Club News

Clarke family divided over Bridge clash!

Boss also discusses going toe-to-toe with Jose for first time

STEVE Clarke admits it might not be a case of happy families in the Clarke household this weekend if Albion beat his former club Chelsea tomorrow (ko 3pm).

As well as coming up against past mentor Jose Mourinho in the opposition dugout, the Baggies boss expects his two sons – John, aged 24, and Joseph, 21 – to be cheering for the Blues.

However, while the latter is set be among the crowd as a Chelsea season ticket holder, he hopes his daughter Emma, 27, will at least be rooting for the Baggies.

“Jose sent me a text this week asking if I needed any tickets for the game, which was nice!” quipped Clarke senior.

“My lad’s got a season ticket and he’ll be in the Chelsea end!

“I think if I pushed my lads hard enough they’d both say they were Chelsea.

“They were brought up on Chelsea because they were born when I was at Chelsea as a player, and it’s all they knew.

“As young boys, they went to games when I was playing and when I became a coach.

“It’s their club but I think they also like their dad to do well, so maybe it will be a draw at the weekend and they’ll smile for me.

“I don’t know who they’d prefer to win. You’d have to ask them both.

“But I think I’ve managed to keep my daughter onside. She wants Albion to win.”

The Albion chief worked as assistant manager to Mourinho for three seasons at Stamford Bridge, winning two Barclays Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups together.

The duo have stayed in touch since parting company in 2007 but tomorrow will see them go head to head for the first time.

Clarke added: “The friendship is good, although I don’t speak to or text Jose every week.

“When you’ve worked with someone closely, you build a bond and you take that bond through the rest of your life.

“We’re friends but I haven’t seen him for well over five years, so it will be nice to catch up with him face to face as opposed to little text messages.

“But my focus is on preparing my team well for the game.

“I want to go down there and get a positive result for the Albion.

“This weekend, Jose is in the opposition dugout but it doesn’t change our preparation for the game and what I want to get from it.

“I’ve said before - Chelsea has been a big part of my career. I spent a long time there as a player and coach.

“But I have to be selfish. This weekend is about West Bromwich Albion for me.”