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Terry’s Baggies Blog

STOKING THE FIRES

01-04-2009

We’ve heard it so many times before this season, but Saturday really is a “must win” if Albion are to avoid relegation. Trouble is, as Terry Wills observes, the visitors are bogey side Stoke City.

Well THIS is it! The week, the match that MUST be won if the Baggies are to have the slightest chance of avoiding an instant return back to the delights of ‘Fizzy Pop’ League football.

For me, and I know many others, the feeling is that the ‘War’ has already been lost but in saying that it WOULD me 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 scruff of the neck-capture the three points - and win the ‘battle’.

Finally silencing the guttural sounds of the visiting hordes from Staffordshire who’ll doubtless already be warming up their vocal chords with a few lusty renditions of ‘Delilah’?

Yes it’s time to ‘welcome’ Tony Pulis’ far from cultured outfit, but to a degree, successful, Stoke City to the Hawthorns knowing the game will result in another 90 minutes of sheer frustration as have so many of the previous 20 odd plus, no win League encounters.

Recently we’ve had acknowledgement from Jonathan Greening and Robert Koren that we have to beat Stoke to have any chance of staying up.
Anything other than a victory would be little short of a ‘disaster’

Hard to argue seeing as we already need two wins and two draws, taking our horrendous minus goal difference into the equation, to draw level with the teams also frantically searching for the ‘magical escape route.

Jonas Olsson also exudes confidence claiming the players feel capable of winning the majority of the remaining games. Naturally they have to believe it but in truth how many ‘Stirrer’ readers (Adrian has previously stated he thinks we’re going down) honestly BELIEVE this to be the case?

I’m told to be confident. Have faith and believe in the impossible. How often have I read that faith is so strong it ‘Can move mountains’!
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Perhaps it can move the likes of Everest and K2 to a new destination but blind faith, based on the season so far, is likely to present faith with a far more demanding task when asked to steer West Bromwich Albion away from next season’s impending Championship fixture list back to where the bitterly disappointed fans feel we should be, in the Premiership.

Prospects? At face value being as the ‘Potters’ have yet to win an away game, and that’s a worrying statistic in itself, a top form Baggies are more than capable of extending that awful record. But which Albion will turn up? The one capable of opening defences and as on certain occasions taken the opportunities, while defending valiantly at the other end (not often I admit) but it has been known to happen) or the one that misses chances as if they’re going out of fashion, and defends crosses, set pieces, corners, long deep throws’, as if they’ve stumbled across Aliens from another planet?

I’m going to argue with myself bearing in mind the enormity of the eventual result. Tony Mowbray and the players know they HAVE to win. The fans plus the national and the local media KNOW we have to win.

Chairman Jeremy Peace is also VERY aware of a negative result. A win and the lingering prospect of survival means the faint hope that next season’s budget won’t have to be faced for another uncertain length of time, but conversely a defeat will mean the sound financial structure, already in place should the team be relegated will be stretched to the limit. Even taking into account the first season’s parachute payment of around £11.3 million.

Would they be able to turn down possible bids for James Morrison, Robert Koren, or Jonas Olsson?

How would this leave Tony Mowbray in relation to cash available to recruit new players? Not too difficult, even on a restricted budget, should the club be in the position to offer ‘Greed League’ football but on a lower level……?

So for once I’m prepared to argue with myself and tip Albion to end the Stoke City jinx. Seeing as since the return of Jonas Olsson they’ve only conceded ONE goal in two games!

Just to add even more spice to the game I see Lou Macari, ex Stoke manager, has lashed out in no uncertain manner at Tony Mowbray’s footballing philosophy.

Stating ‘Put me in the trenches with either the Stoke or the Albion lads and I know which I would prefer”.

Fighting talk indeed, so can I suggest, should it be needed, that Mogga’ posts Macari’s thoughts on the wall of the home dressing room for them to answer in the manner that suits them best?

So, and I can’t believe I’m daring to say this, albeit more in hope than anticipation, it’s Albion to fend off the prospect of relegation for a little longer by sending the fans home happy after finally (?) ending this seemingly eternal hoodoo.

Providing they trade blow for blow, kick for kick, and a hard challenge with an even tougher response. If they can THEN Tony Mowbray’s footballing philosophy, also savagely condemned by Lou Macari, SHOULD be enough to see his words firmly rammed back down his throat.

So PLEASE, PLEASE for once make it happen.

“Come on you Baggies”

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