Terry Wills watches Albion’s start to the season with trepidation.
Crisis may be too strong a word to utilise after just two games but make no mistake. Unless Albion fail to dramatically improve, the word could become a 100% guarantee.
I can’t say I was surprised by Everton’s opening day win. Indeed despite the Baggies pushing them all the way to the final whistle they were the better team in terms of quality and individual skills. Apart from ‘Lone Ranger’ Salamon Rondon – he had little support – any scoring opportunities came via set piece opportunities typified by Gareth McCauley’s header that gave Albion the lead.
Saidio Berahino was way off the form he’s capable. General opinion amongst Baggies supporters was that he didn’t have the desire or application to give 100% for the team or Tony Pulis. If this is the case then do it for the fans, Saido. You may be able to and will eventually leave the Hawthorns but supporters do not have this option, although looking at the acres of empty seats many are doing just that. Not solely due to you but the general malaise that sees to have surrounded the Hawthorns.
Rarely have I watched a home game with so little atmosphere. It resembled a pre-season friendly and chatting with fellow fans at the final whistle they were bitterly disappointed, many saying they could see no improvement unless the badly-needed new faces are bought in.
And so onto another early exit from a cup competition, this time at division one Northampton following a penalty shoot-out. Supporters of every club know that cup shocks are part and parcel of the game. Better teams than Albion have suffered the same fate but this has become an embarrassing statistic that needs rectifying.
What of Saturday’s home game against a Middlesbrough side that have made an encouraging Greed League start? A disciplined outfit, difficult to break down and anxious to continue the run. Being brutally honest, unless Tony Pulis can somehow encourage his players, by whatever means, then I fear another setback that can only add to the sense of frustration felt by Baggies fans.
Fair play to the club for sprucing up the Hawthorns with memories of days gone by. It’s great to see the likes of Cyrille Regis, Laurie Cunningham, Bryan
Robson and Jeff Astle honoured; if we had players of their ilk in the current squad we wouldn’t be in this state. But -although I enjoyed this Hawthorns makeover I’d be a whole lot happier to see the squad spruced up to match the stadium.