Can the Boing Boing Baggies Bounce Back?6 min read
Despite what you might read on the forums, some of the last few years at the Hawthorns have been anything but boring. Pulis has been at the helm for the majority of the Berahino era (WBA’s very own Banter era), which eventually saw WBA operate our very own Cut-Price Black Friday sale to Stoke for £12m. After 0 goals in 20 games for our neighbours, I think we can all agree that it was money well spent for the Potless Potters. Losing a (once) promising striker is tough, but any stalwart of statistics for the Premier League will tell you that goals don’t always keep you up. Points & Pulis do. But the mistake that all Baggies fans seem to have made was to believe that we were maturing and developing into a Premier League side under a glut of managers whose only trick is to save clubs, not sustain them.
I see that as of now, Alan Pardew is a huge front-runner in the betting for the big seat, and maybe it’s the bettor in me, but I can’t help but think that this is throwing up some huge value in the depths of the market. Anyone who knows our club, knows that we love a freebie. And the chairman has said that he’s after a manager with EPL experience (another farce, but we’ll skip over that for now) – meaning that you only have to take a look at our touchline to see the ready-made, middle-of-the-road, 2-time-EPL-struggling-cheap-option waiting in the wings at , Gary Megson.
Megson knows the owner and the players, and the fans know him (we’ve probably still got a few flags knocking about in a cupboard somewhere), and if Gary can pull off a Midlands miracle on Saturday to get anything from Spurs, that price will come tumbling down, just in time for us to head into our easiest 3-game run of the season against Newcastle, Palace and Swansea. 2 wins there and he’ll be our man again. (We have short memories in the West Midlands. We’ve already all forgot that Nicholas Anelka played for us a few years ago. #BigClub)
Our relegation betting will tell you that the Baggies are currently 5th favourite for the drop this year. Swansea and Palace are in all sorts of trouble, which puts us in a shootout against Huddersfield and West Ham for the safety of 17th spot in May. Is Pardew the man to save us? Not if his dancing is anything to go by. But having said that, the last time anyone celebrated anything at the Hawthorns we ended up in a 6 month legal battle thanks to Anelka’s ‘Quenelle’ so maybe its best that we go quietly into the night without him.
It saddens me to say that I simply don’t see where in our squad that any manager would find the type of spark that would rescue our season. Gareth Barry seemed a solid buy, but a misfiring front line means that a team built around 7 30-something defenders will struggle to achieve anything. What the Hawthorns needs, is to recapture the excitement of those boing-boing years. The Championship is a terrifying place. The ‘football league on channel 5 show’ is even worse. But wouldn’t it be great if one bad season could lead us to another 5 passionate ones?
We were unfortunate to lose Roy Hodgson to England, after finishing just one spot away from the Europa League a few years back, but that’s simply not the club we are. Yet. We’re also (hopefully) not a club who average 0.something goals per game. You can only imagine that since our shift at the top last year, the new Chinese owners are bored to death with Pulis’ brand of football. 0-0 draws aren’t internationally marketable. But then again, neither is playing away to Burton Albion on a Tuesday in December. Swings and roundabouts.
We need some excitement back at home. Pulis isn’t the man for that, Pardew probably isn’t either. But of course- the owners bought a top flight club, and so expect top flight football. We’ll need to empty our pockets in January to bring some hope back to our campaign whatever our next run of fixtures brings, so let’s hope the next gaffer knows how to splash the cash too. (Not you Harry Redknapp, never you.) But keep your eyes peeled for at least one far-too-high profile signing in January who we’ll play just in front of our back-7, who will of course lead us to European glory over the next 2 seasons. A little optimism can’t hurt, right?