West Bromwich Albion’s owner Mr Guochuan Lai yesterday sacked the club Chairman John Williams and CEO Martin Goodman and replaced them with former director Mark Jenkins as CEO. The sackings are simply the penalty for failure and after changing the manager and players I suppose changing the top level management was the last throw of the survival dice in what has been a miserable Premier League season so far for the club and its loyal supporters.
You can’t help but think that as far as Premier League survival hopes go- then the Albion’s are looking very bleak with them bottom of the table and 7 points away from safety with just eleven games to go.
However such is the mentality of the football fan of any club you immediately start picking out the games you believe you can, should, might or must win. Futile really because predicting results is not an exact science and to quote a well-worn cliché “anything can happen on any given day with any team capable of beating any other”. Well that’s what they say.
You can add into that mix games they should have won, could have won and deserved to win and you can end up painting a fantasy picture that will only end up leaving you more miserable than when you started.
Look at the Baggies remaining fixtures and it does little to improve the belief that another “Great Escape” is on the cards and in fact is certain to only increase the stress and nerves among the Hawthorns faithful.
I was doing BRMB Radio commentaries with Tony “Bomber” Brown on that wonderful and emotional Baggies Great Escape at the end of the 2004-2005 season. Not until the after the last kick of the last game against Portsmouth was safety assure when at one time they looked dead and buried but from the last eleven games they took 16 points. The same return from the remaining games this season might just be enough.
That “great escape” saw a derby win over Blues, a massive 4-1 win away at Charlton, draws away at Spurs, and Manchester United, and a 1-1 draw at Villa when Paul Robinson headed home the equaliser with just seconds remaining of stoppage time. Those are the sort of results you have to make happen to achieve your goal.
In 2005 with eleven games to go Albion had scored 23 goals and added 13 in those final eleven matches. Not a lot different to this seasons tally with 11 games to go Baggies are on 21 goals.
I am not saying that another similar “great escape” will happen but my point is that you have to keep believing until the fat lady sings and even though she may be gargling at the moment Baggies fans it aint over till it’s over and that means when its mathematically done and dusted.
We want more local teams in the Premier League not less so good luck to West Brom in these final vital eleven games. Defensively they are better than some and no worse than others near the bottom of the table. However goals are the problem taking the chances they create, especially at crucial times, or not will have a major bearing on their battle against the drop. Whatever the outcome do not surrender your Premier League place that you worked so hard to get without one hell of a fight.