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Terry’s Baggies Blog

RARING TO GO

05-08-2009

Albion’s signing of Chilean international defender Gonzalo Jara is the latest addition to a squad readjusting to life in the Championship – but Baggies blogger Terry Wills reckons a swift return to the top flight can’t be guaranteed.

So a new season beckons after close season that left Baggies fans ruminating on relegation.

Tony Mowbray moved to Celtic, Paul Robinson quit for Bolton, Jonathan Greening handed in a transfer request, there were rumours that other players wanted out and then, out of the blue, Roberto Di Matteo became our new manager.

It’s not surprising that supporters are left wondering just what another spell of Championship football means to the club and what are any realistic prospects of ever cutting it alongside the ‘Greed League’ clubs who through their ridiculous transfer dealings have turned the game into Millionaire Musical Chairs.

Now I’m not a fan who appreciates friendlies, so I didn’t bother travelling to the pre-season away fixtures where, as to be expected a combination of squad players apparently provided a series of very uninspiring performances.

But seeing as we would more or less be assured of seeing the spine of the Baggies first team in action among with 3,000 other plus supporters I braved the appalling Hawthorns weather to see the visit of Serie A side. Chievo.

Up to now activity in the transfer market has been somewhat of a ‘low key’ nature but naturally the signing of Simon Cox with 31 goals for Swindon last season was the main attraction.

How did he perform? In a nutshell despite the Baggies having by far the better of the game, creating what few genuine goal-scoring chances there were, he failed to stamp any noticeable authority on proceedings.

Enthusiastic, yes, as was the performance of Luke Moore, but should this combination be expected to score the goals needed to ensure a swift return to the Premiership, we look like being sadly disappointed.

In saying that, there is a certain Chris Wood in the squad who must be aching to show what he can do if and when he gets the call.

Not forgetting of course Roman Bednar - what is his fate I ask myself? - and Craig Beattie whom Albion readily admit they’d be happy to offload given a cash offer and not a loan deal.

The defence, reported as still experiencing the same problems as last season, looked composed (Jonas Olsson and Mulumbu in particular) and seemed determined not to concede even an inch of the lush green turf.
Marek Cech, will he go or will he stay (?) had a decent game and it will be interesting to see just where his destination lies.

Unsurprisingly it was the midfield that dominated proceedings even minus the talents of Robert Koren, Graham Dorrans in particular looking as if he will be a vital cog when it comes to dictating games.

Overall verdict…A horrible afternoon weather wise, no goals, barely a shot worthy of the name all compounded by the few people who bothered to attend bitterly complaining that £15 a ticket was little more than a rip off.

But on to Saturday and a televised 5-30 kick off against fellow relegated Newcastle United. A club suffering agonising turmoil, with their astronomical wage bill, and recently defeated 6-1 by Leyton Orient.

Early season predictions can and often are, when looking back, just thoughts that supporters feel at the time, whether they be positive or negative.

No team’s prospects can be summed up on the strength of a series of ‘friendly’ games’ against lower League opposition especially when new players are still being recruited.

A win over the Tyneside outfit would be a great start but in saying that I refuse to believe Newcastle could be as ‘bad’ as reported. They’ll be determined to prove they won’t be a soft touch. Even so the Baggies should start off with a three-point haul before travelling to Bury on Tuesday for a Carling Cup game against the ‘Shakers’.

Of one thing I am 100% confident. The sad passing and tributes to Sir Bobby Robson WILL be among, if not THE, finest in the country.

Yes Bobby was a ‘Geordie’ through and through’, and his managerial track record was earned, not only in England, but abroad. Yet without a shadow of doubt it was his performances while wearing a Baggies blue and white striped shirt that saw him awarded 20 international caps and represent his country in the World cup.

Along with fellow ‘Throstles’ /Baggies’ supporters, who had the pleasure of watching the football that was so VERY enjoyable in the 1950’s and 60’s Bobby Robson can and never will be forgotten.

Farewell ‘Sir Bobby’ and as you so kindly remarked (even if it was in jest when we last met!) it was a pleasure setting you on the road to your long and distinguished success as a manager/coach when you accepted the invitation to coach a group of regular travelling away supporters in the Birmingham Sunday Morning League.

Thanks to you any remaining team members of ‘Albion Nomads’ can still wistfully look at their medals won 52 years ago (!) when we won a Cup Final.

But then that was in a time when Division One footballers were far more approachable than in today’s game.

To Baggies fans everywhere a simple uncomplicated message. Whether we again regain automatic promotion, have to be content with a top-six place to reach the play-offs, or (perish the thought) have a nondescript season, just carry on giving the team maximum support.

Should the team eventually fail to replicate our last promotion triumph we will at least be able to say “we gave it our best shot”!

“Come on you Baggies”

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