“As the curtain finally comes down on yet another season, it is time to reflect on a campaign that promised much, stuttered and sputtered, finally producing a disappointing finale, against the oldest of old rivals Aston Villa, in a play-off semi-final penalty shootout, for the privilege of going to Wembley in our attempts to secure an immediate return to the promised land of the Premiership.
Unfortunately, it was not to be, and whilst everybody at the football club will be disappointed, those reflections will no doubt harness lingering thoughts of stirring victories, both home and away, terrific goals from messrs Barnes, Gayle and Rodrigues, that took us so close to realising manager Darren Moore’s dream, but then of course those reverses that cost the Albion legend his job. There will be much speculation about so many aspects of this turbulent campaign, but the ‘epilogue’, the most stirring of final ‘Shrine’ contests, against the ‘Villains’, that conjured up memories of Swansea in 1993, Manchester United in the FA cup in1978 and of course Valencia in 1979, will linger long in the minds of all that were privileged to be at The Hawthorns on Tuesday night, a bitter sweet occasion, true, but one that will never be forgotten.
Away from the action pitch-side, it was also a memorable evening for the association, with former favourites, Brian Talbot, Russell Hoult and Adrian Foster, being honoured with their club caps, Secretary Geoff Snape presenting former Albion player and manager Talbot with his ceremonial headwear in the Richardson suite pre-match and Russell receiving his cap from his old playing colleague Phil Gilchrist and Ally Robertson doing the ‘honours’ for Adrian in the Regis Suite just before kick-off.
Russell and Phil, kept the corporate guests entertained in the various East stand suites, with Joe Mayo and Mark Grew joining pre-match tours and visiting corporate boxes, before the main event! In the Regis Suite, Secretary Geoff Snape, Ally Robertson and Adrian Foster were joined by President Brendon Batson MBE, Chairman Ray Wilson, Treasurer Norman Westbury, Kevin Summerfield, Paul Raven, Micky Fudge and Dennis Clarke along with welcome guests from the PFA.
So, as the ‘sun sets’ on the 2018-19 campaign, all that is left to do, is to wish everyone a safe and healthy summer, as we eagerly await the publishing of the fixtures for the 2019-20 challenges ahead, whatever they may be, under new management of course, and a chance to emulate, the great side captained by Jesse ‘Peerless’ Pennington and the lads of 1919-20, who strode from the dark shadows of the great war, to lift the First Division championship trophy for the first and only time in our long and illustrious history. A return to the Premiership would surely be the ideal tribute to Jesse, club saviour Fred Everiss, and all those wonderful players from that golden bye gone age.”