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
“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.”