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Bomber: What they had to say

6 November 2014

Special guests pay tribute

BOMBER week comes to a climax with a memorable day at The Hawthorns.

Here's what they had to say:


JOHN GILES (Albion manager 1975-77):
"I played with him and against him. I always had great regard for him when I played for Leeds against Albion. He was a very good player but when I came to play with him I realised he was far better than I thought he was.

"It's only when you play with footballers that you realise how good they are and Tony was a terrific player. If every manager had 20 players like Tony - you'd have no problems. 

"He was a dream player and a dream for a manager. He came in, did his stuff on the pitch. His work around the middle of the field was as important as his goals. That's what separated him from players who scored a lot of goals and those who didn't."



JOHN MOTSON (who commentated on Albion's 1976 promotion-clinching win at Oldham):
"We had that side in the late 1970s. You always thought you'd get a 100 per cent performance and that's generally what we got. 

"And when it came to shots - whether it was inside, outside the box or on the angle - he scored some belters."



CYRILLE REGIS (1977-84):
"Holding the ball up as a striker was fundamental for Bomber scoring. I learned a lot from him and one of the best things was his professionalism. 

"He never gave us a rollicking but look at his love and passion for the game. As a football agent now I would love to get Bomber and show them the consummate professional and always showed great humility.

"He was a fundamental part of the team spirit. He is up there with the best. And 279 goals in 720 games: he is Mr Albion. His passion, desire for the club is there with the best. He is different class. 

"His strengths are his risk taking, reading of situations, having the energy to burst into the box and timing of his runs. The timing was a God-given gift."



RON ATKINSON (Albion manager 1978-81):
"He was the best finisher I ever worked with. He was easy to manage, he was brilliant. He was the consummate pro but he also loved the game. He was enthusiastic, he wanted to train, but he also wanted to play football. 

"The only problem we had is that he hated flying. I always insisted everyone had a glass of Champagne before they got on the plane. That's how he got over his fear of flying. 

"Bomber is West Brom through and through, but he has that Manchester United thing about him. Before we played them in that (5-3) game, he had a vivid red shirt on. I said 'are you coming to play for us, or support them?' He replied: 'Just wait and see...' He scored twice in that game.

"I liken Bomber to Frank Lampard, but Lampard has over 100 caps. Bomber would score as many goals and put in a shift in, as they phrase it now. He could have earned his place in any team just based on his work rate."



GRAHAM WILLIAMS (Albion 1954-71)
"He was never late for training and he always stayed out after training - he was absolutely brilliant. 

"I love him to bits. He and Jeff used to wind us up. The statue is just a few yards away from the Astle Gates and that's right. 

"We would come in early just to listen to their banter. 

"We went to Newcastle United the once after they'd just been promoted. There was a mega crowd, the whole place was up for the game. I was ready to come out after giving this rousing team talk...so I took the ball under my arm, marched out onto the pitch and they stayed behind in the dressing room just to wind up.

"These people who never saw Bomber play: you missed out."

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