Sunday, May 15, 2005

Oh Ye Of Little Faith

I must confess to being less than chuffed when Gary Megson left the Baggies and was replaced by Bryan Robson, who'd been the star of Big Ron's wonderful late-Seventies Albion side. I'd loved Megson's passion for the game. You knew his teams would always give 110%, win or lose. He'd got us promotion twice with hardly any cash to spend.

Alright, we'd go down - but Gary would get us back up.

"Robson ? Have the board flipped ? This is the guy who almost bankrupted Middlesborough - and we haven't got any money. And Middlesborough ended up needing Terry Venables to keep them up ! Fantastic player - but a manager ? We've had it"

The first few games confirmed my worst fears. Collapse at St Andrews. At home to Liverpool we were taken apart - it was like a kids game of 'shots in' for them. Under Megson the team would have been too frightened to leave the pitch at full time - they'd have had to stay out there. Eight points adrift at the bottom.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, things started to change. The classy Kevin Campbell was signed on a free from Everton. They started picking up points away from home. Three priceless wins in March. The real shock was the football - they were starting to play some neat passing stuff. Teams above them were dropping points. For a game or two they were actually off the bottom, but this morning they were still there, needing to win the last game and for their three relegation rivals not to win theirs.

And it came to pass. And a middle-aged man stood in a garage, listening to the radio with tears in his eyes.

UPDATE - via the Pooter of Geek - one man's story of the match.

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