Tomorrow I have the unusual luxury of getting a train straight from Leamington to the ground, no doubt accompanied by the quite large number of Baggies who live in the Spa.
People have been sharing their memories of various games at The Hawthorns, but one memory I have is of the first game of the 1995-6 season. I went with a friend who was a Baggies season ticket holder, but was sadly to die a few years later.
It was a blazing hot day and the Baggies line up included the legendary Stacey Coldicott ('is that the Stacey Coldicott' called out a wag behind me). Leaburn got an injury at one point leading to shouts of 'dig a hole and leave him there'.
My notes on the game said 'A poor performance by Charlton in the first half, lacking pace and direction. They moved up a gear in the second half and had most of the possession, but West Brom scored [they won 1-0]. Does not bode well for the season [We got to the play offs] .. We still can't make anything out of corners.' [It was ever thus]
My comments on players included:
Humphrey - useless, didn't know where he was or what he was doing.
Rufus - as reliable as ever.
Bowyer - most promising player.
Robson - completely useless.
Leaburn - lumbering about the field.
Nelson - should have been brought on earlier.
Robinson - came on and missed a scoring opportunity.
Despite hints to the contrary, it looks 4-5-1 tomorrow. I'm assuming that Semedo will be at left back and Mou2 at right back, Bougherra with Sodje in the centre. The uncertainty in midfield depends on whether the enigmatic Thomas will have revived his dead leg. I would expect Ambrose, Holland, Varney and Zhi to feature.
Given that I don't buy into the 'Watford have already booked their place in the Premiership' hype, I regard the Baggies as the most likely team to get an automatic promotion place. They are not invincible, as their defeat at home to Iain Dowie's Sky Blues (now taken over by Sisu) showed. But I am a forecasting a 2-1 home win.