Kev Candon is a salt-of-the-earth supporter who has overcome disability to follow his club, West Brom, as loyally as most Baggies. He chairs the WBA Disabled Supporters’ Club but makes light of his own handicap to the extent of calling a book he wrote with two pals Five and a Half Legs Go Nationwide.
After a bad start, you have started picking up points and are making cup progress (unlike us!). What is Tony Pulis getting right that was wrong before?
Kevin: Pulis is a manager who stands for no nonsense and lets players know he is the boss, unlike Alan Irvine who just wanted everyone to be his friend. I also put it down to the NEW MANAGER SYNDROME that sometimes lifts the club, the players and the fans. Look at Sunderland under Roy Keane.
But you told me you were not happy to see his style of play as a long-term project. What do you mean and what sort of manager would you prefer once he does the job in hand (keeping you out of trouble)?
I never liked the Pulis hoofball style of play when he was in charge of Stoke and that sticks in my mind, don’t like four centre back’s in the back four and that is his style. If he keeps us in the Prem ( Greed League ) this season I would like him to try and mix things up a bit, playing two attacking full backs in the future . I have also thought of Martin Jol as a good manger for The Baggies but by all accounts he is taking a long sabbatical from football management.
Brown Ideye seems to be on fire. Before that he was a damp squib. What has brought about the transformation?
The transfer window when it was reported that he was going to be moved on and that fell though he got his chance against Burnley and scored, he as not looked back since.
And how do you rate our old boys, Sess and Gardner?
Rate both of these players, Sess is a big favourite with the fans with his speed , Gardner, hard man, good tackler and he scored the winner against the Villa earlier this season.
What do you regard as the WBA glory days and who made them special?
Too many to mention, Ha ha, The sixties with our cup runs ( Astle, Brown, Hope, Kaye, Clark, Osborne and Williams).
Name and shame!! Any players you wish had never darkened the door at the Hawthorns?
What have been your own highs and lows as a supporter?
Not too many highs and far too many lows. One of the big lows is any defeat against the Villa or Wolves.
You must fancy your chances against us after our abysmal recent form.
Never take things for granted, what’s the old saying, football is a funny old game.
Do you have any thoughts on Sunderland – the club, the fans, the city, the region, Poyet, Billy Jones?
My first visit to Sunderland was in the FA Youth Cup final 2nd leg in 1969/69 we lost 6-0 after being 3-0 up from the first leg. My father words not mine ( the only good thing about Sunderland was the Sausages he had on his breakfast ) I have been many times since and have always found the fans and the place friendly enough. I was there last season and we had a great time with your lot even after the game and a good night was had by all.
Where will our two clubs finish this season?
Between 10th and 15th ( I hope )
What will be the top four in order, and the bottom three, and with Villa away an eminently winnable tie, can WBA go all the way and win the cup?
Top Four, Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal. Bottom Three, Leicester, Burnley, Villa. As for the FA Cup I wont make any prediction until after the Villa game.
** SAFC vs West Brom Guess the Score: https://safc.blog/2015/02/safc-vs-wba-guess-the-score-50-shades-of-unbearable-hope/
*** Let Sunderland fans join the Justice for Jeff applause on 9 minutes: https://safc.blog/2015/02/still-seeking-justice-for-jeff-as-west-bromwich-albion-visit-sunderland/
Name one step the football authorities or WBA could take to improve the lot of ordinary fans and, of special importance to you, disabled supporters? How hard is it for those with handicaps to attend games?
Better viewing for disabled fans, both wheelchair and ambulant. More tickets for the away fans who are disabled.
Tell us a little about your branch
I and two others set the branch up in 1997. We have a very good working relationship with WBAFC and have meetings on a regular basis. Once a year we have a open day at The Hawthorns for all the disabled fans, watching the first team train and then meeting them for lunch and a chat.
Will you be at our game? What will be the score?
Unfortunately no, just had a operation, What will be the score? I don’t like making predictions, but I will say a scoring draw.
* Kevin Candon on himself: I’m retired and started supporting the Baggies in 1964. Co-wrote a book called ‘Five and a half legs go nationwide’, a story of the 1996/1997 season. The book is still available from Amazon price £9.95 for a used copy (at this link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00B0YAIUM/salusund-21) and tells you all about my disability. [It is also available from the antiques.gift site at http://antiques.gift/five-and-a-half-legs-go-nationwide-three-baggies-fans-on-tour-1996-1997_3859852.html, with a higher asking price suggesting it is seen as a collector’s item; the description says Norman Bartlam, Kevin Candon & Richard Ryan’s book ‘recalls the highs and lows of West Bromwich Albion’s 96/97 season as seen by three intrepid travelling fans.]
Interview: Colin Randall
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