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Club News

Baggie Shorts: 26.02.15

26 February 2015

Southampton, awaits...

WELCOME to this week's Baggie Shorts.

This week we smash some clocks, stick our shortest fella in goal, recall a time when 'punishment' substitutions were all the rage and ask whether we ought to have stopped that bearded bloke for his autograph.

Oh, and something isn't quite right with our goalposts.


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"EC Was Here" was the name of Eric Clapton’s 1975 live album, but a year or so ago, it was a case of "Was EC There?" when Albion visited Southampton for Pepe Mel’s introduction to the English game. 
 
In the car park afterwards, we swapped stories of our favourite Tapas recipes in order to get acclimatised to the Mel regime – we needn’t have bothered - and, as we waited to get away from the ground, a swarthy chap with a beard appeared in the distance.
 
"Isn’t that Eric Clapton?" said Dave Bowler, Albion News writer.
 
"No, don’t be daft, he wouldn’t come to our games now," responded Tony Brown, Albion News columnist. He scored a few goals in his time too, but we’ll let that pass.
 
Certain that the man to whom Clapton once gave a gold record must be right about such things, we drove off. Imagine our surprise when we picked up the papers on the Monday to see Slowhand himself pictured in the Southampton crowd…


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What's the time at Southampton? They'll never know.

This Saturday's game marks our Foundation Day, which sees Brendon Batson, Blind Dave Heeley and Paralympian Darren Harris complete their Tri-Albion challenge - cycling from Southampton to The Hawthorns.

Joining the trio on their journey is our broadcast guru Ian Skidmore, who clearly falls into the "you can't take him anywhere" camp.

The Saints kindly hosted the cyclists ahead of their rider to enable the safety officer to do a short presentation.

Ian, who was filming at this point, somehow managed to knock a Southampton crest clock straight off the wall during this process.

It smashed in half.


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The south coast was the scene of the great Ifeanyi Udeze sadness. 
 
Back in 2003, as we looked to stave off relegation in our first ever Premier League campaign, Udeze was our great January signing, the man who was going to save us. Sadly, Iffy by name, iffy by nature. 
 
We should have taken the hint when, at the press conference organised to unveil him, so nervous was he that the sweat was pouring out of him – for a Nigerian in England in January, this was not a good sign.
 
Nonetheless, the left-back was starting to find his feet here in England and there he was in the starting XI down on the south coast. Eight minutes in and Telfer looked to have run the ball out of play.
 
As his manager stooped to pick up the ball that he also thought was going out, Iffy stopped playing, only for Telfer to keep the ball in. He played it infield to Beattie who hit a 25 yard swerver that flew past Russell Hoult and in. It was that kind of season.
 
You will not be surprised to learn that Iffy lasted a mere 17 further minutes before getting the punishment hook, replaced by Neil Clement. Rumours that he was then required to walk home from Southampton are as yet unsubstantiated.
 

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Southampton's current home is light years away from the old bear-pit that was The Dell, one of the great grounds of old England. 
 
Albion had a pretty lousy record there, the shining exception coming in 1968 for a fourth round FA Cup replay. After 10 minutes we were a goal down, John Osborne injured in the aftermath and watching the game through a fog thereafter. Yet by the break, we were 2-1 up as 'Ossie' was helped back to the dressing room.
 
He couldn’t continue so using perfect footballing logic, we replaced him with one of the big lads like Kaye, Talbut or Astle didn’t we? Not exactly, no.
 
"When Ossie couldn’t carry on, I had to go in goal," recalls Graham Williams. 

"I had to wear his shirt. He’s 6 feet 2, I’m 5 feet 5. The sleeves were too long, I had to tie them up. The gloves were too big. I was in goal at the end where all the dockers were, they were throwing stones and fag ends, hitting me in the back of the head. They had Ron Davies up front, he started laughing when he saw me in goal."

He wasn’t laughing at the finish. 3-2 to the Albion.


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Meanwhile, who pinched our nets?




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Anyway, that's us done for another week. Enjoy the game and look out for updates about our Foundation's Tri-Albion challenge.

And, finally, look out for our Albion News sellers this weekend - they'll be visiting the Vine, the Sportman, Dartmouth Cricket Club and the new Supporters Club venue. You know it makes sense.

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