ZOLTAN WANDERER FEELING RIGHT AT HOME
WBA 2-1 Bolton
By Martin Rogers
ZOLTAN GERA did not understand a word of the congratulations he received from his West Brom team-mates but he was left in no doubt as to what The Hawthorns crowd thought of him.
Albion's Hungarian midfielder left the field to a standing ovation after helping Gary Megson's side to their first win of the season.
Gera's lack of English means he has so far been unable to communicate with his dressing-room colleagues.
But after the magnificent Magyar kick-started the club's Premiership campaign, striker Geoff Horsfield revealed how the West Brom players have tried to instruct Gera on the finer points of the language.
Horsfield said: "Zoltan comes into training loaded up with all sorts of dictionaries and English text books.
"He doesn't understand anything I say to him, but not many people do with my northern accent.
"A few of the lads have been doing their best to help him out though - by teaching a few old-fashioned English swear words. If he keeps playing like that though, it doesn't matter how well he speaks the language, he has been brilliant so far."
Gera set up West Brom's opener and scored the second himself as Megson's team became the first promoted side to claim a Premiership win this term.
The manager's job has been under heavy pressure and this result, combined with a "clear-the-air" meeting with chairman Jeremy Peace on Friday, should have alleviated the strain.
However, Megson claimed he still feels under the cosh and insisted he is far from secure despite "reassurances" from Peace over his future. He said: "Someone saying reassurances doesn't make a great deal of difference. All the other things will still be around and you have to get on with it.
"There is nothing else you can do. You just hope that winning football matches changes conditions.
"But whatever else goes on, apart from winning, there is nothing I or the players can do about it."
Megson took the brave decision to axe midfield play-maker Jason Koumas and replace him with Gera and was richly rewarded.
Megson said: "I had a choice between playing Zoltan or Jason.
"Zoltan is a good player and it was purely my choice. He has got great talent but he is not particularly strong and you worry a little bit about his physique.
"It is not the ideal place to be learning your trade but he has got great feet and an eye for goal.
"Zoltan has made one goal and scored the other so he can be very pleased for himself and we are very pleased for him."
After a scoreless first-half, the influential Gera played a major role in breaking the deadlock after 57 minutes.
He received the ball on the right, cut inside and sent over a perfect low cross which Kanu turned past Jussi Jaaskelainen from close range.
And eight minutes later, Gera rose highest in the area to head home Jonathan Greening's corner. A few nerves set in for West Brom when Stelios Giannakopoulos pulled one back with a curling free-kick with 17 minutes to go, but they held on for victory.
Bolton boss Sam Allardyce locked his players in the dressing room for nearly an hour after the game and left them in no doubt of his anger.
Allardyce was delighted by his team's excellent start to the season but has felt let down by performances in recent weeks.
He said: "Over the last four games we have drawn three and lost one and I told the players, that is relegation form.
"I just let them know after the game how disappointed I feel. It was unbelievable to watch them play like that after we had been going so well.
"When you are up against a side lacking in confidence the last thing you want to do is gift them two goals - and we did that.
"Against teams who are near the bottom we have got to get stuck in.
"But we are not getting to our best in these kind of games and it's disappointing for us."