This has been another wonderful season in the history of West Bromwich Albion with an ending that will sadden most Baggie Supporters. 16 months ago we welcomed Roy Hodgson to the Football Club and in that time we have seen a huge improvement in terms of our status in the Premiership.
It is obvious that the squad has benefited by the coaching from Roy and his support Staff, defensively we are sound and though perhaps we have not seen so many goals we certainly have seen a style of football pleasing to the eye. We will miss Roy but who could possibly turn down such an opportunity when you are offered the Manager of your National Team.
He will be remembered fondly by everyone connected with the Football Club and the Former Players Association would like to wish him the best of luck in his new role. We look forward to the appointment of a new Manager in the course of the next few weeks and trust that whoever is appointed will continue to move this wonderful Football Club forward into an established and challenging Premiership side.
So what has the Association done this last twelve months? We have once again worked closely with Adrian Wright and his Commercial Department by providing 2 Former Players each match day to entertain the Corporate Guests in the East Stand. New faces have represented us this year namely Darren Moore, Phil Gilchrist, Gary Thompson who have been extremely entertaining but we still have the usual faces Brendon Batson, Cyrille Regis, John Giles, John Wile, Ally Robertson etc who have made those in the Corporate areas amused by tales from the “olden days” .This year we have had an additional role and we believe it has been extremely beneficial in that Derek Monaghan, Ian Hamilton and Ray Wilson have alternated in being the MC in the Millichip, Pennington & Bassett Suites. These ex Players have grown into the role and thoroughly enjoyed themselves; we trust that those experiencing this new match day feature for Former Players have enjoyed it as much as the 3 guys have. May we thank everyone in the Commercial Department, in particular Jo Ferriday, Kate Kirkpatrick, Heidi Ferguson and Adrian Wright for there help and continued support. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Commercial Department into the next season.
As an Association we are mindful of the economic climate the Country is experiencing therefore we have not undertaken any Dinners this year though as usual we have worked closely with John Homer, Alan Cleverley & Roy Haden of the Supporters Clubs. It is a pleasure to work with these guys and again it is a benefit to both Organisations.
The one thing that we always do and will continue to do as long as we have the support and that is organise our Annual Golf Day. Once again it is at Walsall Golf Club on Monday 25th June. We have a shotgun start at 1.30pm followed by Dinner & Prize Presentation. As usual we will have the support of the former players like Bobby Hope, John Kaye, Graham Williams, Ally Robertson, Joe Mayo, Mark Grew, Ray Wilson, Ian Hamilton plus about another dozen or more ex players. We have our generous sponsors; Con Cunningham CP Plant Hire, Tony Sammon Solihull Roofing & Neil Betteridge Amros Promotional Products, plus we have the support of 15 other Companies that enter a Team. For £325 you can enter a team of 3 plus your 4th will be a Former Player. Anyone interested, because we can accommodate a few more teams, contact the Secretary Geoff Snape firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Former Players are happy to support various Charities and many ex Players are comfortable in doing personal appearances. We have during the season provided support for various organisations and will always continue to do so.
The Association has grown in strength and we welcome new members each year, we now have over 150 members and welcomed Joost Volmer into our Association at this year’s AGM. The Association is run by a small committee of 4 Brendon Batson MBE President, Ray Wilson Chairman, Norman Westbury Treasurer & Geoff Snape Secretary. During this last 12 months, age and illness unfortunately has caught up with some and it is very sad when we lose a member, this year in particular we have lost a very dear friend and gentleman in Ray Barlow, a true legend.
To be a member of the Association you must have played at least once for the Albion, though there are 2 exceptions! However, every member is just like the other 20,000, we are “fans” and you will see Former Players around the ground on match days, regularly you see the likes of Bob Taylor, Darren Moore, Ray Wilson, Ally Robertson, Alec Jackson, Ken Hodgkisson, Cyrille Regis, Brendon Batson; once you pull on that blue and white shirt you remain a Baggie for life.
The season is over, we say goodbye to Roy and again wish him every success for the future. We know we have Scottish, Welsh & Irish Former Players but as the majority are English the other Nationalities will have to accept the wish of the majority in wishing Roy a successful start to his new role in Euro 2012.
To everyone connected with West Bromwich Albion whether an employee or supporter we wish you all a wonderful summer and look forward to another season in the Premiership.