West Bromwich Albion v SAFC: beware Dorrans, Brucey

pacific open (274)

Requests from Salut! Sunderland to a couple of Baggie fansites met with a stony silence – shame on you lads! – but one high profile WBA supporter’s response has been good as gold. In the first part – click here – of the BBC tennis commentator David Law‘s* fascinating story of his support for Sunderland’s next opponents, we heard of his success in converting John McEnroe and Goran Ivanisevic to the Albion cause. Now David moves on to Midlands rivalries and West Brom greats …

Salut! Sunderland: how much do you personally enter into or identify with Baggie/Villa or Baggie/Wolves rivalry?

The Villa rivalry was always the big one for me growing up, but then they became too good for us it seemed a bit futile to hate them, which is when Wolves became the big rivalry. Obviously I want us to stuff them every time we play them (and I’d love to finally beat Villa again for the first time in a quarter of a century), but when they are not playing against us I will be supporting Wolves, Blues and Villa because I’m from the area. I’ve lived overseas a lot and I hate it when people assume I’m from London just because I’m British. I’m from the Midlands, and proud of it.


Who are the players we should look out for in the WBA team and where are your remaining weaknesses?

Graham Dorrans is our star. Capable of playing for one of the top six clubs. Skillfull, hard-working, quick, tough. He has everything.

I’m hopeful that Giles Barnes and Jerome Thomas can resurrect their careers as I believe both are hugely talented.

Chris Brunt has one of the best left foots I’ve ever seen.

And we’ve just signed a central defender Pablo Ibanez, who I’m told is a good player.

Our main weakness is up front. Unfortunately, Roman Bednar and Ishmael Miller alone are not going to get it done. I would personally bring back Jason Roberts.

Astle, Robson, Cunningham, Regis, Hurst …. plenty of stars have played for WBA, but who have been the best?

My Dad would tell you that it’s Ronnie Allen, who preceded all of those. He scored more than 200 goals for the club. Jeff Astle was the King, wonderful in the air, scored in the FA cup final and a true great of the club. Bryan Robson was the most successful player that I personally saw at the Albion but Cyrille Regis was my hero. He’s the only person I’ve ever felt star-struck meeting.

A legend that not that many people outside of the club know is Tony ‘Bomber’ Brown, who loves the club to his core and still commentates on every game today. What a man. He scored 218 goals for us in 574 games and had a blistering shot on him. Only got one England cap. Scandalous.

I would say the most talented footballer that ever put on the shirt was winger Laurie Cunningham. He was bought by Real Madrid from us after terrorising every defence in the country. Died tragically in a car crash, but if TV pictures are anything to go by, he was as close a player to Lionel Messi as you will ever see.

The World Cup’s over – you can’t wait for the next one or you’re just glad to see the back of it?

Glad to see the back of it. Sorry. The media coverage is annoying. The build-up to the build-up to the build-up to the World Cup, etc. And England with a non-English manager is a ridiculous situation. What is the point of international competition if the countries are swapping managers?

Should we bury our principles, accept defeat and acknowledge that cheating – from diving, feigned injury and attempting to get opponents booked or sent off to shirt-tugging and the rest – is just part of the modern game?

No. We should be introducing sin-bins, and citing people. Stamp it out that way.

Name the 2010/2011 season’s top four in order, and the bottom three

Manchester United

Bottom: Blackpool, Wigan , West Ham

Any thoughts on Sunderland – the club, the fans, past SAFC v WBA games?

I like Sunderland. Proper fans. They have had a similar recent history to us in that they’ve been up and down a lot. I remember us playing the most hideously negative game of all time against Sunderland when we needed just a point to go up in 2003/2004. Then in the 93rd minute, Lloyd Dyer, an apprentice, forgot his instructions about taking it into the corner flag, and went on a Diego Maradona-style run before slotting in Jason Koumas to win the game. Robbery. Sunderland have a good manager in Steve Bruce. I predict top half for them this season.

Will you be at the Hawthorns for this one? If not how will you keep tabs, and what will be the score?

No, afraid not. I’ll be packing for the US Open tennis tournament. I’ll be listening to the local commentary of Tony ‘Bomber’ Brown, and hoping that he has reason to eulogise about ‘The young lad Dorrans’, which he did throughout last season. 2-1 to us.

davidlaw* David Law on David Law: … tennis commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live and managing rirector of LawSports, a company which runs the media operations at the pre-Wimbledon AEGON Championships at The Queen’s Club in London, and the ATP Champions Tour. To listen to commentaries, and for more information, click here. And to follow me on Twitter, click here and press “follow”:

I began supporting Albion as early as I can remember even knowing what football was. It had gone through the generations of the family, and has been a bond for me, my Dad, my Uncle and my late Grandad for as long as I can remember. I have butterflies when matches are about to start, even if I’m not in the ground or watching on tv. I might be travelling, or working, but in the pit of my stomach I know they are playing and I’m nervous for them. Daft isn’t it?
With my work, I don’t get to go anywhere near as often as I would like, but I’m hoping, like my Dad, that later in life I’ll have a season ticket again and be a regular.

NB ONE consequence of the activities of the international army of internet slugs and spammers is that comments from people who have not posted before are subject to a short delay for moderation (ie for me to have a quick look). Please comment but please be patient.

Interview: Colin Randall

11 thoughts on “West Bromwich Albion v SAFC: beware Dorrans, Brucey”

  1. I remember the last game of the season two years ago, Blackburn v West Brom – you were already relegated and Blackburn had once again managed to remain ‘solid’ for a season.

    It would turn out to be Tugay and Mowbray’s last games (I found those masks annoying!) but the West Brom fans were going mental in their stand, still singing and loving it despite already being relegated. They were still having a laugh in the pub (Thwaite’s?) just across the road from the ground after the match; which was a rather dull 0-0.

    Oh and it was the only 0-0 on the day. (And yes I know, I was at Blackburn while Sunderland lost 3-2 to Chelsea but Damien Duff sent Newcastle down at Villa. My friend asked me to go well in advance and I had no idea it would end up being like that on the final day..)

    And just for kicks and giggles, when it was announced that Newcastle had been relegated all the fans cheered. The Blackburn and West Brom fans. Some things will always unite people!

  2. Oh, it’s not him as a person, really. It’s just he’s -so- dull; he’s almost less animated than Tony Mowbray, which really takes some doing.

    The fact he commentated on the world cup with that voice was another strain on my impression of him, as well. 😉

    Regardless, we’ve taken a massive backlash from papers (and websites, seeing the above); which I think is undeserved. We get a lot of criticism for playing ‘pretty football’, I think a lot of pundits seem to want us to play like Stoke.

    I don’t see why we can’t win playing good football; and people overstate the margin by which we lost with said football under Tony Mowbray – four points.

    By all accounts, RDM should keep us up on that basis alone, we’ve become a lot more direct, incisive and defensively solid – it’s just hard to show that against, well, I don’t know, one of the best teams in Europe?


  3. John F. I was wondering what Mick M has done to upset you. He’s very fondly remembered by a lot of us Mackems from his time with us. He’s always come across as a sound bloke to me.

    I’ll be keeping an eye on Mulumbu from now on btw.

  4. You’d be mistaken to think he’s not got pace – maybe not as much as other players – but he can often drive on suddenly and really uplift with the team with a good run forward. It’s often what we need, considering we’ve a team full of wonderful passing players, but they’re not all as direct-minded.

    I’d say, equally, Mulumbu is one of our unsung heroes and a rock in defensive midfield. He was as good as Dorrans in doing his role last year and he’s one where you really appreciate their work effort, commitment and drive – unlike a lot of ‘modern players’ who’re their for the money and have little passion for the club or the game.

    Looking forward to this, and hope we’ll try out our new forward against you as (as has been commented by this bloke speaking) our original forwards we brought up are relatively unproven in the premiership.

    Have to agree with his view on the rivalry, when we’re not playing Birmingham or Aston Villa I’ll be eager to watch their games because I’m a big fan of some of their players and a supporter of the close-by teams and want them to do well.

    Less so with Wolves, as I’ve developed a dislike for their manager and some of the players, but I’d still want to see them in the Premiership.

  5. I agree with David’s assessment of Graham Dorrans. He will have seen a lot more than I have, but I’ve been wonderfully impressed by him. He does have everything maybe bar a little pace. However he makes up for it with judgement and skill and awareness. Fantastic player. Sadly for the Baggies I also have to agree with David’s assessement of Bednar who I’m amazed to see is still there. He’s a long way short of PL material.

  6. Alan Sims, dyed-in-the-maggot-infested-wool Newcastle supporter, was visiting me in Toronto last year. We were roaming around the city when Damien Duff-by-name-Duff-by-nature scored an own goal for the benefit of Aston Villa to conclusively sink the Mags’ leaky ship. I was getting game updates on my BlackBerry and it was a joy to see Alan’s face as I relayed the full horror of the situation. In restrospect, though, I should have lied and told him Newcastle had won. When he finally learned the truth, it would have been so much harder to take. But that’s my trouble — I’ve always been too soft-hearted.

  7. If I go to a local football match, the worry of the Sunderland score the the 90 minutes I’m without TV is tough, I often have people on stand-by to text me the score as they happen. I couldn’t imagine the feeling of being 30,000 feet in the air on an aeroplane or interviewing a person and all the while thinking “What was the score?”

    I remember in Greece last year trying to find the Sunderland v Hull score. The waiter was nice, and helpful – he let me watch Olympiakos play on a huge TV which he had swivelled for me to watch. Unfortunately his knowledge of the Premiership seemed to start and end at shouting “Spurs” over and over at me. Which was of no use to me.

    Took until a day or so later in Amsterdam Airport to find out we had won 4-1. The relief I felt was very welcome.

Comments are closed.

Next Post