A look behind the scenes
GOOD afternoon Albion folks. Happy Friday to you all.
What better way to look forward to a long-haul trip to Sunderland than with your latest edition of Baggie Shorts.
Look out next week for the build up to the annual Albion Foundation game and some terrific video content.
Our audio-video monkey Ian Skidmore has been not only filming some of the lads doing the fabled crossbar challenge – blindfolded – but preparing a mini-doc on the life of Josh Slaney, who doesn’t let the Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy from which he suffers stop him enjoying his football with the Foundation’s teams.
It will all be part of the build-up to next Saturday’s Southampton home game which will spotlight the Foundation’s Tri-Challenge, all in aid of raising money and awareness of those folk who need that little bit of help.
We urge you to watch Ian’s mini-doc to get a flavour of how our Foundation staff change so many lives as well as getting to know a little better the spirited and inspirational Josh who values particularly his relationship with Paul Hunt, the Foundation's Power Chair Football & Disability Sports Co-ordinator.
As this exchange perhaps illustrates.
Josh: "Paul is an inspiration, he has a family, a job, and drives a car - not a very good car - a Citroen, crap car. But seriously, he's an example of what disabled people can do with their lives."
Ian: "And what do you want to do with your life?"
Josh: "Well I don't want to drive a Citroen for a start."
(Ps: How did the crossbar challenge go? Who took it on? You won’t be disappointed….)
In other news, lead professional development coach Aaron Danks might want to watch his back after posting this photo of Darren Moore on Twitter as the U18s travelled back from Brighton recently.
It takes a brave man to point a camera at the Great Man when he's getting 40 winks.
Elsewhere, in honour of the arrival of our new goalkeeping coach, a Baggie Shorts with a difference this week, featuring a long, elaborate story about his dad, BG.
Robert Anthony Gould had been at the Albion as a player of course, enjoying a comparatively prolific 15 months in the early 1970s after he had been signed by Don Howe to partner Jeff Astle. That said, as an erstwhile worshipper from the dark side of Staffordshire, from where we signed him for £66,666, Bobby was always going to struggle to gain acceptance and before long, he was away to the west country and a spell with Bristol City.
He returned to The Hawthorns with the Throstles approaching our lowest ebb, having just suffered the ignominy of a home thrashing from Woking in the FA Cup. From there, Brian Talbot was sacked, briefly replaced by Stuart Pearson before Bobby arrived but was unable to save us from the relegation that had long seemed inevitable.
The following season was full of its controversies, which we’ll not linger on now for many of the stories are already the stuff of legend. But one lesser known tale pretty much sums up a season of misadventure where however hard we tried, nothing would go right. The identity of the teller must remain a state secret, but it was told as the Gospel truth...
It took place in early season at Bolton’s old Burnden Park ground. Gould had put a premium on set pieces in training, so much so that Albion had a dozen different routines, all numbered. Prior to the game, the manager had berated the players for using the wrong option at the wrong time. "At Bolton, when we get a corner, I’ll tell you which number we’re going to use."
The Throstles won a corner over on the far side from the dugouts, and Tony Ford went to take it. "Hang on, which one does the gaffer want us to use?" went the cry. Unfortunately, there was something of a slope at Bolton, so much so that Ford couldn’t see the manager, frantically waving his fingers in the air. So Ford stopped, and started to walk across the field to get a better view of his boss.
He was intercepted by the referee, who give him the shortest of shrift for wasting time, telling him to go and get on with it. In the meantime however, there’d been a brainwave on the Albion bench. These were the days before fourth officials, when each club had numbered boards to indicate substitutions. So, to get the point across to Ford, the number three was held up.
At which, Graham Harbey looked disgustedly at the bench and started to troop off the field, thinking he was about to be substituted. Harbey got near the halfway line without any of the Albion hierarchy having seen this, because they were all gesticulating wildly towards Ford, waving the number three in the air. Harbey arrived at the halfway line without a substitute in sight, only to be greeted with, "What the hell are you doing here? Get back out there!" Only phrased rather more industrially.
The referee was by now going purple at this perceived time wasting. He ordered everyone on the Albion bench to sit down and roared at Tony Ford to get on with the game. Finally two minutes of mayhem later, the wrong corner was taken.
Bolton Wanderers 3 West Bromwich Albion 0. It was going to be a long year…
Our inaugural, and occasional, 'Social Media posting of the week' award goes to this effort. What more can we add...?
Tomorrow we travel north to Sunderland and our programme editor Dave Bowler has been charged with one of the most important tasks of the weekend - ferrying Claudio Yacob's insoles up to the Stadium of Light.
The Baggies media guru will make the mercy dash to the north east after the Argentinian forgot to pack his footwear accessories. If you see Yacob moving uneasily tomorrow, you'll know Dave has left them back home by mistake.
And finally, Brown Ideye has been in big demand since last weekend. Check out this weekend's national newspapers for what should be a terrific insight into our No.9. He's been talking about his upbringing in Nigeria - and the mum who wanted him to stay away from football because she thought it would get him into trouble!
See you soon.