Almost There

By Terry Wills.

“Almost there, we’re almost there.” A hit for Andy Williams back in 1965.

Well for me, 46 years on (!) it aptly sums up, and mirrors, Albion fans ever growing optimistic hopes to preserve a Greed League status that a few weeks ago appeared to be drifting ever so quietly away.

What a great day at the Stadium of Light as the massed band of  Free Travel passionate supporters (courtesy of the club) took centre stage to be rewarded with a magical thee-points and ‘Houdini’ Hodsgon’s new look Albion moving into 10th place in the table. The players’ change of attitude has been remarkable. Whether a goal down, which we all too frequently are, or in front, he’s instilled a sense of belief that under Roberto-Die Matteo was sadly missing.

In the first 15 minutes an own goal from Nicky Shorey, gave the Mackems the lead but with the ever dangerous Peter Odemwingie equalising it was back to square one. Second half, a stunning free kick from Phil Bardsley and it was all to play for – which was when the newly instilled sense of belief took over.

“A game is never lost until it’s won!”

An equaliser from Yousoff Mulumbu and the Lord’s my Shepherd was being belted out so lustily it was probably heard in the Sunderland shopping centre -a long way from where the action was taking place.

Well on top and the Sunderland defence looking likely to crumble under persistent attacks, came the winner.72 minutes, a lovely passing movement and there was the vastly improved Paul Scharner sending Baggies fans into seventh heaven.

His fourth goal of the season and we were almost there. Don’t concede another goal. Defend, defend, and if needed defend again – not only for the players, but for fans who craved the opportunity to  travel home celebrating a win, that courtesy of subsequent results, would see us SEVEN points away from a dreaded relegation spot.

Final whistle and with Mackems fans hurrying home it was the sight of  Hodgson’s Heroes running towards us, punching the air, and joining in with chants of “Boing-Boing”!

Yes it WAS a memorable day. Not that the performance was perfect. But then apart from perhaps the likes of Barcelona, what team can claim that distinction? What it did prove was that Albion have players capable of competing with the majority of Premier League clubs.

A solid spirited display. A defence actually prepared to defend (!) especially in the fibe minutes added on time. A probing midfield. Smart attacking passing movements, and most importantly creating chances.

So on to Chelsea who travel to the Hawthorns still hopeful, although unlikely, to catch Manchester United to win the Greed League. Prospects? Well as in the opening game of the season they murdered us 6-0 at Stamford Bridge, revenge would be so very sweet.

Naturally they’ll start favourites but should we achieve a result, grab a point (or whisper it quietly three) then perhaps supporters would leave the Hawthorns trilling that oh so long ago song. “Almost there-we’re almost there”!

A final, hope I’m wrong prediction! A certain Fernando Torres who cost Chelsea £50 million when signed from Liverpool, has yet to score a league goal. Here’s hoping he doesn’t break his duck on Saturday but if he does, and with the Baggies yet to keep a second clean sheet of the season, by the law of averages the odds against him eventually scoring, gets ever shorter..

So there has to be a fair chance he will find his name on the scoresheet, and if he does, as long as Hodgson’s Heroes’ don’t lose the game, I’m prepared to accept the inevitable!?

Come on you Baggies. We’re almost there.