Ready for the king’s big day

Terry Wills talks about a special day coming up at the Hawthorns.

This week Albion, in theory, and the supporters should have been anticipating a win against Leicester City to all but confirm that Tony Pulis had succeeded in the mission Jeremy Peace had craved, ensuring that the Baggies would still be participating in the Greed League and competing properly against its top clubs next season.

After all how could they fail to beat a Queens Park Rangers side languishing in the bottom three relegation spots with a deplorable away record?

Easy answer. Play 45 minutes of appalling ‘football’ including a glaring early miss before Rangers had taken the lead, followed up by preferring to pass the ball to a visiting player. Defend as if they were striving to cope with Lionel Messi and Barcelona, leading to non-existing marking for two of the three Rangers goals. The stunning strike from Zamora had to be applauded – damn him.

Tony Pulis’s team selection again proved that he desperately needs to strengthen the full-back department in the close season. They were outpaced, to put it mildly. Yet despite this embarrassing performance the fact is that with the chances created and sadly missed, mainly via Brown Ideye, we should have at least salvaged a point to lessen the pressure on Leicester’s Hawthorns visit.

Apart from this let’s not forget it’s Jeff Astle day to celebrate his standing in the game and the Foundation set up to improve the health and safety of both current and ex-players. The club granted permission to turn out in a replica kit worn at Wembley in the 1968 Cup Final when the aptly named ‘King’ scored the winning goal against Everton – an impossible to forget memory for fans privileged to have been there. It’ll be a trip into the past with no squad numbers, and no players or sponsors names. How times have changed, and not for the better.

Fellow players from the cup winning team, videos on the big screen of memorable moments, yes – a return to the period when OUR West Bromwich Albion could compete and beat the best around. So lets hope that Tony Pulis wil have stressed the importance to the players of not repeating last week’s dreadful performance. As if they could possibly forget it.

Three points, all but safe. One point, a lingering doubt. Defeat? Need more be said? It must not happen. Come on lads, do it not only for everyone still associated with the club but for Jeff himself. And what better tribute could there be if the player chosen to wear the prized number 9 shirt – Saido Berahino – scored the winning goal?