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Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

West Bromwich dig way out of trouble . . . with free Ribena
By Malcolm Boyden

Our correspondent captures the mood as Albion aim to rewrite
Premiership history

NORMAN Rouse-Duggins, a West Bromwich undertaker, has a solemn
afternoon ahead of him. "They've been dropping like ninepins in Smethwick, just recently," he says with a grimace, as he buffs up his company's already gleaming hearse. Suddenly, the Black Country football fanatic begins to smirk. Before long, he is wearing a grin as broad as the Dudley Singing Cavern. Out of the blue, Rouse-Duggins begins whistling the theme music of The Great Escape.

Across town, Dave Holloway is on a sandwich delivery round. As
he passes his beloved Hawthorns, he too, breaks into an off-the-cuff
rendition of the unmistakable movie melody. In Warley, 86-year-old Vic
Stirrup, who has missed just five West Bromwich Albion games, home and away, in the past 60 years, cannot get the catchy tune out of his head.

It is no wonder. The blue and white-striped portion of the West
Midlands is in the grip of a glorious saga that, for them, is every bit as
thrilling as the 1963 blockbuster. Just like in the film, Albion's story is
an unlikely tale of struggle against impossible odds - yet it is rapidly
turning into one of the epics of the season.

During Albion's victory over Everton at The Hawthorns last
Sunday, The Great Escape theme rippled spontaneously around the ground all afternoon as fans began to believe the unbelievable. A club, bottom of the Premiership at Christmas, avoiding relegation? Past history decrees that it cannot happen.

In truth, the Albion faithful can barely take it in. Just over
two months ago, a heart-wrenching defeat away to Norwich City, another struggling side, had left the club stranded at the bottom of the table with a paltry 17 points. Albion were seemingly doomed.

But a string of vastly improved performances, including three
wins from the past four games, means that West Bromwich could move out of the bottom three for the first time since early November when they take on Aston Villa, their bitter rivals, at Villa Park tomorrow.

Enter then, The Hawthorns heroes. Bryan Robson, the Albion
manager, has become the Black Country's very own Steve McQueen (Captain Virgil "the Cooler King" Hilts).

Despite a rocky start to his managerial reign, he has slowly
manoeuvred his men to the brink of safety, just as McQueen did when he
unforgettably twisted and turned on his motorcycle.

Always an Albion folk-hero, Robson is rapidly becoming the new
messiah of the Black Country. One of his signings, Kevin Campbell, the
former Everton forward and inspirational new Albion captain, has taken the role of Squadron Leader Roger "Big X" Bartlett (portrayed by Richard
Attenborough in the film). And Zoltan Gera, the impish Hungarian who scored the winning goal against Everton, is Albion's undisputed Danny "The Tunnel King" Velinski, aka Charles Bronson.

Before West Bromwich's last away match, against Charlton
Athletic at the Valley, which Albion won 4-1, thousands of fans clambered off coaches provided free by the club, to claim their official Great Escape Kits. Assembled by T-Mobile, the club's sponsors, each kit contained a passport detailing the remaining fixtures of the bottom four Premiership clubs, a poster of the Albion team, an armband bearing the words The Great Escape, a chunky KitKat and a carton of Ribena.

Those kits, and a huge Great Escape flag will be in evidence
again tomorrow as David O'Leary, the Villa manager, takes on the role of
Colonel von Luger, the prison commandant, attempting to put the brave
escapees back in their place.

In the film, the gritty heroes tunnelled their way to freedom
using guts, perseverance and a smattering of ingenuity. Like on the football field, it was a feat that demanded the utmost in concentrated, devotion and vigilance.

Von Luger O'Leary would do well to take note - although he and
thousands of Villa fans will doubtless be tempted to point out that none of the prisoners actually reached the sanctuary of neutral Switzerland and that McQueen's famous motorbike ride ended in glorious failure.

Premium Member
22,104 Posts
GeordieBootboy said:
I'm rooting for you lot. GO BAGGIES!
Me too :)

I fancy them too pull it off as well, I said it from the start of the season, although my confidence had gone around Xmas time, I now think they will do it.

Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
cheers guys :)

There is a belief around the place, but with games like Boro (A), Spurs (A), Man U (A), Arsenal (H), Blackburn (H) we haven't got really winnable games.

It'll be hard, but hopefully we can do it!
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