Hodgson wins bragging rights but faces battle to keep players
West Bromwich Albion 1 Everton 0
Monday 16 May 2011
When west Bromwich Albion last finished as the West Midlands' highest-placed club, Margaret Thatcher was new at No 10, Art Garfunkel had 'Bright Eyes' at No 1 and a young rookie manager from Croydon had just guided Halmstad to the Swedish title.
Roy Hodgson, now 63, has put Albion in pole position to finish as "top dogs", in his phrase, in Birmingham and the Black Country for the first time since 1979. Their surge since he succeeded Roberto Di Matteo could see them accrue nearly 50 per cent more points than in the Great Escape of 2005.
Putting down roots in the Premier League will mean resisting offers for the trio involved in the goal – top scorer Peter Odemwingie, captain Chris Brunt and marksman Youssouf Mulumbu – that beat an Everton side who played the last 14 minutes with 10 men after Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's dismissal. "I don't need assurances that we'll keep our players," said Hodgson. "I know from my experience of trying to get Jonathan Greening to Fulham that the chairman [Jeremy Peace] is keen on keeping the players he wants and who are under contract."
While the squad will not undergo major surgery, he said it would be foolish to rest on their laurels. "The players here will say: 'We got you 46 points, possibly more, and stayed in the league. In a difficult season we've proved to you the nucleus is good enough.' But you need to improve. The moment you contemplate standing still, you go backwards."
Hodgson will look to unearth more talents like Odemwingie and Mulumbu, both spotted by Albion's sporting and technical director Dan Ashworth. Yet all their rivals now had scouts who were "like Leslie Welch" (aka the Memory Man). As a result there were "fewer and fewer bargains out there".
Scorers: West Bromwich Mulumbu 10
Substitutes: West Bromwich Morrison (Cox, 67), Tchoyi (Thomas, 78), Fortune (Brunt, 90). Everton Beckford (Coleman, 62), Bilyaletdinov (Neville, 72), Rodwell (Anichebe, 80). Booked: West Bromwich Tamas, Thomas. Everton Heitinga, Neville. Sent off Bilyaletdinov (77). Man of the match Mulumbu. Match rating 6/10.
Attempts on target: West Brom 9 Everton 10.
Referee A Taylor(Cheshire). Att 25,838.
Latest in Sport
Brendan Rodgers future: Odds shorten on sack as Liverpool manager prepares to meet bosses in next 36 hours
Arsenal players boo chief-executive Ivan Gazidis after being told they would not get bonus for FA Cup triumph
Fifa corruption: Sepp Blatter's right-hand man Jerome Valcke 'sent' $10m payment to Jack Warner in letter from the South African FA
Liverpool transfer news: James Milner nearing Anfield switch, but club baulk at £32.5m Christian Benteke release clause
Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 4 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
- 5 Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history