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'Bomber' surprises champion trainer

PUBLISHED

07:00 15th January 2014

Albion legend honours fighter Robert at St Mary's

ALBION legend and Free Radio pundit Tony ‘Bomber’ Brown took time out of his busy matchday schedule at Southampton on Saturday to make a surprise presentation to lifelong Baggies fan Robert Alner.

Dorset-based, former racehorse trainer Robert, now 70, prepared Cool Dawn to win the 1998 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

But his greatest achievement is to be alive more than six years after a car accident left him facing months in intensive care.

He has been left  paralysed from the chest down, confined to a wheelchair, unable to use his hands, is looked after by two full-time carers, fed intravenously and speaks with the aid of a plastic voicebox.

But at St Mary’s Stadium at the weekend he was supporting his beloved Baggies and before kick-off was presented with a signed shirt by ‘Bomber’, who was a club-mate of Robert’s inspiration as a youngster – Albion striker 
Derek Kevan.

“All the boys at school supported Manchester United and I didn’t want to be like everyone else,” he said.

“Derek was my hero.

“He was a bit short on the finer points of skill, but very strong and brave.

“Although I wasn’t very good at football, I tried to model myself on him.”

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