First instalment of new feature
WELCOME to My Albion, a new weekly feature on wba.co.uk which is dedicated to weird, wonderful and fascinating Baggies tales from the club’s supporters scattered across the globe.
From Sandwell to South Africa, Dudley to Denmark, Rowley Regis to Russia, Halesowen to Hong Kong – wherever you may be, this, is your Albion.
Kicking things off is 53-year-old Andy Caulton who has lived in New Hampshire, USA, for the past 15 years having been born in Burton-on-Trent.
You can find Andy’s Albion story below.
Can you relate to his experiences?
Andy, how long have you followed the Baggies for?
I’ve supported Albion for 47 years. I have been living in the beautiful New Hampshire for the past 15 years but I was born in Burton-on-Trent.
Why are you an Albion fan? Do you have family that supported us and you have followed on, or is there special story that you wish to tell us?
Well your brother is someone you should look up to. He was a Baggies fan, recalling 1968 and the legend of Jeff Astle.
Can you remember the last time you were at The Hawthorns? Who was the game against and what was the score? Do you remember anything specifically about the day?
I fly back every year to see a game although I’ve only seen 3 goals in the last four years, but we are undefeated in those visits. I came back for the Liverpool game last season and it was very special as my wife and two daughters came for their first experience of English football. They loved it and are smitten now. We always take back some pork scratchings for my American relatives! This season, I'm flying out for the West Ham game.
Who is your favourite all-time Albion player and why?
I have a real soft spot for Len Cantello, a hugely underrated player, and I also loved Cyrille. But above all, Laurie Cunningham stands out. You'd pay just to watch Laurie warm up, his range of skills and expression were gobsmacking - on these mudbaths, the man just glided. Full backs hacked at his shins and you'd hear the racial abuse, very, very clearly. But this incredibly gifted player just illuminated the field, and beat the racist morons with grace and class. We'll never have another Laurie. I mean, no other player has come close to attempting corners with the outside of his boot!
You live over 3,000 miles away from The Hawthorns, so how do you follow our matches?
The coverage in the US is just incredible. Every game is live and with the five hour time difference it makes for brilliant 10am viewing. If we are the early kick off it's Baggies and Bagles at 7.30am. My class of kids all know I'm a Baggies fan as I wear a few different match shirts to teach in, and I've got a Justice for Jeff poster hanging on the wall at school. Every game last season in the 9th minute wherever I was watching Albion, I'd clap for Jeff.
Are you the only Baggies fan where you live or are there others?
There are a few localised groups in America but apart from me and my kids, we are the only West Brom fans in New Hampshire to my knowledge. I do spread the word though, and for the past four years I have been the 'voice' of West Brom on US radio. It seemed like no-one ever spoke about the Baggies so I decided to step up and give us some profile. I contribute to several shows, hopefully giving an honest perspective, as a fan. I get amazing feedback from this.
Do you have any interesting stories from your time as an Albion fan?
New Hampshire has the world's most frequently climbed mountain, Mt. Monadnock. It's a tough climb, particularly with a kiddie in a back-pack the whole way. My family was over the UK - all Baggies fans – and the intention on reaching the summit was to put on our Baggies shirts and sing The Lord's my Shepherd. We sang it with gusto and so meaningfully that, coincidentally, a Bible Group who had climbed on the same day came over to compliment us and talk to us about the scriptures!
Have you ever met a Baggies player? If so, who and when was it and what were they like?
Although I've not met Darren Fletcher, I worked with the club to get Darren to do a US national radio interview during this year's pre-season tour. Darren was absolute class and he delivered a truly brilliant interview giving detailed answers. Darren was the personification of a leader and his 20-minute interview was brilliantly received. The feedback towards Albion from this interview was fantastic.
And finally Andy, what does West Bromwich Albion Football Club mean to you?
I will be buried wearing the shirt. Maybe Laurie’s.
That's all for this week, see you next time for more Albion stories from all four corners of the globe!