One story has dominated football in these parts and beyond over the last few days and that is the saga that has been the potential transfer of West Bromwich Albion’s Peter Odemwingie.
Peter was welcomed to the club eighteen months ago with open arms after a troubled time at Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow. He had been racially abused by his own supporters to the extent of a 50ft banner unveiled once he had left with the words ‘Thanks West Brom’ and a picture of a banana.
West Bromwich Albion has a proud history when it comes to combatting racism on the terraces. The era of Brendon Batson, Cyrille Regis and Laurie Cunningham laid the foundations for this campaign. A matter of days after Peter joined the club and scored his first goal versus Sunderland, a reply banner was on display declaring Albion’s thank you to the Moscow club.
So to the past week… Odemwingie lit the touch paper on this whole affair by handing in a transfer request, which was immediately turned down. His now infamous Twitter rant last Saturday was the final straw for most Baggies. He directly accused the club of ‘blocking’ his way (to QPR). Little did we know it could still get a whole lot worse.
He was fined two weeks’ wages for this outburst but did this deter him from any more flashpoints? Certainly not!
Peter was pictured at West Brom’s Great Barr training base on Thursday afternoon saying goodbye to his fellow players even though a deal was yet to be agreed. Late Thursday evening as the transfer deadline loomed Peter then took even Sky Sports by surprise, turning up totally unannounced at Loftus Road in an ambitious attempt to push the deal through. What then happened was a moment I certainly will never forget.
Talking to Sky’s reporters he used the words ‘WE’ and ‘US’ when referring to Rangers.
Unfortunately for Peter the deal never materialised and he has ended up with major egg on his face at a club where we as supporters don’t want him anywhere near the match day squad any more.
There is anger and resentment towards a striker that arguably gave us the happiest moment we’ve had recent years, scoring a hat-trick in the February 12th 2012 demolition of Wolves at Molineux.
West Brom is a proud club, with a proud history. We as fans take each player to our hearts and give them the support they need - even in Peter’s case where performances haven’t been the best in some games. He does go missing on the pitch from time to time. The sending off against Fulham earlier this season was the result of total indiscipline.
Maybe we should have expected this from his previous actions in pushing the club to give him a bumper new contract which earned him around £35,000 per week.
I feel this Rangers move was motivated by total greed. He would have been given an idea of the kind of wage he could expect by his agent, and at this point his mercenary nature took over.
We cannot and will not forgive him for this past week, dragging the club’s name through the dirt along with his own. I can’t see a future for him at Albion. Sadly, he will play again because we don’t have the squad depth to completely rule him out.
We have better strikers at the club. Shane Long and Romelu Lukaku being the main two. This whole affair means Lukaku will need to step up to the plate and carry even more responsibility on his young shoulders. He’s looked promising in the opening half of the season and I fancy him to flourish. He of course though will go back to Chelsea at the end of this season and we will of course thank him for his efforts.
So on to Tottenham at The Hawthorns on Sunday and one topic will dominate the pre-match chat amongst West Brom fans. Odemwingie won’t be at the ground and its tough to say when he will feature again. I feel he will return to the squad at an away game where the hostility from Albion fans will be less of a concern to Steve Clarke.
He certainly won’t get an easy ride from opposition supporters either but the day he pulls on a Blue and White shirt at The Hawthorns again is the day I hope he realises what this club means to us.
If Peter has anything about him he will knuckle down, get the goals we know he can and maybe just maybe he might repair some of the damage caused by the events of the past week.
For me though, I can’t see it working and I am sure it will only be injuries to the main strikers that will mean we see him again because in the eyes of most fans, he’s not fit to wear the shirt.
Smethwick End Drummer