Date:Friday May 2 2008
West Bromwich Albion supporter Neil Clarke divulges about the ins and outs of his beloved Baggies and tells Vital QPR of his hopes for the future.
West Bromwich Albion have been dipping in and out of the Premier League in recent years, how do you feel the current team compares with the crop of players you came down with in the past?
The team we have now is the best I`ve seen as my stint as an Albion fan but only being 20 that`s not too long. The team we went up with the first time was never good enough for the premier league but that time in the top flight helped the club financially. The team now however has a lot more depth and a lot more quality though it is lacking a tad in defence. Importantly however the manager likes his attacking football which seems to suit the players well and hopefully this time round we will have a proper go at the premier division.
You lost a couple of key players in the summer namely Jason Koumas and Diomansy Kamara, has that affected the team to lose players of such quality?
There`s no doubt that Jason and Jo (Kamara) were key players in our performance last season and I was sad to see them go especially Koumas as he is a player with real quality. However the money we got for them was good and helped us sign more players and I think that as a result we have a better squad with greater depth. I think the team has benefited from their departure as this can be seen with are position this season.
Tony Mowbray has been in charge of the Baggies for over 18 months now, what do you make of his impact on the club?
I think Mowbray is a fantastic manager, a few of the fans were disappointed with our finish last year, however he was not the manager for all of that period. The great thing about Mowbray is he plays attacking football which is great to see at the Hawthornes after stints of Megson (no disrespect) and Robson who played ugly football. This season for Mowbray has just been a massive success he has taken us up and to an F.A. cup semi-final which we would have never expected. I believe we will go from strength to strength under his management.
Have West Brom fared as you would have expected this season?
In some respects better then I expected and in others worse. We got promoted which is key but we lost some games I would have expected to win and some were just awful (Leicester at home) but fans will never be truly happy and the Championship is a very tough league. However we did get to the cup semi-final which was well above any fans expectations.
The killer question that I`m sure you`ve been asked many times, that has become slightly trivial now you`re out, but F.A. Cup or Championship promotion?
That`s a tough one losing the FA cup semi-final was a huge blow and to get our name on the cup again would have been amazing. However I think if we didn`t get promoted then the season would have been seen as disappointing no matter how we did in other competitions.
Who are the players that Rangers fans have to look out for this Sunday?
There are many but mainly at the moment Zoltan Gera, in the last few games his form has been nothing short of sensational and he has been so vital at this end of the season. He has got all the attributes of a top midfielder player; he scores, has a great delivery and skips past players for fun. If he is on song like he has been Rangers will have trouble stopping us.
Finally, what is your prediction of the scoreline?
Well we`re up now so we can relax and play are football with no pressure, also QPR have nothing to play for now so I`m sure the players will not be putting their bodies on the line. On top of this our players want the title as much as the fans so I`m sorry but I`m predicting a 3-1 West Brom win.
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Date:Friday May 2 2008
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