Terry Wills on a quiet week at the Hawthorns.
There were two non-events for Baggies fans to mull over this week. First the televised home game against Middlesbrough that surely had neutral supporters searching for their TV remote to find an alternative programme to watch.
Goals were always likely to be at a premium but amongst the dross there were a few bright spots. Loanee Brendan Galloway , an overlapping full back, proved a constant threat while youngster Sam Field was calm and assured in midfield. James McClean stretched the Boro defence via probing runs, and it’s a pity his right foot is merely for standing on. But above all there was the now taken for granted immaculate display from Jonnie Evans, truly a class apart.
Minus points were the reaction of some Baggies fans, who booed the appearance of Saidio Berahino coming on as a substitute. Yes he was poor but whatever the circumstances such a reaction can only have a negative effect on any player. If he’s wearing an Albion shirt they’ll always have my backing.
The second, and even more depressing occurrence, was transfer deadline day. We’d been fed stories that big signings would be arriving but again this was simply nonsense. Everyone, supporters, the players, and Tony Pulis stressed that we needed quality players , especially in the striking department. What did we get after gazing virtually all day at the goggle box?
Alan Nymon, a defender from Watford (surely we already have enough defenders?) plus Hal Robson-Kanu. Yes, he enjoyed a successful Euro 2016 campaign and scored the goal of the tournament but was that sufficient reason to bring him to the Hawthorns? As a counterbalance we also brought in Nacer Chadli from Spurs. A versatile winger but again not the striker everyone has been crying out for.
Which leads to the Saidio Berahino never ending saga. He’s here for the rest of the season and it’s to be hoped that he’ll knuckle down, give of his best and support Salamon Rondon in the attempt too increase our pathetic goals scored record. How Tony Pulis reacts to these happenings will be interesting. Will he claim that the badly needed players couldn’t be recruited because the board/Jeremy Peace/the new owners refused to splash out for the five players needed? If so could he replicate his departure from Crystal Palace and walk away? It’s unlikely but who knows?
What also worries me is that most of the expected to struggle clubs have recruited wisely – the likes of Hull City, Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Watford and Bournemouth (what a capture in Wilshere). This bodes ill for Albion unless Pulis can somehow inspire the Baggies to pull their finger out and play a damn sight better than they’ve shown up to now.
There’s no Greed League fixture this week as the international break calls so e have a friendly Hawthorns game against an Indian club. Judging by supporter reaction I somehow think the attendance will be, let’s say, on the low side.