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Terry’s Baggies Blog

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS

06-05-2008

Imagine the tedium of being a Manchester United or Chelsea fan. You will never experience the exquisite joy of seeing your team achieve its first Championship for 88 years – but Baggies fan Terry Wills has.

Last away match of any season for Baggies fans means only one thing - celebrating in style, whether chasing promotion or fighting to avoid relegation. And if that means making total fools of ourselves well so be it!

True to tradition, we really celebrated at Queens Park Rangers. A flotilla of coaches deposited 2,800 ‘nutty’ supporters at Loftus Road and what Rangers fans thought on seeing every ‘Super Hero’ imaginable enjoying themselves inside and outside the numerous pubs can only be imagined.

The theme was billed as a tribute to ‘Super’ Kevin Phillips meaning, naturally, hundreds of Superman outfits had been hired for the day. But he wasn’t alone, being joined by comic book heroes in the various shapes (and what shapes!) of Batman and Robin, Spiderman, Cat Woman, Wonder Woman , the Incredible Hulk, plus others to numerous to mention.

When ‘Shrek’ joined the Happy Band there was roars of laughter as the happy band chanted in unison “Rooney, Rooney, Rooney”.

Unkind that - after all Shrek isn’t that ugly is he?

A truly joyous occasion climaxed when the team coach slowly trundled past to the cheers of “Come on you Baggies”, “Super Kevin Phillips” and naturally “Robbo, Robbo, Robbo”.

Into the ground and there they were. Inflatable bananas, rubber rings, beach balls, inflatable gloves. The scene was set - “Come on you Baggies, send us home happy, promotion’s OK, BUT we want to see West Bromwich Albion crowned Championship Winners to round off a great season.”

Two hours later THAT dream had been realised. There was the Jonathan Greening lifting the magnificent trophy. It was passed on to each squad member in turn who ran towards the delirious fans in joyous celebration and how they, and we. milked the occasion!

But at the heart of it all, and almost unnoticed, was THE man who has written his name in Baggies folklore for all time, Tony Mowbray.

As modest as ever he paid tribute to the players being naturally proud of the entertainment they’d served up.

And on reflection he and Mark Venus had achieved a minor miracle in turning round the fortunes of a club that at the end of the previous season had been wracked by internal strife from players who simply didn’t want to wear the famous blue and white striped shirt.

Reluctantly and VERY slowly we had to tear ourselves away from the celebrations to return to the coaches chatting ten to the dozen with dozens of familiar faces, plus complete ‘strangers’ all anxious to recount their own particular memories of a never to be forgotten afternoon.

As for the match itself, ( I suppose I should mention it in passing!) being honest it wasn’t a particular fluent performance.

First half Rangers were unlucky to have a player sent off for a tackle on Jonathan Greening and most Baggies fans were ‘convinced’ Dexter Blackstock had opened the scoring after Dean Kiely ‘scooped’ the ball back after it had already crossed his goal line.

Lucky let off for sure but on such decisions games are either won or lost.

Second half and on came Kim for Roman Bednar and WHAT a time to score your first goal. A pass from ‘Super Kev’, a typical piece of ‘Gera Magic’ and there was Kim calmly nodding home to send Baggies fans into a state of delirium.

"Goooooaalll!" - now let's have a second to ensure Stoke can't steal the trophy from the best footballing side in the division!

Enter Chris Brunt to follow up his promotion winner against Southampton with THE goal to win the Title. A free kick - more pandemonium on and off the field followed by mass celebrations. We’d done it.

And at that precise moment I’m not ashamed in admitting I shed a tear or two, or three, or four!

Like many old timers I’d seen promotions but never an actual trophy winning team but at long, long last that dream had been realised.

There’s much to reflect and ponder on but this isn’t the appropriate time. For now I’ll simply live the dream watch TV highlights and gaze proudly at the front page of the Birmingham Mail.

The headline? THE CHAMPIONS! plus a great souvenir picture of Jonathan Greening proudly bearing the Trophy aloft in front of his team mates and the supporters.

Days don’t come much better than witnessed on May 4th 2008.

So from all Albion supporters.

"WELL DONE YOU BAGGIES. YOU DID US, AND MIDLANDS FOOTBALL, PROUD"

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