23-year-old fan tells us his Albion story
ANOTHER Wednesday, another fascinating Albion story from one of our supporters to present to you.
We have been travelling to world to find out about the experiences our fans have had throughout the years of following the club.
We’ve clocked up over 20,000 air miles so far, but this week we are much closer to home.
Charlie Bennett, a 23-year-old Sales Executive from Sutton Coldfield is next up…
Charlie, thanks for taking part. How long have you supported the club for and how did you become an Albion fan?
When I was three I went to nursery in New Oscott which is a Villa dominated area. I saw all the other kids in these purple football shirts with a lion on the badge. I went home and asked my dad if I could have one and his answer was simple. “Son, I can get you one, but you won’t be able to live with mommy and daddy anymore”. Soon after that I had a navy blue and white shirt and that was that. Not to mention my dad, grandad and great grandad were all Albion fans so that probably helped too.
What’s the best thing about being an Albion fan?
Probably the atmospheres you get, especially against the local teams and the big clubs. I have had some great days in the Smethwick end over the years and also some cracking away days too.
Is there a particular game that sticks out for you?
There has been a few to be fair. Beating Manchester United at Old Trafford was pretty special especially as my flat mate was a huge United fan. Then there was the win at Anfield when McAuley and Lukaku scored having had our backs to the wall for 90 minutes. The promotion games were brilliant too. But the best one for me has to be when we beat Villa 2-1 at home with ten men. Mulumbu scored late on and I went ballistic. The win ended many years of suffering against them lot.
Speaking of rivalries, you live in Sutton Coldfield and you have plenty of mates who support Villa. How nice has this season been for you after taking four points off them?
I have grown up surrounded by Villa fans. The win at Villa Park was a great performance but sadly the home game was disappointing. I think their fans needed the reality check of going down. Saying that, I am sure they will be back in the future.
Have you got a favourite away day memory?
Away at Bolton a couple of seasons ago. It was one of the last games of the season. The atmosphere was incredible. After his winner against Villa and performances throughout that season, my dad, my brother and I all dressed up as Paul Scharner for the day. We had the thick frame glasses, the blue hair and even an Austrian flag. He waved us down from the stand during the warm up and gave us his signed shirt which was a great touch. We came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 after scoring twice in the last ten minutes which made the day even better.
Who is the most skilful player you have seen at The Hawthorns?
It’s hard to define skill in football I always think, especially as a former centre-back myself. I used to love watching Graham Dorrans. That year in the Championship he was incredible and made everyone else look like amateurs. Odemwingie showed some great skill in places too. It’s hard to say really but those two would be up there.
We released our new home kit on Tuesday. In your opinion, what has been our best kit?
Well I love the yellow and green away kit. I’ve got to say though, the new 2016/17 home kit is smart. I love the Adidas kits. Stripes on stripes looks very good.
Do you have any interesting stories from your time supporting the club?
I’ve made it my mission to convert a few neutrals over the years. A lad who I used to work with was over from Australia. He was planning to go to Villa Park but I soon put a stop to that and took him to the Albion Wolves game, which was his first ever football match. We won 2-0 and he still messages me now all the way from Australia, commenting on our results and performances having stayed up until the middle of the night to watch the games.
And finally Charlie, what does West Bromwich Albion mean to you?
I think following your team closely becomes a constant in your life. You can’t get away from it. Whatever happens it is always there come rain or shine and as Albion fans know, we get both ends of the scale quite regularly.