Club News

Lai enjoys first day at Albion

And skipper Fletcher praises Lai's enthusiasm

GUOCHUAN Lai described his first day at Albion as "exceeding all his expectations" after a whirlwind tour of the Club.

The 42-year-old Chinese entrepreneur, who will become Albion's new owner when his deal with former Chairman Jeremy Peace is approved by he Financial Conduct Authority and the Premier League, toured both the training ground and The Hawthorns.

Accompanied by new Chairman John Williams, Guochuan met with captain Darren Fletcher and the players, Academy manager Mark Harrison and all the support staff after dining with Head Coach Tony Pulis and Albion's senior management the previous evening.

After that came a whistle-stop tour of The Hawthorns where he was greeted by a cluster of enthusiastic Albion fans who snared the first Guochuan autographs since news of the agreed change of ownership was revealed on Friday.

Accompanied by business associates and his interpreter, Guochuan said: "I feel this has exceeded all of my expectations.

"I feel as if I have joined a very welcoming family and I am really touched by the warmth of my reception. Everyone has been so friendly and I cannot wait to see my first game."

That will be the opening Hawthorns clash against Everton on August 20 after Albion have tackled Crystal Palace in the season's opener.

Fletcher spent several minutes discussing the change of ownership after which the Baggies skipper added his voice to the welcome.

"I was struck by how enthusiastic he was to meet everyone, all the players and all the staff - he has clearly got a real passion for the role he has taken on," said 'Fletch'.

"I told him that the dressing room was full of a great group of lads who are really tight. 

"We are ambitious too and want to take Albion forward and hopefully together with Mr Lai that is what we will do."