Terry Wills watches Albion’s final game of the season and wonders what the future holds.
The last game of the season, away to Arsenal. The team and travelling fans were all hoping to see if they could add the name of the Gunners to those of Manchester United and Chelsea, both recently beaten much to the amazement of the media in general.
Any such hopes evaporated long before half-time courtesy of a Theo Walcott hat-trick, aided by a rocket shot goal from Wilshere, leaving Tony Pulis’ normally well-organised defence realising it was now engaged in a damage limitation exercise.
A headed set piece from Gareth McAuley gave the result an air of respectability but that was the only consolation in a 4-1 defeat which could have been worse if Boaz Myhill hadn’t shown his usual outstanding form.
Arsene Wenger’s side, although only a week away from the battle against Villa in the FA Cup final, didn’t pull any punches and should they be in a similar vein at Wembley they have to be clear favourites to retain the trophy that every club’s supporters yearn to see locked safely away in their trophy cabinet. But it is the cup final and any result is possible, so who knows if the winning team’s parade will be in Islington or Birmingham?
An initial look back at the season leads me to believe that if Tony Pulis hadn’t replaced Alan Irvine the Baggies could have finished in the bottom three, as could the Villa. Thankfully his astute defensive strategy did the trick; it may have been unpopular with his critics but Pulis was recruited to keep West Bromwich Albion in the Greed League so for that alone the overwhelming majority of supporters were truly thankful.
Now the hard work begins for Tony Pulis, while we sports-loving devotees can sit back wondering if England can upset the odds by winning the Ashes. At face value they have but then who’d have thought they could have achieved that remarkable victory over New Zealand?
Who will Pulis bring in? Who will he described as being surplus to requirements in addition to Chris Baird, Jason Davidson and from my perspective Youssof Mulumbu? He’s player who always gave 100% despite a general dip in form towards the end of the season so all the best Youssoff. It could turn out to be rare unwise decision by Tony Pulis – only time will tell.
Then there is the vital situation surrounding the strikers. Will Victor Anichebe and or Stephane Sessegnon be released? Will the club’s £10.million pound up to now misfit Brown Idey be open to a suitable offer and most important will Saido Berahino be brave enough to accept an improved Albion contract should the big clubs finally decide to make a genuine offer?
Add the possibility of Jeremy Peace selling the club to a consortium of foreign investors and what plans they might have to ensure the club made progress. It will be fascinating monitoring how the future’s likely to pan out before we start watching, wondering and worrying as to what may happen come August.