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West Bromwich Albion

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So after defeating Chelsea at the weekend our simple neighbours from Smethwick, a local club for local people, are up to 4th place and flying high.

I've always found WBA a bit of a funny team and never know what to really make of them to be honest. Steve Clarke has easily and simply taken over the reigns from Woy in what must appear the most seamless managerial change in history. They have a balanced, well-formed squad and play good football, and they haven't spent a huge amount to do so.

Are they a force to be reckoned with now, or will the fun end when they get a few injuries and a poor run of form? As I work with a fair few of them I wouldnt hear the end of it if they were to do the unthinkable and actually win anything or qualify for europe.

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Steve Clark is a very good manager. His biggest test will come when their form will dip, which it inevitably will.

I can see them keeping this up for a fair chunk of the season though and I can really see them finishing in the Europa places.

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They're riding the crest of a wave at the moment. Can't knock their approach as they've spent wisely and built slowly.

I gather we're supposed to hate them now but I've never had a problem with their fans. I'm from south Birmingham so the other lot are more of a problem.

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Please change the title if one of them should read this thread it would make them even more unbearable....

Don't get me wrong credit where credit is due they have massively improved the last couple if yrs and are doing a fantastic job this season, was surprised Clarke has done so well in his first proper managers role.

Think they will have a limit as Jeremy peace is deadly dougs disciple... Many people see ashworth joining England a big Loss for Albion as he has helped shape the club..

A few cheap signings have all come off at the same time which has helped them massively as well...

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I saw somebody wearing a Baggies shirt in the city centre earlier today. Eleven years I've worked in Birmingham and seeing somebody in a Baggies shirt on a non match day is still a ridiculously rare occurrence, but perhaps this season is seeing a few more come out of the woodwork.

Still, I think they have got a bloody good team. I think the side that beat Chelsea this weekend cost less than £10m, and you have to take your hat off to them for putting together such a good side for that kind of money in this day and age.

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They've got team spirit in abundance and are getting good results...but I can't see them finishing higher than 8th place.

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For some reason they hate us, but I see them as a little puppy, cute, inoffensive but prone to shitting on the carpet.

That said I work in the belly of the beast in West Brom itself and since this bit of form, best since 1982 it seems, they are showing their colours with a little more pride these days.

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great organisation on and off the pitch, might be tested when DOF goes to FA. they play nice football, have a good transfer policy( think Yacob adn Mulumbyu cost about 500k between them) and in fairness I am happy they are up where they are and proof you dont have to spend cash to be a good team

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in my experience the fans have run away with it already

spent saturday night being told villa got 22k fans in VP for home games, the baggies had a kit made by addidas and they were now the biggest club in the midlands

playing really well, i think they have a really solid core with foster, olsson, mulumbu and long and then players around them like morrison in great form, wait until the form dips and / or the rags unsettle some of their key players before judging them

ive got them finishing 7th at best

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well done to them. lets see if they stop up there. its the first time in 30 years they have broken our monopoly of being better (im not saying bigger) than them so they are bound to take the piss but the hardest part for them will be sustaining it. the pisser is the fact there first 11 from saturday cost reletively little

foster - 6million

jones - free

mcauley - free

olson - £2million

ridgewell £2million

gera - free

yacob - free

malumbu - 250k

odemwingie - 1.5million

long - 6million

also worth noting they have played the same 11 most of the season. we know better than most players cant sustain it throughout a season

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We're going along nicely thankfully but being the pessimist I am, I'm always waiting for the drop in form and the abundance of injuries. I've never experienced us in this position, nor in this vein of form, and I'm intent on enjoying it, I mean, if I can't enjoy this, why am I in football?

Credit to Steve Clarke to be honest, he's got the lads playing some cracking stuff, these victories are no flukes either. We've got players at the top of their games with James Morrison and Shane Long being quite simply sensational. Shane works his arse off upfront but with that, produces quality and James manages to set the tempo and really effect play. We can cream ourselves over our forward options but for me, Claudio Yacob has been a massive addition, especially when you consider he's replaced the likes of Paul Scharner and Paul Andrews so again, it's another case of us evolving. He's brought not only a calmness to the side, but the ability to win the ball, and have the composure and ability to carry it out of defence/midfield and pick an option. Defensively, we're very good. We've had an unsettled back five lately with Jones/Reid being injured with Tamas deputising but thankfully since Jones has returned his performances have improved. G-Mac and Ben Foster who have been brilliant for us have missed out with injury yet their replacements have come straight into the side and fitted in no problem, especially on Saturday, where Tamas and Myhill were very good. If anything, I'm slightly disappointed we don't have more points because it's a mystery how we managed to lose at Newcastle considering the game was so one-sided, but also annoying that we threw away the game against Man City with two basic errors which have been uncommon from us for quite a while. Fortunately, when we've experienced a defeat, the response from the lads has been very good, and for this Steve Clarke should take plenty of credit.

We'll probably go through a period where our forms dips, probably on Saturday knowing my luck with away fixtures but we have the hallmarks of a good side, and it's important that we keep this champagne buzz amongst the club going - As for a league finish, top half would still be very pleasing.

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in my experience the fans have run away with it already

spent saturday night being told villa got 22k fans in VP for home games

How do they work that one out? This from the team who couldn't even sell out their small stadium against Man City the other week.

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Ridgewell. Liam piggin Ridgewell, is in their starting eleven. this can't last, it can't!

Joking aside, they are doing tremendously and I'm obviously envious of the start they've had. Never minded Baggies as have a lot of West Brom supporting family members.

Think they are enjoying it a bit too much though where Villa are concerend as it might well come back and (hopefully) slap them in the face.

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Fair play to them. I really dont mind the baggies in the slightest. Coming from Worcester we don't get too many around here, so they dont really feel like rivals. I do find it hilarious when you hear them sing "shit on the villa".... when we don't have a single chant for them. :D

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Ridgewell. Liam piggin Ridgewell, is in their starting eleven. this can't last, it can't!

The phrase 'greater than the sum of their parts' springs to mind. They have one of two good players (Foster, McAuley, Brunt) and one or two very very good players (Mulumbu, Morrison, Long) but their strength comes from being a really solid team. If they can go a season without many injuries, and if they can keep their confidence high then they could have a fantastic season. The busy Christmas period with fatigue and possible injuries is a massive part of their season, remember when we were second in January but with a team of players who were absolutely knackered?

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