Behind Enemy Lines – Interview With ‘Albion Till We Die’ Website

A last minute job, but we say hello again to the West Brom website Albion Till We Die and quiz their co-editor Mark Thomas about the return Villa vs Baggies derby at the Hawthorns. Our interview on their site can be found here.  Let the battle to be the Pride of the Midlands commence…

You actually predicted the game between the two teams at Villa Park correctly, any memories from the game?

Not too many to be honest which probably says something about the game, I think it was fairly even and a draw was the right result. It was nice to see Shane Long score given the ‘stick’ he was given by Villa fans following the Hutton incident.

The Reading defeat must have been a bitter pill to swallow and West Brom’s recent form isn’t too hot, can you put a finger on why?

There’s definitely been too many team changes over the last month or so, whether they were forced or not. The continual chopping and changing has affected the team despite what Steve Clarke says. We’ve also seen a number of silly individual mistakes creeping in which have been costing us goals and ultimately matches.

Outside the usual suspects at the top, the standard of the Premiership isn’t that great , so despite your current form, you must be fairly confident of finishing at least top half? Or are you still thinking about Europe?!

I think given the run we are currently on Europe is fast slipping away from us. The teams around us probably have just that extra bit of quality and experience. Personally, and despite the great start we had I’d be happy if we finish around 9th or 10th again.

Do West Brom need anything in the January transfer window?

Defensively our squad is not great. Take Jonas Olsson and Gareth McAuley out and we have got a lot of average players, right-back in particular being a problem this season with Steven Reid always injured and Billy Jones not quite good enough for the Premier League. Midfield is probably okay and upfront as long as we don’t sell Peter Odemwingie is fine.

So after over half a season, how is Steve Clarke settling in? I don’t think he’s going to go the way of Nigel Adkins…that was a shocking decision.

The Adkins situation does seem strange on the surface, whether there’s anything else the general public don’t know about at the moment remains to be seen. If the decision was made purely on results then definitely wrong.

Clarke’s done okay, the flying start we made shut up any dissenters that were questioning his inexperience as a number one but the recent poor run has seen a few questions start to be asked, mainly to do with his team selections and tactics for certain games.

You must be enjoying the Villa circus at the moment in terms of recent results? Any highlights for you?

I think the Chelsea game takes some beating !

Do you think Villa will go down and what would you think about it?

I think you may just about stay up, with one or two experienced players coming back in the next few weeks you may just pick up enough points to survive, but only just !

So where do you stand on the Pride of the Midlands debate? I’m actually glad there is a debate. It was lonely at the top.

It might sound a bit arrogant but there’s not really much to debate at the minute about who is ‘The pride of the Midlands’. Despite our current poor run we are still a long way ahead of Villa, both in points and squad strength, Wolves are a joke whilst Blues lurch from one crisis to another. After spending my entire football supporting life watching Villa generally dominate Midlands’ football I have to admit the last couple of years have been bloody enjoyable. Having said all that, the pessimist in me is half expecting a defeat Saturday tea-time, we shall see…

Finally, prediction and thoughts on Saturday’s game?

I’m really not confident about this one to be honest. A month or so ago I’d have said a home win without question but now, and despite Villa’s poor form, I can see another share of the points. I’ll go for another 1-1.

Our first exchange of interviews for the Villa Park match between the two teams can be found here

Thanks to Mark Thomas @albiontillwedie

Follow MOMS on Twitter at @oldmansaid