Star of 93 tells all
NAME: Ian Hamilton
Time at Albion: 1992-1998
I'd just missed out on the Play Offs with Scunthorpe after scoring about a dozen goals that season. I'd heard Ossie Ardiles and Keith Burkinshaw were keen, which was a big thing for me - I used to watch Ossie play for Keith's Tottenham side a few years earlier. I came down for talks and even then, when the stadium needed a fair bit of work, I was impressed by the size of the place.
I'm going with the second leg of the play offs against Swansea. We'd lost down there but clawed it back. But it wasn't just the fact I'd scored - people still say to this day the whole stadium atmosphere was the best they'd heard. I'd say Wembley was just as special but that kind of passed me by a bit because of the occasion. So I'll stick with Swansea.
Least favourite match:
Oh boy, there are two stinkers that stick out. About 1995 we played Huddersfield away. We were getting hammered, about four nil down I think, and I scored an absolute cracker - like Darren Bradley's against Wolves - but couldn't dare celebrate because of the score (it ended 4-1). The other game was in the promotion year - Plymouth at home on Easter Monday. We lost 5-2 at a time where we couldn't stop winning. It was a strange game.
Team-mate you'd most like to go for a drink with:
Let's start at the back...Stuart Naylor, Daryl Burgess, Darren Bradley.... any one from that 1992/93 team really. We had a close knit team.
Who did you share a room with - any annoying habits?
It was mainly Kevin Donovan. He used to be in bed asleep by 9pm, snoring his head off. Bless him. Apart from that he was fine, even though he was very much a kid from a small town (Halifax) trying to settle into life in the West Midlands. The only time I shared with others was when Alan Buckley came in and said he wanted to mix our room mates up from game to game.
A funny thing happened when...?
Steve Lilwall had these massive, trendy trainers - he loved them. They were about two or three sizes too big. Anyway the one day, while Steve and the rest of us were training, a few of the injured lads were bored, so they took Steve's trainers and nailed them to some wood. Keith Burkinshaw was totally fooled by Steve's fake anger and came bursting into the dressing room: 'How could you...they were Steve's best shoes'. Steve was crying with laughter. We ended up having a whip round and gave him £30 to get a new pair.
The strangest team-talk you've heard:
It was around the time we couldn't buy a win under Alan Buckley. Anyway, we came into the dressing room before the game and there was no sign of the gaffer but he had pinned up the team sheet. (Assistant boss) Arthur Mann came in and told us to get ready...yet no sign of the gaffer. It came to around kick off time and he still hadn't turned up. So we go out and got a draw ... the gaffer had been sat in the dug out throughout. We didn't see him after the game either. No idea what that was about. Whatever it was seemed to do the trick though.
Football now, what would you change?
Like Garry Thompson said last week, I'd stop the grappling at corners. I hate diving too. And to encourage attacking football I'd look into awarding more points for more goals scored, especially for away games.
Three words to describe your Albion experience: Swansea, Wembley, mates.