Defender reflects on his Baggies years
STEVEN Reid has spoken of his pride at being part of ‘an incredible journey’ which has seen Albion grow and establish themselves in England’s top flight over the last four years.
The 33-year-old right-back has not been offered a new contract at The Hawthorns with his current deal set to expire this summer.
Reid initially joined the Baggies on loan from Blackburn towards the end of the 2009/10 Championship promotion-winning campaign, penning a permanent move that summer.
It was Albion’s fourth promotion to the top tier, coupled with three relegations, in the space of a mere nine seasons.
But as the Black Country club now prepare for their fifth successive campaign among England’s elite in 2014/15 - a feat last achieved in the early 1980s - Reid is under no illusions about the size of the achievement.
“The promotion was obviously a highlight but I wouldn’t say it was a massive highlight because I came in on the back end of what the club and team had already done,” he said.
“I was lucky enough to help the team cross the line but I can’t really take any credit because I only played the last 10 games.
“Just to stay in the Premier League has been the highlight.
“For the first couple of years, obviously the club previously had the tag of being a yo-yo club - up and down and never surviving in the Premier League.
“So just to be a part of the whole four years. Aside from last season, being part of a side which has been in the middle of the table.
“It was disappointing last season but we’ve become a solid Premier League outfit. To see the club grow over the last four years has been an incredible journey.”
Reid continued: “I’ve been lucky enough to play for some great clubs throughout my career. It’s not been littered with silverware or cup finals – I did win the league with Millwall - but I’ve seen success finishing sixth with Blackburn, finishing eighth at West Brom and staying in the Premier League.
“Especially those first couple of years, I think we’ve obviously come to expect that we will do that now.
“It’s a shame last season was so disappointing but I think you’ve just got to see each season we stay in the Premier League as a success because for a club our size to do that, it’s a great achievement.”
Having enjoyed a short summer break, Reid is now completing his UEFA A licence coaching course at St George’s Park before weighing up all his options.
He enjoyed long stays at both Millwall and Blackburn before linking up with Albion, for whom he made a total of 87 appearances, including 12 from the bench, scoring four goals.
During his 16-year professional career to date, Reid has never suffered relegation, a proud record which remains intact after Albion finished last season three points above the drop zone.
“That’s what drove me on during the last few months,” he said.
“This was my 11th successive season in the Premier League and to finish on a relegation would have been the blot on my CV that my eyes would have kept being drawn to.
“Although I’ve had a pretty decent career and would have looked at my achievements with pride - that relegation, had it have happened, would have stuck out like a sore thumb.
“Of course, we can’t look back on last season with much happiness or fondness, but there was so much relief that we stayed in the league.”