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Terry’s Baggies Blog

MO’ DOUBTS ABOUT THE BOSS

07-04-2009

After Albion’s defeat against Stoke, even the most optimistic Hawthorns regular must accept that relegation is inevitable. Terry Wills ponders the future of manager Tony Mowbray.

Now what was it I said last week?

Oh yes …“ For me and I know many others, the feeling is that the war has already been lost but in saying that it WOULD be something of a consolation (slight as it would appear) if for once Albion could emerge from the trenches-defy tradition-take the game by the scuff of the neck - capture the three points - and win the ‘battle’

The response to this heartfelt supporters plea from the players?

As the referee blew his whistle to signal the charge they duly ‘crept’ from the trenches, but instead of advancing with all guns blazing and roaring defiance they ‘strolled’ into action with eleven white flags limply hanging in the wind.

Not only was the game effectively over before it had started, but Albion’s third brief incursion into the ‘Promised Land’ known as the Premiership had been ended in the most pitiful fashion.

Truly a dispiriting performance with ALL of the acknowledged (recognised by the manager and players) ‘blood curdling ‘ errors, taking centre stage.

Suffice to say that within two minutes Shelton Martis and Scott Carson between them managed to unfurl the Hawthorns gift-wrapping paper to present Ricardo Fuller with the first goal and a half-time lead, while shortly after the interval another defensive mix up left James Beattie to seal the points and in all probability seal their survival as a ‘Greed League’ club.

So where DO the Baggies go from here, apart from back into the Championship of course?

(Ok technically we’re still in with a chance of survival and 21 points from the last seven games could still see them escape BUT then should I win the National Lottery outright in consecutive weeks I could go down in history as a somewhat fortunate punter)

The club find themselves facing the wrath of disillusioned supporters who feel that yet again they’ve been let down. The Championship promotion season had in effect counted for nothing.

Accusations that Jeremy Peace has refused to back Tony Mowbray with the cash to bring in players who could have helped keep the team in the Premiership.

James Beattie snapped up by Stoke for £3.5 million-why no Albion bid considering EVERYONE knew that without a replacement for Kevin Phillips the team would struggle to score goals.

The club in response will argue that cash WAS provided but if it wasn’t spent wisely the fault has to lie at Tony Mowbray’s door.

And in that respect Mogga’ himself has admitted he HAS made mistakes. He should have recruited ‘senior’ experienced Premiership players instead of untried foreign players who have no conception of the pace and demands needed just to survive, let alone make significant progress in top flight English football.

Then there’s the wage structure in place at the Hawthorns. It was freely reported by Tony Mowbray, on a local radio forum, when asked about the possibility of signing James Beattie, that his wages were DOUBLE that of any Albion player AND he agreed with the chairman that the club has to have a realistic wage structure in place, and he was ‘happy’ to work within these parameters.

What cannot be denied is that Mowbray’s philosophy on how the game should be played has led to increasing frustration, debate, and argument among supporters.

Baggies fans are no different from any others. They love to see the ball passed around providing the end result provides dividends.

Sadly what has been described as ‘tippy tappy football’ has failed miserably. How many times have Albion dominated possession BUT lost the game? No prizes for a correct answer.

I could ‘rabbit’ on endlessly about so many aspects relating to the fortunes of West Bromwich Albion but quite honestly that would probably bore ‘Stirrer’ readers to tears. It can be discussed in greater detail at a more appropriate time.

What cannot be glossed over is whether Tony Mowbray has a future at the Hawthorns following this season’s disastrous campaign?

(He’s a man of principle, whether one agrees with his philosophy or not, and has STRESSED that whatever the circumstances he will NOT change them).

So whether Jeremy Peace would be bold enough to dismiss a manager who bought us our first League Championship for 88 years, courtesy of some of the finest attacking football seen since the days of Ron Atkinson and John Giles, is only a question he and the board can answer.

If not, and I personally think he will still be in charge at the Hawthorns, next season, supporters can expect to see a continuation of a style that while ‘possibly’ (and that’s by no mean certain) being good enough to again clamber out of the Championship, would simply see a reprise of this season’s debacle without signing the expensive players needed to keep them there.

Which brings us back to a wage policy that while keeping Albion as a sounds well structured financial football club, in terms of actually establishing themselves in the Premiership, would be as far away as ever.

Talk about a dog chasing it’s own tail!

Well despite the doom and gloom (!) this week we’re off to Portsmouth’s Fratton Park a ground that changed little since down the years with one exception!

For the first time in over half a century, and I’ve been there a few times, they’ve actually built a roof over the end housing away supporters!

No more being drenched by bitter cold wind and downpours of rain without a hint of shelter. Heaven at last!

Chances of a dry day and a result…add your own postscript?

“Come on you Baggies”

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