Club News

Ben wants to be Baggie for life

Foster hoping his permanent transfer to Albion is last move of his career

BEN Foster may only be 29 – a relatively young age for a keeper – but he is hoping his permanent transfer to Albion is the last move of his career.

Foster enjoyed a near-perfect year at The Hawthorns during his season-long loan from Blues last term.

He walked off with both the Supporters’ and Players’ Player-of-the-Year Awards and also equalled the club’s Barclays Premier League clean-sheet record, keeping ten shut-outs.

Both Foster and the club got their wish a month ago when he joined the Baggies permanently for an undisclosed fee, penning a three-year contract, plus a further two-year option in the club's favour.

And, if he gets his way, he won’t play for another club.

What has made The Hawthorns feel even more of a home from home for Foster is that his family are very much settled in the Midlands.

“This will hopefully be my last move,” he said, speaking at the club’s pre-season training base in Malmo.

“I have no interest in moving south or up north.

“I'm from the area, my wife loves it here and the kids are going to be settling into their schools soon.

“These are things people sometimes don’t see from a player’s point of view – they just see the footballer.

“There is a lot more to us. We have families and it's important they're settled and happy. 

“That's a big thing for me.

“We're now pretty much on the lookout for our final, family home.

“We did have a house in Henley but we've just sold it and have to move out in about a month's time.

“That's a bit of a worry as we have nowhere else at the moment!

“So if our main sponsors  Zooplawant to sort me out, that would be much appreciated as we are struggling to find anywhere!”

Foster reflected on how his Albion move came about.

“It was a win-win situation for all of us really because Albion wanted to sign me, Birmingham were in a position where they had to sell me and I wanted to rejoin Albion and stay in the area,” said the former Manchester United custodian.

“I knew another club had made a bid for me and I read all of the speculation, so it was a case of waiting and hoping it would get done as soon as possible.

“My agent would ring me and ask me what I thought about things but he knew I wasn’t interested in anything else.

“I was just concentrating on getting the Albion deal done.

“The chairman was very good with it and managed to get it sorted.

“Agreeing personal terms and things like that was a doddle.”

Foster is back in full training after missing the first few days of pre-season with a groin problem and could see his first action of the summer in tomorrow’s clash at Danish giants Copenhagen (ko 7pm local time/6pm BST).

He is just beginning his third week under new head coach Steve Clarke and is convinced the club have made the right appointment.

“The new gaffer knows what he needs from his players,” added Foster.

“He tells us what he wants and as long as we’re doing that, he’ll let us get on with it.

“We appreciate the fact he’s got faith in us. We respect that.

“I’d never met him before he joined us so I didn’t know him as a person, but I asked around a few people and they all said positive things about him.

“He’s got a great record with the clubs he’s worked at.

“The managers he’s worked under also speaks volumes for who he is as a person and a coach.

“He’s got a very good record and, from our first few weeks with him, he seems a very level-headed and calm guy, which is great to have around.”

Another big factor in Foster’s move was the chance to continue working with Albion’s goalkeeping coach, Dean Kiely.

“That was massive for me,” said the Hawthorns No.1.

“I’m looking forward to working with him for as long as I’m here because he’s very similar to me.

“He’s laid-back, good fun and we’ve got a very good working relationship.

“Having Boaz Myhill back here is also great. He’s a really funny lad.

“He has brought a lot of high spirits to the goalkeeping department and the team as a whole. Boaz has always got something to say or joke about which is great because, as goalkeepers, we spend so much time together that it’s important you get on.

“He is also my roomy here in Sweden.”