders manage to sneak a goal who knows – we could snatch a point.
But as it stands reluctantly I have too make Palace favourites. Come on Baggies, prove me wrong!