A Who's Who guide to the club's new fans' group
TODAY we can at last reveal the Baggies fans who will make up our first Albion Assembly.
It’s been a long process because of the scale of interest in the project.
But after carefully sifting through nearly 250 applications, we have selected a 33-strong group of supporters from across the spectrum who will constitute our new advisory group.
Their mission? To provide an effective and established link between supporters and the club which can help both avoid problems which have tripped us up in recent seasons.
Since inviting fans to apply to join The Assembly, the response has been fantastic. An awful lot of effort went into an awful lot of applications which is why it has taken so long to get a final selection sorted.
We wanted to ensure that due diligence was accorded each entry enabling us to recruit as broad a spread of Baggies fans as possible. I think we have done that.
And now we can get down to business. Quarterly meetings are planned when we can bring to a disciplined agenda all the issues that are important to our fans – from what’s bugging them to what’s pleasing them.
These meetings will be recorded by the media team and made available on the club’s website as quickly as possible. The Assembly will be a place for responsible debate and a progressive exchange of views. Robust critiques will be welcome; a slanging match will not. Most importantly, The Assembly will hopefully help the club plug into the main-frame of fans’ thinking and react accordingly.
I have today e-mailed all of the chosen members inviting them to an inaugural meeting early next month. After that, The Assembly should be up and running and ready for business before February is out.
Judging by the devotion so obvious in the applications from so many others, this means there will be about 200 disappointed fans out there who have not been selected.
Please do not take that as a final rejection. Quite the contrary. All of those entries are being retained in the belief that The Assembly’s cast-list will be refreshed at intervals when we shall be able invite new members into the group.
But a huge and genuine ‘thank you’ to all who took the time and trouble to get in touch. The fans chosen to represent you are:
"...The fans of any football club need to be recognised. We are the mainstay, we will be here supporting the team when managers, players and members of the Board have moved on..."
"...A long-standing fan and supporter of the club financially...I am a rare breed - not just an Albion fan in Cannock, but also a lawyer who doesn't like the sound of his own voice..."
"...I would really like to represent female and parents' views. The club should always focus on the next generation of fans and I do feel that there could be much more done to entice and encourage families to the games..."
"...The Assembly sounds like a fantastic idea and a step in the right directon..."
"...My grandfather was Fred Everiss, former secretary/manager of WBA, his successor as Secretary was my great-uncle Eph Smith and his successor was Alan Everiss, my uncle...I was secretary of the Albion Shareholders Association for two years...two years as the Supporters Club Secretary and later Chairman..."
"...I have a wealth of ideas about how The Assembly might be able to canvas a larger group of fans....as well as some thoughts on how to foster an effective two-way dialogue..."
"...I hold the role of Vice President of The Midland Junior Premier League ...my role is to promote football at grass root level, the MJPL is a development league that covers a large area of the Midlands and beyond..."
"...After last season’s dramas, ups and downs, it would be nice to see the fans coming together again to achieve something positive..."
"...I fully support the initiative and believe it can form an essential link between the club and fans - enabling two way communication of ideas and developments. There has clearly been a period where fans have felt at arm’s length and this offers a great way to begin to bridge that gap..."
"...What would I bring? Ability to communicate with people at many different levels and backgrounds...a realistic and balanced approach to the demands of running the WBA 'business’..."
"...I love this club more than anything else in the world...the chance to help give the fans a voice and be part of the club is too good to turn down...I am confident I can pinpoint the mood amongst Albion fans..."
"...What I feel I can bring is knowing the current generation well...seeing where and what the new crop of fans are saying and thinking about our club..."
"....I pride myself in not allowing passion to rule my head in terms of jumping to conclusions or expecting too much from our club....I am keen to contribute to the continued growth and development of our club..."
"...While I don't claim to be the voice of Albion fans, my position as editor of WBA-MAD.co.uk provides me insight into fans' thinking..."
"...I feel I could benefit the group through offering insight as precisely the kind of fan the club needs to win back..."
"...The lack of Asian community's presence inside the stadium on matchday...there are far too many white faces given the areas' demographic..."
"...I'd describe myself as a supporter who errs on the side of patience and rationality - often under-represented traits in the vagarious fields of social media...this doesn't mean I'm short of constructive opinion where the Albion are concerned..."
"...I wanted to get involved to help the fans...I feel that I could make sure the dialogue between the club and the fans was productive, that issues were explored and dealt with..."
"...I would provide level headed opinion, combined with a long-standing passion for the club. I understand the change is difficult and takes time, but also know that this great club can continue to achieve..."
"...My uncle Jack used to work for WBA in the 1970s....and helped to settle Cyrille Regis into the Black Country finding him digs..."
"...I feel I'm someone who's very comfortable communicating and working with people of all ages and backgrounds...I particularly enjoy engaging in Albion-related discussions..."
"...I feel I can promote the club to the Asian community..."
"...I am passionate about the club despite some of the misgivings I had this summer and only want to see it the best that it can be, so I can be constructive as well as critical. It would be amazing to be a part of building and strengthening the club's connection with the fans..."
"....I'm normal, an average fan...I am Mr Average. Average pay, average mortgage and average family...there are a lot of 'Averagers' and maybe I can speak for them..."
"...From day one in the working world I have worked hard to better myself and to always look to improve the way we work as an organisation to ensure we offer our customers with the best possible service...I feel my experiences in the business world will have a positive impact on The Albion Assembly, I have a determination to play a part in supporting the aim of making our club even better than it already is..."
"...I would like to think I am pretty level headed and balanced in my views. I am not the type of person who rings up a radio station with the 'Where’s the money gone?' type of line. I think this is potentially an excellent idea and one that will go towards repairing some of the disconnect between the club and fans..."
"..I applaud your efforts in trying to establish a link between 'ordinary' fans and the club..."
"...The game, the money and the way we follow the club have really changed since I first sat at the front with my legs tucked being the hoardings, but the last few season there have been some funny decisions by the club...I'm not afraid to say what I think and I'm told I have a good sense of what others are feeling ’I’m a good barometer for public opinion’..."
"...As a novice fan information is key. But in a way we can understand, interpret and spark more and more passion and interest. And most importantly presented to us all to not make us feel like the apprentice of the football fan world..."
Surinder (Shin) Aujla
"...One of the things ive been looking into is setting up a group known as Apna Albion. Our close friends from over the Black Country divide have a successful band of followers known as Punjabi Wolves that contribute to fans forums...and have strong links with their club directly including matchday sponsorship. Apna Albion translates to 'Our' Albion..."
"...I think the idea of an Assembly is really important, I've had enough of the politics and rumours that surround our club...the cloak and dagger communication tactics of last season are not what the fans deserve...."
"...The opportunity to take part in this scheme is very important to me... In my professional life, I work closely with people and feel I am an effective communicator. I can take a problem and work collaboratively to find a solution...."
"...What might I offer as an Assembly member? I’m a passionate, long-standing supporter, with knowledge and experience of running multi-million pound turnover businesses. I would like to think that together with other like-minded folk, we could make a significant and valuable contribution to our club’s future....Ours is a great club, with a proud history, fine traditions, great, loyal and passionate fans. It is well run by a Chairman, who is a fan too. Let’s hope we can all look forward to a bright future supporting our beloved club..."
These numbers will be supplemented by members of the ad hoc committee who have been involved in The Assembly project from the outset.
Martin Swain, Director of Communications.