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overseas shrimper

Life President
Oct 25, 2003
Last week it was my birthday and, as a great (and huge) surprise, my missus found a brilliant way of getting me to the airport last Friday and handing me tickets to fly over for the West Brom game.

I was stunned. All had been arranged for a long time with my brother. Before I knew it, I was in the air and on my way to watch one of the games I was most annoyed about having to miss.

I returned in the wee hours of this morning... exhausted... but still buzzing.

My thoughts on the day:

The journey up to Brom with my brother wasn't too bad considering the road works on the M1. We arrived at the ground in good time and took in some beer and a lovely Chicken Balti pie.

The ground was quite tidy with a huge East Stand. Our support was pretty good in numbers and vocally excellent. I finished the day with a soar throat.

The game was everything I could have hoped for (apart from 3 points for us). It was end to end stuff and never really became boring.

I can see some of the points about Paynter, Gutts and JCR. Paynter seems to be a bit sluggish and lacks a bit of awareness (although a sublime early ball out from defence almost set Eastwood up for a fantastic counter-attack). I think Paynter played better when the subs were made and he dropped deeper.

Gutts just isn't the instrumental figure he was when I watched him last season. Hopefully this is something he can overcome soon.

JCR, though, is a gem for me. A bit of a rough one at the moment... but if Tilly and Brush can coach him into delivering something more effective more often after his usual great work... he'll be a hell of a player. I have rarely seen a player who covers so much ground, be it in attack or defence.

Out of the defenders, Clarke was the one that worried me the most. I thought Francis worked hard and got forward well at times, as did Hammell (good set pieces from the Scot as well). Barrett was his usual committed self.

Maher was also a key figure, really controlling our midfield and liking attack and defence well. Eastwood was lively and looked hungry for a goal.

Flavs made some brilliant saves and deserves the recognition he is getting in the media for his display.

Once again, we looked much improved with Tilly's substitutions. Harrold made a huge difference to our attack... macking it look much more lively and difficult to deal with.

I have seen some postings about our fans booing and throwing insults at our players. Thankfully though, I can't remember hearing any such stupidity from where we were sitting.

The drive back was much better. We took the M40 instead of the M1 and we felt as though we had won the game.

Thanks to my missus for a fantastic birthday surprise (which she couldn't join me on because of the pending little Shrimper due in about 5 weeks time) and thanks to my brother and family for helping make all this happen.