By Ian Hart
The late Harold Wilson famously said that a week was a long time in politics, the same can also be said for top flight football.
A week ago the Albion faced the start of an important four game run, with games against Villa and Bournemouth in the space of four days.
Seven days and 180 minutes later and things certainly didn’t turn out as fans hoped.
After an encouraging first half at the Amex on Saturday, when a dominant display should have put Villa to bed by 4.00pm, things went down hill fast, an uninspiring second half with Villa pegging back, saw two points dropped, before Tuesday night’s 3-1 defeat at Bournemouth, a team on the face of it prior to kick off in a worse tail spin towards relegation than the Albion.
So in the cold light of the day, on the morning after the night before, with Albion related social media heading towards meltdown, what’s the problem and equally as important what’s the solution?
To be fair I can often be accused of donning a pair of Albion coloured spectacles even when things are at their worse, that said even when in December 1996 when the Albion were 13 points adrift at the bottom of the Football League (younger readers it wasn’t always Match of the Day every week and live games on satellite TV throughout the season) I still didn’t believe they’d drop out of the League, and they didn’t.
That said I didn’t envisage one point from six in the last two games, given the opposition, which is extremely worrying in itself.
Naive defending and no end product at the other end of the pitch, paint a worrying picture.
But is sacking the manager now really the answer? A lot more are saying yes than any of us could have imagined.
Has Graham Potter’s inexperience at this level been found out at the optimum time? And ultimately is that inexperience leading to relegation, and a return to the bearpit that is the Championship?
As football fans we are all prone at times to knee jerk reactions, but as I write this week’s column I’m finding myself thinking that if we fail to beat both West Ham and Watford in the next two games, and would be looking at best, with two draws, three points from a possible 12 against teams, at the time, below us.
That would almost certainly result in the Albion finding themselves in the relegation zone, with many predicting once in there, with the current management, they would not get out.
So if that’s the case, do we see the ruthless streak from Tony Bloom that as a businessman who’s got where he’s got to he has to adopt at times?
The stats say we dominated both respective first halves, but clearly counts for nothing as at Bournemouth for 30 per cent more possession we went in at the break two-nil down.
So, to reiterate, sacking Potter is it the way forward?
Does he have the tactical nous to put together 14 individual game plans, some less attractive than others, to keep the Albion in the Premier League?
I’d like to say yes, I want to say yes, but even in my Albion circles, more are now saying no than yes. It all comes down to, with just over half of the transfer window left, back him or sack him.
And frankly at this point I can’t rule either out, we could see three quality signings before February 1, or on the the flip side wake up next Monday with the club looking for its sixth manager at the Amex.
And actually would an Allardyce or a Warnock turn things around and guarantee top flight football and the riches that come with it for another season?
Watch this space, it’s more gripping than Emmerdale.