Albion to win the league? That's my prediction
Standing at the urinal, a pretty fair appraisal after an extremely disappointing 90 minutes at the Amex on Tuesday night.
Fan One : If they play like that in the Premier League, they’ll come straight back down.
Fan Two: If they carry on playing like that in the Championship, they don’t even go up.
Ultimately, a scoreless bore draw against fellow play-off challengers Sheffield Wednesday left the Albion leaving a cold, wet Falmer feeling something was clearly lacking. Goals basically, but what was also apparent is a nagging doubt that with the Albion entering the home straight, stage fright/jitters, whatever you want to call it, has kicked in.
Collywobbles or not, I still can’t get my head round the amount of people, having probably paid more for an Albion home ticket than ever before, that leave well before the final whistle.
The legendary Brian Clough famously quipped ‘It only takes a second to score a goal’, yet I witnessed people, as I do every week, leaving from 75 minutes onwards at what was a vital game for the Albion.
Are the transport arrangements that bad that people have to sacrifice 15 per cent or so of the match experience?
Would the same people go to watch the Jersey Boys in the West End and leave before Frankie Valli’s big finale?
On the pitch, as always, it is a game of opinions and it certainly was with Connor Goldson winning the man of the match award on the night, although it must have been a close run thing as at least two quality saves from David Stockdale and a solid performance between the sticks might have been enough to get him the nod instead.
But having been part of the sponsors’ party over the years, I do know the hospitality can sometimes cloud the old judgement, and if anything was to drive anyone to drink it was Albion’s display on Tuesday.
Even then, sitting at home after the game, I found myself returning to the promotion calculator, which can be found at www.thefishy.co.uk/calculator0.php?Competition=2 . There supporters get the chance to predict the results of the Albion’s remaining fixtures, while the computer predicts the rest of the Championship.
Putting Tuesday night’s game to the back of my mind, in the next ten games I predicted seven wins (five at home and two on the road at MK Dons and Charlton), two defeats away to Birmingham and Middlesbrough and a draw at Forest. I still had us winning the league with 87 points, three points clear of Burnley and in fact getting promoted at the Valley and winning the league at home to Derby seven days later.
In fact, the Charlton game will mark my 43rd anniversary of watching the Albion for the very first time, April 23, 1973, so how fitting that would be!
I’m sure a number of diehard Albion fans will come out with a similar outcome on the predictor, although the realists amongst us might get a different result. I am ultimately very much a glass half full Albion fan, maybe over the years more thin than thick has taught me to cling on to every hope.
The team now have a full seven-day break due to scheduled opponents Reading’s FA Cup commitments, before the Royals arrive at the Amex next Tuesday.
No live TV and plenty of tickets still available, so hopefully a healthy crowd, most of whom will hopefully be able to manage 90 minutes.
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