Vital QPR takes a look at the Championship`s newest additions – this week looking at Premier League basement club West Bromwich Albion.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Founded: 1878 as West Bromwich Strollers
Nickname: The Baggies
Ground: The Hawthornes – 28,003
Manager: Roberto di Matteo
First Division – Champions – 1919/20
First Division – Runners Up – 1924/25, 1953/54
F.A. Cup – Winners – 1888, 1892, 1931, 1954, 1968
F.A. Cup – Runners Up – 1886, 1887, 1895, 1912, 1935
Football League Cup – Winners – 1966
Football League Cup – Runners Up – 1967, 1970
Record Attendance: 64,815 v Arsenal (FA Cup 6th round, 6 March 1937)
Record league victory: 12-0 v Darwen – 1892
Record league defeat 3-10 v Stoke City – 1937
Record Buy: £4,700,000 – Borja Valero from Real Mallorca
Record Sale: £10,000,000 – Curtis Davies to Aston Villa
Record Appearances: Tony Brown 720
Record Goals: Tony Brown 279
After dropping out of the Premier League in 2006 Bryan Robson found himself on thin ice at the Hawthornes, and was subsequently dispatched in September after a disappointing start to the Championship campaign.
Nigel Pearson briefly took the helm at West Brom, but after it became apparent he would be overlooked for the post once again he stepped aside and let Craig Shakespeare take charge for a solitary game. The announcement of former Hibs boss Tony Mowbray came as surprise to some as the Baggies entered a new era.
His brand of passing football won the fans over and in time Mowbray`s West Brom were challenging for a playoff spot. They finished off the season in style with a 7-0 thumping of Barnsley, which pitted them against Black Country rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Baggies won at Molineux courtesy of a Kevin Phillips brace before a 1-0 victory took them through to the first Championship playoff final at the new Wembley. West Brom were below-par on the day against Derby County and Stephen Pearson`s strike after the hour mark saw the Rams to promotion.
Mowbay`s side was resurgent however and stormed off to head the table in the early stages. They oversaw the departure of QPR boss John Gregory with their 5-1 thrashing of the R`s live on Sky. In the latter stages of the season, the Baggies his an uncharacteristic wobble which saw Hull defeat them at home, and Leicester to give them a sound thrashing (4-1).
West Brom clung on to their top spot and could take comfort in their cup form which saw them progress to the semi-final of the FA Cup, where they were defeated by eventual winners Portsmouth. They sewed up the title on the final day of the campaign against QPR at Loftus Road.
Albion earned great plaudits for their style in promotion and Mowbray had won many admirers for the way his side played the game. They took this into the Premier League, but as suspected it wasn`t as successful as fellow promoted side Stoke City`s physical game.
For all the success that Mowbray had achieved in getting Albion back to their true footballing tradition, he had failed to do what Hull and Stoke had achieved, keep them in the Premier League. Speculation then surrounded his future and after much negotiation Mowbray moved north of the border to Celtic.
Speculation surrounded who would take the helm at West Brom, with names such as Darren Ferguson and Alan Irvine being earmarked as potential candidates. In a short space of time MK Dons` boss Roberto Di Matteo saw his odds slashed and emerged as the outstanding candidate for the role following Irvine`s rejection.
The capture of Simon Cox for £1.5m set the Italian`s early intention as West Brom look to be competitive in a tough Championship league.
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