Throstles Grounded by High-Flying Canaries

Terry Wills on Albion’s week.

The sound at the end of the game against Norwich summed up what many fans had thought of the agonising 94 minutes they’d been forced to endure, as Albion slumped to their seventh home defeat in eleven games thanks to a 2-1 defeat – boos, boos, and more boos. Eight goals scored in all these games spells just one word….trouble.

No in-depth analysis – the Baggies were poor. Too many players way below form even if they were carrying injuries. Misplaced passes, defensive mistakes, chances created and missed, the Norwich keeper having a relatively quiet afternoon despite looking like he was in for a hard time.

Again Peter Odemwingie was way, way, below his best, lacking in confidence and when substituted by Shane Long saw his replacement cause more problems in five minutes than he had during his whole time on the pitch. And a word about the Norwich City fans.They came in numbers, supported their heroes to the full and were rewarded by seeing their team pull off another win to give them a relatively healthy position in the Greed League table.

This week the team and supporters make the usual trek to see Tony Pullis’s Stoke City surely extend their unbelievable record against West Bromwich Albion. Played 27, won 19 and drawn six. Did I dream that I once saw the Baggies beat Stoke 6-0 in a Cup match at the Hawthorns? Of course it was; such a dream couldn’t possibly have had any substance…could it? Whether Roy Hodgson will have the players he considers his first choice available is at present open to question. But even if they are then it will certainly need a greater sense of determination, self-belief, and most of all, a 100% upsurge in form, to return home unbeaten.

Transfer rumours abound, both in and out, but whatever the truth, if any, unless the current squad is strengthened or results go our way, we’ll be in for a worrying series of games. Okay, we’re still five points above the drop zone but should teams such as Blackburn, bearing in mind how they’ve improved, and other fellow strugglers pick up points, that gap could soon disappear.

Finally, reverting back to the miserable number of goals scored, what memories was evoked during half-time when a tribute was paid to Jeff Astle on the big screens. It was the tenth anniversary of his sad passing and a poignant reminder of just what is missing from our Head Coach’s current squad. Great memories Jeff – we still and always will remember you as being one of the Baggies all-time great players.