It’s early Sunday morning. May 4th, 2008. This is not your average sleepy Sunday morning.
Officially, just under 3,000 excited Baggies have been awake for hours, eagerly anticipating their trip to the capital where Tony Mowbray’s men can wrap up the Sky Bet Championship title at Queens Park Rangers.
Unofficially, hundreds more, perhaps thousands, are also venturing down to London without match tickets just to soak up the celebratory atmosphere in the sun – desperate to be a part of a day which would cap off an exceptional campaign.
There was still an important job to do on the pitch. Promotion in the bag, yes. League title, no. Not quite.
The Baggies just had to match Stoke City’s result. The Potters, yet to seal promotion, needed just a point at home to relegation-threatened Leicester City to book their spot in the Premier League for the first time.
After a goalless first 45 minutes at Loftus Road, Albion finally broke through the Rangers back four. Kim Do-Heon nodding in from close range on 53 minutes – the South Korean picking the perfect moment to score his first goal in English football.
Advantage Albion. One more goal would surely settle it.
Fast forward to the 77th minute. The Baggies are awarded a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area, right of centre. Perfect for the left foot of you know who.
Up steps the man who had become a father for the first time just days earlier. Chris Brunt. He hits a pearler which nestles in the top corner to send the travelling fans wild behind the goal.
Tony Mowbray’s men had done it. 23 league wins. 88 league goals. 81 points. Promotion to the Premier League and the Sky Bet Championship trophy as the cherry on top. Lovely.