The 200% Premier League Pre-Season: West Bromwich Albion

You may not have been able to hear them shouting it for all the shrieking about racism, biting or the decline and fall of western civilisation that was no Premier League clubs reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, but the supporters of West Bromwich Albion Football Club had their best season in more than thirty years last season. Albion hadn’t finished as high up the English league system as the eighth-placed finish that they managed last season since 1981, and on top of that the continuing decline of their bitter rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers will have added an extra layer of gloss to a job extremely professionally done. It probably wasn’t supposed to be like this, either. The appointment of Steve Clarke as manager last summer came with inherent degree of chance about it. Clarke had become a professional assistant manager and coach through his previous roles at Chelsea, West Ham United and Liverpool, and there were those who questioned whether he would be be able to make this step up into the higher pressure environment of the manager’s seat. These were questions that were answered with room to spare, not lease in terms of his club’s handling of the situation that blew up in the club’s face as a result of the petulant behaviour of Peter Odemwingie when the club wouldn’t give him the “transfer of his dreams”...

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