Being a fan of West Bromwich Albion FC – it’s a calling. We have a marriage to Albion arranged from birth: for better, for worse; for the agony, the ecstasy and til’ death do us part. There will be no divorce. A journey through Brom World is a trip of a lifetime and please hold on to your seats – it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Here are my trip notes from the 2013/2014 season :
ALBION’s ROCKY HORROR SHOW – December 2013
Little did I know of what was about to befall Albion following the facing of the Villa Entity on that late November evening, but surely some spell was cast with that Lambert #triplesubstitution. There was something portentous blowing in the cold dark air of the second half that night. Albion had ended the game looking spooked. I went home concerned.
By the time of The Pardew Haunting on the 3oth November, I wanted to cover my eyes. I had become very concerned. At the City game, despite showing some spirit, we were beaten back by the forces of Jesus Navas and unnerved by the ghostly pallor of James Milner. I remained very concerned.
At the Norwich game, the Poltergeists were in, moving the goalposts in front of Sessegnon’s eyes and throwing all sorts of crap crosses about. I had massive concerns. By the end of the Cardiff visitation on 14th December, we watched Albion slide into the hellish dark pit shafts of South Wales. I resigned from my concerns. We’d had enough of each other.
Following the Welsh horrors, Albion fans took to the Twitter in excellent meltdown form, whilst the West Brom Board spiralled to their own besuited version of Def Con 1. The Cardiff aftermath was another instance where Albion fans marry the bleakest of times with the funniest of times. We should have a sitcom.
Here are two classics from the Twitter post-match. You have to a laugh. Seriously.
The meltdownometer has reached level 6! Nuclear attack imminent.
— Fabrize Tracanna (@fabwba) December 14, 2013
Then, just as we thought we were heading into the calm after the storm steadied by the experienced hand of Saint Gera, Salutegate happens. What the hell is going on we ask. Now how we long for an evening of Odemwingie tweeting pictures of his Chihuahua Olympics (this really happened) instead of this more macabre nonsense post-West Ham. Added to this we remain rudderless at New Year, oh and the ghostly carriage of Pardew is on its way down the M6. So what of 2014? Do we need to brace ourselves? Is the Albion Press Officer OK? See you on the other side.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF POPOV IN THE NIGHT TIME – November 25th 2013
The Midlands derby against that BIG club from ‘up town’ is always a feisty affair and Monday evening’s game was no different.
Albion were truly wondrous in the first half, a Bergkamp style stunner from Shane Long for the first of his two classy strikes and we were cruising on the Number 11 bus round Brum, taking the pish. Everything Villa did was disastrous and mildly comic. The freezing cold, the titting traffic – it was all starting to look more than worthwhile. Then, ten minutes before half time, we took our eyes off the ball (slightly earlier than our team did), as the bizarre spectacle of the much loved Paul Scharner was seen to be walking the perimeter of the Brummie Rd end of the pitch, waving at fans. Sadly, he was not in his famous Bernie Winter style fur coat. The moment had an ominous surreal quality.
Then….. after the break, the “other Albion” came out, you know the one. <Shivers>
On 57 minutes, Lambert made a gamechanging #triplesubstitution and Albion fell asleep at the wheel. With the arrival of Delph, Weimann & Agbonlahor on the pitch, the Villa entity shape-shifted and Albion looked clueless in how to deal with the new creature. You have to hand it to Lambert, throwing all 3 subs on in one foul throw with 30 minutes left, away in the Prem, takes some nerve. It worked. Within ten minutes, El Ahmadi had scored and the one Villa Ultra let off a solitary claret flare and a single plume of smoke rose eerily above the Smethwick End. We weren’t happy.
I knew from years of Albionism, what was coming from that moment on and I prayed it wasn’t going to be a defeat. There are times at the Hawthorns where the inevitability that something bad is going to happen, haunts the atmosphere of the crowd so heavily you can feel it weighing down upon your head.
The second half had that familiar edgy unnerving feel from the start. Meanwhile Popov “the Albion man”, now a cartoon character liability was hauled off by Clarke after another Homer Simpson style gaffe with Brunt made to cover for Left Back. He looked delighted.
There were some flickers, there usually are. Mulumbu never gave in, he never does. Tackle after seemingly impossible tackle. There was a point midway through the second half where he made a wonder of a Puyol style roulette turn. After the match, I saw a fan tweet that Mulumbu was now driving the team bus home after making them all tea. He does indeed carry much on his shoulders and is such a key player for us.
So we reached the end of a strange bitterly cold evening with fans warmed only by the glow of their mega fume as the home stands of the Hawthorns emptied. Another draw that feels like a defeat? .. Til the next time.
A BRIDGE TOO FAR. CHELSEA v WBA – November 2013
Thirteen minutes to five pm, November 9th 2013. The shrill piercing sound of a referee’s whistle rings out in a small area of West London just off the Fulham Road. Its like fingers down a blackboard.
Where were you at that exact moment?
I was in the Stamford Bridge Shed End with the WBA away faithful. Jose Mourinho was standing on the grassy knoll. Referee Andre Marriner was in the Texas Book Depository holding the smoking gun. Steven Reid was frozen at the scene. Jonas Olsson was going nuts.
We had just witnessed a bizarre penalty decision after Chelsea’s Ramires had sidled up to Reid and dropped to the floor in a move, strikingly reminiscent of a Bob Mortimer, “I’ve fallen” sketch.
Before the game, we had arrived at Chelsea’s ground to see repeated viewings of Albion’s historic September 2013 victory at Old Trafford against Man U, kindly replayed on the screens of the away end concourse by Chelsea FC. Little did any of us know, that Albion were 90 minutes away from ALMOST pulling off another amazing away victory – a video, the Stamford Bridge media team would have wanted to bury under Sellafield. We were a cat’s whiskers away from doing Chelsea on their home turf for the first time since the late 1970s and Mourinho’s first home defeat as Chelsea boss. But it wasn’t to be, was it?
The last ten minutes of that game were some of the longest minutes I’ve ever experienced. Albion had been 2-1 up from the 67th minute. Twenty minutes from the end Mourinho had finally brought on the gifted Juan (why is he on the bench?) Mata and ever since, Chelsea had been pressing Albion hard. Could we hold on? Corner after Chelsea corner. It was like the Alamo. Willian a constant threat. A brief respite came when Popov had the ball in space and….D’oh!
The final 2-2 result felt like a loss at the time and I know the players felt the same. They were seething. This was plain to see as they stormed down the Chelsea tunnel. They felt that they had done enough. They had.
As we were gently ‘kettled’ along towards Fulham Broadway Tube station, some Albion fans were leaning up against a Baggies Travel coach showing a couple of policemen the penalty footage on a phone. Were they hoping for Andre Marriner to be arrested for crimes against the Brom? I think they were.
Oh well, we will always have that wondrous moment when Shane Long equalised through a brilliant header. We will also have that great moment after Sessegnon’s goal, where the away end went ballistic and were in great voice. As fans its what we crave.
TALE OF THE 42 SECOND HIGHLIGHTS – October 26th 2013
My reaction to Albion losing by a whopping great goal deficit, which I am unilaterally deciding is three, is reassuringly churlish and has probably not matured much beyond the emotional response of a 10 year old. On October 26th, Albion made the trip to Anfield and we were treated to the spectacle of Luis Suarez stripping and tearing our team to shreds in front of our eyes. Oh the horror.
On such occasions, I childishly refuse to watch Match of the Day out of spite and will on occasion send myself off to bed in some bizarre ineffectual statement.
In times such as this, we must always to look to any positives, and yes, under the veil of that bruising scoreline, there was indeed a moment. That moment was brought to you by Albion’s No 7, Jimmy Morrison, a servant of West Brom since 2007, the third longest serving player and one I’ve always admired for his tenacity, and no nonsense get on with it attitude.
It was in the 65th minute of the Anfield horror show, that Jimmy put himself forward to take a penalty, amidst the hostility of the Liverpool faithful. What follows, is the only highlights of the game I’m prepared to engage with. Sometimes you have to take the best and leave the rest. Well done Jimmy – Gol de Albion!
BROM LOVE & THE DAYS OF WONDER (on beating Manchester United at Old Trafford) – September 28th 2013
I think grand Albion devotee and East Stand overlord Fab Tracanna sums up WBA fan feelings here perfectly after a golden, sunny afternoon and a stunning victory for WBA, not seen since ultra hero Cyrille Regis blasted shots at the nets of the Stretford End back in 1978. Because all of the stress and the pain of Albionism is gone when your team turns over the Champions on their home turf in that kind of style. An unforgettable day. The man love for Morgan Amalfitano reaching uncontrollable heights, the game a certified mindblower and at full time, I must confess I was slightly emotional. It was just the manner of the victory, Ferdinand nutmegged, de Gea chipped….
and here’s why -Vive Amalfitano and God Bless that lad Saido.. #signhimup. Over to our French cousins. Quel boot!…..
THE MELTDOWN-O-METER. TRANSFER MELTDOWNS BROM STYLE – September 2nd 2013
We Albion fans like nothing more than panicking at times and we love a really big moan. Its because we have been scarred by bad experience. It’s a kind of post traumatic stress symptom. Nothing has got us flapping more than Albion’s unusual at times transfer policy aka #theglobalsearch (copyright: @theVan at #vansports.) In the days leading to the end of the Summer 2013 transfer window, people were frankly losing their minds. So here at Away Colours we devised the Meltdownometer – so Brommers could be aware of their behaviour levels and the effect it was having on those close to them – a valuable tool to aid football fan self-management.
© LRM 2013
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