Magic Magyar reflects on his time at The Hawthorns and hopes to continue playing
ZOLTAN Gera has thanked Albion fans for their support during his time at the club and insists: “I enjoyed every minute.”
The 35-year-old midfielder has not been offered a new contract at The Hawthorns, bringing an end to his time with the Baggies over two memorable spells.
Gera is a true fans’ favourite having racked up a total of 141 starts and a further 50 substitute appearances, scoring 29 goals.
The Hungarian first arrived from his native Ferencvaros in 2004 and enjoyed four years with the club – contributing to the ‘Great Escape’ in his debut season, reaching Wembley twice in the 2007 play-off final and 2008 FA Cup semi-final as well as earning a Championship winners’ medal in the same campaign.
He rejoined in 2011 and has spent another three years in the Black Country, helping to ensure Albion will be playing Barclays Premier League football once again in 2014/15.
“I enjoyed every minute I’ve spent here,” Gera said.
“I was so happy to spend seven years at the club.
“That is more time than I spent at any other club.
“West Bromwich Albion is a special place for me and I would like to thank the club, the chairman, staff and everyone around the club because they were so nice.
“The supporters were great to me from my first game until my last game and I would like thank them very much.
“Over my ten years in the Premier League the club has improved a lot and is getting better.
“They are a stable Premier League team and it’s great to see the club going forward.
“If the club goes forward in the next ten years as much as it has in the last ten years it will be great.
“I wish the club all the best for the future."
And the 35-year-old ace is intent on continuing his playing career, in England if possible.
“The injuries proved frustrating in the end but I would like to carry on playing," he added.
“I still feel I can play – and that’s the most important thing.
“My daughter is in school in England so I would like to continue playing in this country if possible.”
Gera has brought plenty of smiles to the faces of Albion fans throughout his time in B71, with his customary acrobatic celebration certain to live long in the memory.
His goal in the 3-0 win over Liverpool at the start of the 2012/13 campaign was another spectacular strike to add to his collection - and scooped him the club's Goal-of-the-Season award.
He played his final match for Albion as a late substitute in their 1-0 victory over Norwich at Carrow Road at the start of April and his only regret is that injuries hampered his second spell at The Hawthorns.
“I have a lot of special games and it’s hard to pick one,” he added.
“My favourite goal was the one against Liverpool.
“It was special for me because I came back after a long injury and it was the first game of the season for a new head coach – and it was a nice goal.
“When I was travelling back by plane to Hungary over the weekend I met a few Albion supporters travelling to Budapest at the airport and they told me it was a special moment for them as well.
“I have lots of good memories.
“The first season was so special because it was my first season in England and we stayed up with the ‘Great Escape’.
“Winning the league and getting promoted back to the Premier League was a special moment as well.
“This season wasn’t the greatest because there were lots of problems – but I think staying up was a big achievement.
“I think it’s exciting times now for the fans and the club.”