Dobie lit the blue and white touchpaperFor a very shy, quiet and unassuming lad, Scott Dobie is a footballer who looms large in the Albion success story of the 21st century, a story that saw us rise from an apparently perpetual place to take back our place back in the top flight.
Cast your mind back to the 2001/2 season, a season where Coventry had taken Lee Hughes off our hands just as Jason Roberts was breaking his foot in pre-season at Cheltenham.
With only super Bob as a recognised front man, Albion were short on firepower, especially as on loan Danny Dichio quickly fell foul of the injury curse as well.
In the summer of 2001, Albion had brought in a quick, rangy young forward from Carlisle United, Scott Dobie. Dobie had had his share of drama, playing in the game that saved Carlisle’s skin when goalkeeper Jimmy Glass scored in the final minute of the 1998/9 season to save their skin.
Now, having been bought as “one for the future”, the future was suddenly upon us and Dobie was thrust into first team action, helping out Bob Taylor who suffered an early season drought.
Dobie responded by going on a scoring spree that lifted Albion from the lower reaches of the First Division to the fringes of the automatic promotion places, and in with a chance of securing a return to the top flight. Which we did. But without Dobie’s goals that September, Albion’s season would have been in tatters.
Promotion was followed by a call-up to the Scotland team for Dobie, for though he was born in Workington, his Scottish ancestry made him eligible for Berti Vogts’ team.
A tour to the Far East was his first reward and on his international debut against a rampant South Korean side that was ready to make its mark on the 2002 World Cup, Dobie got Scotland’s consolation goal in a 4-1 defeat, then featured in the Reunification Cup games against South Africa and Hong Kong.
The following season, now a fully fledged Premiership performer, he collected a further three caps, two of them in the company of Derek McInnes. But Scott never seemed comfortable within Berti Vogts’ set up and it was perhaps a relief to both parties when the call ups dried up.
Dobie showed himself to be an elegant striker of genuine quality when we played in that first Premiership season and the goals he scored at Bolton and Tottenham in particular will live long in the memory, and he then went on to help secure a second promotion for the club.
His biggest problem at The Hawthorns seemed to be a lack of belief in himself, and he was a player that needed plenty of reassurance and a manager that would occasionally put an arm round him.
He eventually left The Hawthorns, initially for Millwall, which seemed a bizarre fit, especially as Preston were also in for him, a club closer to home. But Dobie’s contribution to where we are today should never be underestimated.