Baggies tales from Romania this week
WELCOME back to My Albion, the feature dedicated to our fans here on wba.co.uk.
For the past five weeks we have been travelling around the world to unearth stories from the club’s supporters, hearing all about their experiences of following the Baggies.
In the early weeks, we checked into the USA, Norway, Italy, and Australia, while a much shorter trip to Great Barr was served up last Wednesday.
For the sixth edition of the feature, we are heading out to Eastern Europe to meet one young man who started supporting Albion shortly after the signature of a charismatic centre-back was secured.
Robert Rus, thanks for taking part in the My Albion series. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thank you for having me. I am 24-years-old and I currently live in Cluj-Napoca which is the 2nd biggest city in Romania, after the capital Bucharest. I work in the travel industry as an online groups executive and I also play in the Romanian fifth division for a team called AMEFA Cluj-Napoca.
What made you become an Albion fan and how long have you supported the club for?
I started liking Albion after The Great Escape in 2005. I used to play as Albion quite a lot on the FIFA career mode because I loved the green and yellow away kit. I always used to think that West Bromwich Albion was the coolest name for a team in the Premier League. I would say that I only truly became a fan when Gabriel Tamas joined. After he joined, that’s when I started to follow the results closely.
Have you ever been to The Hawthorns?
Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to visit England or The Hawthorns yet. Coming across and watching a Baggies game at The Hawthorns is at the top of my bucket list. I’d love to meet some of the players too.
Do you have an all-time favourite Albion player? Would Cosmin Contra or Gabby Tamas come close as fellow Romanians?
I don’t have an all-time favourite, but there are certain players who left me a pleasant memory during their time at Albion. I think that Romelu Lukaku is the best striker the club have had since I have been following them. I also liked Youssouf Mulumbu for his formidable determination and Diomansy Kamara who had plenty of class and technique. Then of course there is Gabby Tamas who in my opinion, played some of the best football of his career in his first couple of seasons at Albion. From the current squad, I’d say that Stephane Sessegnon is one of the most underrated midfielders in the Premier League, Salomon Rondon will prove to be a top striker and James Morrison is capable of producing amazing goals from out of nowhere.
How do you follow our matches from Romania?
If the match is televised on Eurosport I will always watch the games on television, if not I just watch them online. I try to watch every Albion match and if for whatever reason I miss a match, I’ll always catch up on the highlights.
What has been your favourite goal that we have scored during your time supporting the club?
Definitely the one scored by Morgan Amalfitano in the 2-1 win at Old Trafford a couple of years ago. Not only was it a great solo effort, it was scored against one of the best teams in Premier League history at the biggest Premier League stadium.
Do many people know about West Bromwich Albion in Romania?
I think that most Romanian football fans would have heard of West Bromwich Albion. The Premier League is probably the most followed foreign league in Romania. Football is the most popular sport in my country and thanks to the sports betting industry, more and more people have increased their football knowledge. People here now know about clubs from all over the world. Teams such as Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina and Lecce in Italy would sound familiar to Romanian football fans.
Finally Robert, what does West Bromwich Albion mean to you?
To be totally honest, it makes me feel a bit special being an Albion fan. Out of my friends and colleagues, I am the only one who supports the Baggies. Liverpool has by far the biggest fan base in Romania, closely followed by Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, but I am yet to meet another Albion fan. In that sense, it makes me feel unique. Even though Albion isn’t one of the top teams in England, it makes me proud to be a supporter of such a wonderful club and every time we win a game it brings me great joy. As long as I watch football I will be an Albion fan. One of my greatest wishes is that someday we will be in the privileged position Leicester City are today.