More to lose than just a Premiership badge

It’s getting bad. today I watched a Hull team so devoid of their usual Brucey Magic. The FA cup runners up were actually rather good entertainment for their worth last year. A promoted team doing well in the Premiership and having an all but successful cup run. How? Steve Bruce has earned his way to the premiership. With knowledge, successful times and results. He took charge of Hull city in the championship and this Was the beginning of his climb that ended with a comfortable premiership season highlighted with a cup final at Wembley. Why is this relevant? No I don’t have a secret love for Hull, but Steve Brice is struggling this season. doing worse than Albion as a matter of fact. However their fans are rightly backing Bruce and it would be an atrocity if he was sacked. However Alan Irvine is theoretically doing better and is being openly executed by fans. I am one of them. I was in the group of Smethwick end fans responsible for “Alan Irvine football Genius” and “dingle downing number 2” in the last half of the West Ham game. So is this right? Absolutely! Alan Irvine has earned nothing from the fans. Respect isn’t just granted because the bald man at the top hired him. He’s a football failure. Sacked from league 1 clubs for boring football and horrible results. Even his time at Everton wasn’t magical. Not doing anything significant with them. Yes he had players like Barkley in his under 21 squad. But he didn’t find these talents. Others did, he just put them on a pitch and they shone. So what part of his mind thought I’ll apply for that premiership job. And what absolute moron thought he was the best of the rest and decided to pay him for the privilege of wearing our beloved badge.

Bruce has earned his time at Hull so should be given time to sort out his teams poor performance. Which is my next point. Hull were poor today. We should of capitalised, he should of spotted the weaknesses and taken control. He didn’t and doesn’t have the ability too. Let’s take the penalty that we earned through an improving Anichebe. Our penalty taker was on the bench! Im not saying Berahino has been brilliant since his alleged drink-drive arrest, I just saw this as a rebellious act from Irvine. Done to show the fans that forced his hand last week that HE is in charge. The wrong choice in my opinion, Berahino should of started. So what happens next? up steps Dorrans who has it saved. Would Berahino score? We will never know. But the fact that the team has some great penalty takers and Dorrans is the one we rely on in a MUST-WIN game is nothing but disgraceful! Everything about this guy is making me angry.

We keep on this path and we will not survive this season. An absolute certainty in my mind. And I think albion fans are ready for this. I spent the last 40 minutes of the West Ham game having one of the best times in the stands that I’ve had for a long time. It seemed that all the anger and fear just snapped. But it didn’t result in riots or violence. It resulted in laughter, humour and a coming together of fans that I haven’t see for many years. So here’s a personal shout out to all of the other fans at the back of the Smethwick end with me. You were awsome!

Now I don’t mean to dilute the mood with misery but I do think we need to understand what relegation means for the club. As accepting it and actually being relegated are 2 different things. We will lose money first and foremost, not something Peace wants but I don’t see us having financial difficulty with him in charge. He will make cuts where necessary. Also we will lose fans. It’s just truth. Some fans will desert a club that’s been relegated, every club has them. We will also lose premiership status obviously but worse is the title of “established premier league team”. just words I know but the first time I heard Albion referred to as such, a sense of pride filled my body, losing that isn’t the end of the world however but it sure is nice. Now the biggest thing I think we will lose are the quality in player. Which is funny to say as this whole blog post is because of our poor team performances. But there is quality in this club. The type of quality albion could only dream of signing or keeping only 4 years ago. Lescott, Foster, Sessegnon, Berahino and so on. We have had to do more than just buy such players. We’ve had to earn it. If we get relegated we will lose these players. They’re not championship players. Clubs will grab them. I think we would be shattered by the losses and I think we would be in the championship for quite a stint because of this. And even if we did get back into the premiership I think we will be re-labelled the Yo-Yo club we fought so hard to lose. What top players want to go to a club they think will be bouncing between leagues for years to come?

It’s a bad time for Albion fans. A part of me hopes that people high in the ranks of WBA HQ read this. And understands what is to lose. The only way to stop this happening is to sack Alan Irvine. We need a manager! A premier league manager. And we need it now!

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Albion’s War

The day before my birthday, June 18th 2014. I remember waking up a bit late and thinking “YES”. Premier league fixtures have been released. “Let’s see what away games I can do and let’s see when we play the Villa”

I spotted what I needed to and then I got the shock of my life. Our last five games are
•Liverpool
•Man Utd
•Newcastle
•Chelsea
•Arsenal

Why is this relevant you ask? All are teams that will be fighting for champions league/titles (except maybe Newcastle). Our last, what I call ‘winnable game’, is Crystal Palace away on the 18th of April. That cuts our premiership season short by a month or 5 games. Not saying we can’t get points or wins at these places but there aren’t much harder teams to try and take them from. If we are not safe by the middle of April (40 Pts minimum, maybe more), we are highly likely to be heading into the sky bet league. The problems don’t end there.

Christmas is also another troublesome time for Albion. With such a big fixture list, our seemingly small squad (that actually play) coupled with the African cup of nations (luckily we only lose Mulumbu this year as Nigeria didn’t qualify). Is also a time that we fail to get many points on the board and often gives us a bit of a limp going into new year as we attempt to recuperate from the Christmas battles. And though it’s not the whole ‘war’, if you don’t win your battles you often lose the war.

What I’m getting at is as fans we knew and know that the first 15 games were going to be crucial to our premier league survival. We are on number 13 with 13 points. Doesn’t take a maths genius to understand that is 1 point per game. Also doesn’t take a genius to understand that this is relegation form without the fears that Albion fans know is coming. Christmas and those last 5 fixtures are huge tasks.

Now onto Alan Irvine. The very nice, bushy browed Glaswegian. He’s polite, thankful and knowledgeable. But he is NOT a Premiership manager. Take aside the fact that his football is incredibly boring, anti attacking and backwards. He seems to have no urgency. Proven by his team, bench and substitution choices. Albion fans are no stranger to this. Aside from 1 or 2 games, we have dealt with this week in, week out for going on 2 years now. It was about this time 2 years ago that Steve Clarke’s fantastic managerial start decided to get up and go. We finished 8th that season, This is where the difference is however. We did poor for the rest of that season but got security early. We haven’t done this here. And we are vastly running out of time. We need something to gel. Things are going wrong and looking bad, fans are getting very tired. I can see people are about to give up. This anger and uproar from today’s game feels like one last battle cry from the fans to do something, to save us from the hurt that will come with relegation. We have “soldiers” drink driving, injured, lazy, inept and for some reason we paid one “soldier” £10 million to sit on the bench… Sometimes.

Im not even going to head into the Downing/Kiely debate, but let’s just say we’ve been through 3 managers now, all of which suffer the boring play, horrible subs and terrible timing of said subs. Sometimes there’s too much there to call coincidence. (Though I do believe Kiely is a great keeper coach).

I do know the recruitment wasn’t down to Irvine solely. But there ARE great players In this squad. I feel that there is enough quality in the squad to pull us through this war. However, should we not replace the inexperienced manager with someone who actually knows premiership football properly, someone who can get the potential out of the players and should we not get the points required by April. I would start making plans for midweek games at Sheffield Wednesday. (What a coincidence).