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.
IF YOU MISSED THE FIRST PART OF DAVID’S INTERVIEW, CLICK HERE
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
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.
* 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.
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Interview: Colin Randall