Football fans are allowed to get over excited and start saying perhaps ill-advised and early things about their clubs progression in an upcoming season. In Spain there is mooted optimism among the followers of Atletico Madrid, that if they can hold onto their star players in the shape of Radamel Falcao and Adrian Lopez that they could be Barcelona’s main rival for La Liga supremacy. The Mattress Makers sanguinity is similar to that which reverberated around some circles of the media and White Hart Lane at the height of Redknapp-mania last season.
That did not quite end up as everyone planned so you can understand that West Bromwich Albion fans are staying cautiously optimistic as to the end result of this current season. However there is no reason why speculation as to where this start may lead cannot be suggested. So far Steve Clarke’s Baggies have had an exceptional start to the season and sit sixth in the league after just eight games this season.
Their results are also impressive, with wins against Liverpool and Everton alongside an away draw with Spurs. Last weekend saw them within touching distance of beating Premier League champions Manchester City.
West Brom’s last great escapade into Europe was in 1979 when they reached the UEFA Cup quarter final, losing to Red Star Belgrade. Then manager Ron Atkinson could call on a magnificent midfield duo of Bryan Robson and Len Cantello and the current pairing of Claudio Yacob and Youssef Mulumbu are fast becoming the most under-rated pairing in the Premier League. The powerful forward play of Cyrille Regis can be seen in both the nuisance that is Shane Long and bulldozer Romelu Lukaku. While it is difficult to find parallels to Laurie Cunningham in this WBA side, or in football generally, this team does have the talent to reach Europe next season.
Steve Clarke will obviously be happy with just a top-ten finish and that would be a great result for the side but European competition next season should not be considered out of the question. While optimism should of course be tempered the team are still becoming one of the most entertaining in the league.
The cup competitions are always an avenue as well but this West Brom side could genuinely challenge Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Newcastle, Liverpool and Arsenal for European places this term.
What do you make of West Brom’s brilliant start to the season and the hope of European qualification and/or cup glory at the end of this campaign?
image: © wonker