Hawthorns Halt

Terry Wills on an interesting week at the Albion and a new book he’s enjoyed.

What a week for both team and supporters, coming to a head following that pitiful 1-0 defeat against Cardiff City.
Within hours Jeremy Peace and the board took the unanimous decision to add the name of Steve Clarke to their ever-growing list of ex-managers (or head coaches now) that have departed for pastures new.

So the search begins, and judging by the number of names banded around by the media in general, whether national, local, press, TV or radio, there’s certainly ample choice. Home or abroad it makes no difference Give me the job, although it will in all probability only be for the average lifespan of two years. Security, what’s that?

I said recently that unless things improved Steve Clarke’s job was definitely on the line. Yes, he was very unlucky with certain refereeing decisions, which if reversed would have given us the points to be comfortably settled in a mid-table position.

This was counterbalanced by a cautious approach and what fans felt were negative tactics. But I suspect all that mattered to the board was results. Now with only two points separating us from the relegation zone, the situation
had to be rectified.

This week’s Greed League game at the Hawthorns against Hull City (soon to be Tigers?) is critical. Under Steve Bruce they’re holding their own. But judged by the game against Stoke City, providing Albion are determined
to rectify their wretched losing streak, a vital three points could lighten the current Hawthorns gloom.

On a lighter note I’ve just read a new Tony Matthews book – The Top 100 West Bromwich Albion Matches.
These range from a 1888 game against Stoke City, up to and including the 3-0 victory away at Southampton in April 2013. Tony concedes that many supporters may not agree with his final 100 choices, but then supporters of all ages and persuasions rarely agree when it comes to discussing memories of any football club.

What made it a fascinating read, for me at least, was realising that I was lucky enough to have seen, and able to rekindle unforgettable memories of, many of these games. Wembley FA Cup Final victories against Preston and Everton. The League Cup triumph against Bobby Moore’s West Ham United. Comprehensive wins over local
rivals Villa, Wolves, and Blues, not forgetting Manchester United. And how could I possibly forget the game at Leicester back in 1949 when we clinched promotion into division one, and fans carried the players shoulder
high from the pitch to dressing room? Plus the 1957 hammering of Manchester City – 9-2, Albion’s highest-ever
Hawthorns win, and the Johnny Giles-inspired victory against Oldham, another promotion-clinching victory.

All in all, a book to be enjoyed by supporters young or old. It’s published by Amberley Publishing and retails at £14.99.

Come on you Baggies.