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West Bromwich Albion – Review So Far

Hello and welcome to my blog regarding all things West Bromwich Albion.

This is my first ever attempt at a blog so if you could stay with me through the inevitable ups and downs then hopefully you won’t be left too disappointed at the end and if that isn’t a ringing endorsement then I don’t know what is!

Now, where to begin?

It’s been a super start to the season for the Baggies, 10 games in and we have already accumulated 17 points from a possible 30 which has left us nicely perched at the top end of the Barclays Premier League table, fifth place to be exact following Monday night’s 2-0 victory over a struggling Southampton side. You could argue that we could and maybe should be even higher placed in the table if it wasn’t for some rotten luck in our previous two matches where we lost at the death, 2-1 on both occasions to Manchester City and Newcastle United respectively. I know it’s still only early days and being a lifelong Albion fan has given me the ability to be pessimistic during even the most seemingly best of times but for me this feels different, this feels like an Albion side that is going places and seems confident enough in both their own ability and in the guidance of their head coach, Steve Clarke, to get there.

However as I said I’m an Albion fan which leaves me under no illusions that, in my mind at least, first and foremost safety is still the number one priority. Hopefully once safety is secured we can then push on and I see no reason why we can’t consolidate our two previous mid-table finishes. Without getting too carried away we may even find ourselves in a position to build on these past two seasons and aim towards a Europa League spot, it may be boring but ultimately as the old football clique goes, we need to take it one game at a time and see where we go from there.

Getting back to the here and now, I briefly alluded to Steve Clarke earlier who took over the reins from Roy Hodgson during the summer and so far has done an excellent job in continuing Hodsgon’s ‘evolution’ of the Albion. As the majority of West Brom fans at the time I for one were surprised to hear Clarke being linked with the vacancy as it appeared that more suited candidates were available and apparently interested such as Ralph Rangnick for example who at one stage was odds on favourite, according to the press, and to me seemed to fit the mould for the style we were looking to attract as he had the experience of working under a similar system overseas to the one which the Albion deploy, a more continental approach with the head coach expected to work cohesively with a Sporting Director. For one reason or another that never materialised leaving the vacancy open to Steve Clarke who Jeremy Peace then welcomed with open arms. The days after Steve had officially been named new head coach, the more I thought about it the more it made sense to me for a number of various reasons. The main reason being that Steve has the experience of being a Coach in the Premier League for over a decade, which includes spells at Newcastle United, Chelsea, West Ham United and Liverpool before arriving at B71. During that time he had worked under the stewardship of a very high calibre of managers – Sir Bobby Robson and Jose Mourinho to name just a couple, who I’m sure have influenced Clarke’s methods in their own way. I’m also sure that most Albion fans thought that the board may have been taking a risk handing Clarke the task of overseeing West Brom’s third successive season in the Premier League and maybe thought that a more established candidate would be given the role, a ‘safe’ pair of hands if you will following Hodgson’s laying of the foundations in order to stabilise West Brom as a Premier League Club.

After all, not many Managers or Coaches are given the opportunity to begin their managerial career at a top flight club such as West Bromwich Albion. My point being is that Steve has a good base to work from which hopefully will see both himself and the team flourish in the Premier League for many seasons to come.

As previously mentioned this is Steve Clarke’s first job as the main man in charge and in many senses Steve has actually been fortunate to be given the opportunity to take charge of a club which is very well run from top to bottom and also has a high quality of players throughout the squad already which he inherited following his appointment.This is without mentioning the scouting network in place which has unearthed a very high standard of  players at very low transfer fees/wages. A more recent example would be a certain Claudio Yacob who actually came to The Hawthorns on a free transfer but the Argentinian has already established himself as one of Albion’s

more important players due to his outstanding performances so far this season as well as his blossoming partnership in central midfield with the magnificent Youssouf Mulumbu, who himself was a snip at £175,000 from Paris Saint-Germain back in 2009. Compare this to Southampton who shelled out a reported £12 million alone on Uruguay international Gaston Ramirez, who I’m not doubting is a very good player and has a lot of potential as he is still only 21 years of age but the difference in transfer fees and wages being paid even by a newly promoted side such as Southampton is staggering.

Thank you for taking the time to read my first ever blog, I hope you enjoyed it and that I didn’t go off track too much to lose your attention! If you have any thoughts or have something you would like to add regarding any of the points I have spoken about then feel free to let me know via the comments section below.

Also another blog will follow on Friday containing a preview of West Brom’s next game against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Thanks again,

Baggie91

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