• We All Follow the Albion

    by Published on 06-04-2016 19:41
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    Well now. It's all getting a bit real.

    Through a combination of lethargy, man-flu and work pressures, my brief Burnley notes never turned into a report. Here they are anyway - I think they pretty much cover it.


    Onwards and upwards. Onwards indeed - to Birmingham. A handily arranged work commitment. An expensed hotel. A poorly chosen real ale pub with iffy beer and half-cut clientele. A sea of familiar faces. A mood of contentment and cautious optimism.

    Until the team news.

    No Knockaert? FFS. Murphy's out? Sidwell? Seriously? 4-5-1? Nah can't be. You are joking, right?
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    by Published on 16-03-2016 12:25
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    Yet another Tuesday night. Another half day holiday used up. Another slog down the A27 through rush hour in Worthing. I make it sound like an effort, and it IS an effort, but undertaken gladly – more so when the team are going well.

    The Albion team changes were intriguing – one obvious and essential - the return of King Beram Kayal in place of Steve Sidwell. The other unforced – James Wilson’s pace for Tomer Hemed’s guile. Hemed could consider himself hugely unfortunate, having been in excellent form recently – indeed
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    by Published on 09-03-2016 09:48
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    Writing up a drab goalless draw is tougher than writing up a joyous eulogy to a 4-0 home romp. At least I can write it how it is (was). Working for Sky, pretending all Sundays are SUPER, delivering understandable bias via the official club site, or being politically non-critical in the Argus would make the task harder still.



    Make no mistake, this was a tough night. Horrendous weather conditions (possibly the absolute worst the Amex
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    by Published on 01-03-2016 12:04
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    Ian Winrow in the Times this morning called it “A comprehensive dismantling of a dismal Leeds United”, Phil Cartwright of the BBC, a “first half Leeds United capitulation”, the Yorkshire Evening Post, that “it was hard to think of many more inept or spineless first halves served up by a Leeds team”.

    Whilst all the above are clearly true, it’s a shame that the response to last night’s fun and games has focused squarely on what Leeds did wrong, rather than what the Albion did right. Coming into the game off the back of a convincing and clinical display at Bristol City
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    Published on 25-02-2016 20:41
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    Arriving in Bristol early yesterday evening on the back of Albion’s 4-1 weekend defeat at Cardiff, those of a nervous disposition might have been disconcerted to witness the sight of a blood red moon rising over the Avon. A good omen for a resurgent Bristol City, inconveniently winners of their previous three games?

    by Published on 14-02-2016 16:25
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    The final act of the home trilogy. 23rd placed Bolton Wanderers the visitors, in better form than their lowly league position suggests. The crowd in confident mood around me, but I can't shift those old doubts - surely shared by all seasoned, battle-scarred Albionites?

    What could possibly go wrong? Well, how about your Manchester United starlet pulling up lame just before the game, and being withdrawn from the squad? Or 20 minutes before kick-off, your star centre back and best arial challenger, suddenly disappearing from the team
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    by Published on 08-02-2016 16:17
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    Once more the pilgrimage East to the Amex, for the second of three back-to-back home games, that give the Albion the chance to properly reignite a promotion charge that stuttered badly over the new year.

    Chris Hughton seems to generally adhere to the old adage about a winning team, so the side that defeated Huddersfield two weeks ago all retained their spots, with notable bench places for Richie Towell, new loan signing Steve Sidwell, and the rarely seen (outside of the Westdene Café) Casper
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    by Published on 25-01-2016 08:00
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    Well, hello, Anthony Knockaert. The Albion invested a tidy sum in the French winger, at the start of January - the former Leicester man becoming one of the club's most expensive signings of all time. His virtuoso performance, on this, his home debut, made the investment look a shrewd one - could he be the missing piece - the man to turn frustrating draws into crucial victories?



    Somebody commented after the recent Wolves game, that
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    by Published on 13-01-2016 17:55
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    On the long drive North yesterday, I mentally compiled some notes for this report. Some thoughts on a preamble. The report I was planning – hoping – to write, is not the one below.

    350-odd Albion supporters, and bizarrely a dozen extras on loan from Doncaster Rovers, stood or sat, watching with a mixture of angst, confusion and resignation as the Albion team – so recently frontrunners in the league – went through the motions in front of them.
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    Published on 31-12-2015 12:50
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    It's been an incredible roller coaster of a year for the Albion.

    2015 started with new boss Chris Hughton inheriting a side that was 4th bottom, with goal difference alone keeping the Albion outside the drop zone. As the year ends, despite an unprecedented spate of injuries, Hughton
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    Published on 28-12-2015 11:54
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    On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, a stalemate at Brentford FC

    So here we are again, with the festive season taking its toll on many of us, having consumed our own body weight in Brussels sprouts, beer and Belgian chocolates over the past few days. It’s at times like these that a bit of fresh air & football is exactly what the doctor ordered, and so to Griffin
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    by Published on 20-12-2015 11:13
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    Sorry it's taken so long, I've been busy in my shed...

    How much for a seat?

    A couple of weeks ago the Albion announced their financial results, and confirmed a loss of £10.4 million for the year to 30 June 2015, a slight improvement on the previous year.

    The news has been followed by a release that the club are potentially increasing ST prices by a couple of pounds of month for early bird renewers. This has been met with a mainly positive response from NSC.

    The recently released accounts however reveal that for one fan the price of a home ticket last season was an eye-watering £453,856.52.

    That fan is of course the one and only Tony Bloom. I suspect for his matchday price he probably received a free Bovril, programme and a booster cushion, but even so it shows just how dependent the club are on his benevolence and interest free support for the club.

    The accounts have already been reviewed by the king of football analysis in the Swiss Ramble blog, but I’ve played around with the numbers a bit more since then, so have highlighted some other issues.

    Where does the money come from?

    Football clubs broadly get their sales income from
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    by Published on 16-12-2015 14:27
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    On paper, a 2-2 draw away, with five important players out injured, to a side with one of the most expensively assembled squads in the division, fronted by one of the best strikers in the country - a side that hadn't conceded a single goal in their last 4 home matches - would be a more than decent result.

    Before the kick-off, most right minded Albion fans would have taken the point. At the interval,
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    by Published on 08-12-2015 09:50
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    Around about this time last year I was having one of the biggest meltdowns of my Albion supporting career and I was far from alone. It was Friday night and we were playing Millwall, one of the few teams (yes, in December) that could possibly go down instead of us. A six pointer live on Sky. We lost in the most pathetic display I’ve seen from an Albion side since we played at Gillingham (ok, perhaps one ...
    by Published on 06-12-2015 10:35
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    Well...

    Where to start? I guess, at the start.

    It was pleasing to see James Wilson included from the start, in tandem with Sir Bobby - I'd watched Charlton's immobile defence get over-run by Ipswich last week, and was relieved to see we were not planning an aerial route.

    A scan through the Charlton side, for danger men - Berg Gudmundsson is a decent player, Cousins a tidy midfielder, and of course Vaz Te has caused us big problems in the past. Nothing much to fear. One of the junior (real) experts in the family suggested that the 18 year old winger, Ademola
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