In a new feature this season on WBA-MAD, Editor Iain Bate breathes a huge sigh of relief after normal service is resumed on the pitch.
I’m sure like many of you on Saturday I arrived at The Hawthorns feeling somewhat apprehensive about the 90 minutes ahead. I wasn’t 100% convinced about Steve Clarke’s appointment – we had, after all, effectively swapped the England manager for Liverpool’s failed No.2.
That didn’t mean to say I wouldn’t get behind him or the team – I support the club, so that’s what I’ll always do – I just wasn’t sure he was the right man to take us forward. I’m glad to say he proved me wrong.
The comprehensive victory against Liverpool was unexpected. The majority of the experts, if you can call them that, had us down for an opening day defeat. How wrong they were! Albion started strongly, matched Liverpool for long periods and then asserted their dominance after Daniel Agger’s dismissal. The last fifteen minutes were a joy to watch.
Albion’s attacking diamond ripped through a weary Liverpool backline. Filled with players worth tens of millions of pounds, Albion under Clarke made them look like pub players.
I think we all realise it was only the first game of the season and we’re not going to beat every side in the league 3-0 every game. But what Saturday did show us was that we can compete again with teams like Liverpool and continue to establish ourselves as a Premier League side – despite Hodgson’s departure.
Players such as Long, Morrison, Mulumbu, Ridgewell and Foster are still developing at this level. Claudio Yacob also made a fine debut and looks to have settled into Albion’s system as if he’s been here for years.
I was, understandably, disappointed when Roy left us for England. I didn’t think we could attract anybody with the same experience, intelligence and knowhow of the game. While Clarke doesn’t have anywhere near the managerial experience of his predecessor, he looks to have an eye for attacking football – which I can’t wait to see again!
COME ON YOU BAGGIES.
Did you expect Steve Clarke's first game to go so well? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.