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My Personal Baggage: The Mundane Life Of A West Brom Fan In Ireland

My Personal Baggage: The Mundane Life Of A West Brom Fan In Ireland
By Conall Cahill

Amidst the drowning wave of speculation and rumour that permeated across social media during 'Transfer Deadline Day', one tantalising headline stood out. Two reports caused me to stop in my tracks; it halted me in my stride. For I am a West Bromwich Albion supporter. And for two teasing, heart-fluttering moments, we were linked with Moussa Sissoko and William Carvalho, Euro 2016 midfield dynamos for France and Portugal respectively.

And it was absolutely terrifying.

Supporting a run-of-the-mill, distinctly average team (albeit one in the Premier League) is a fairly uneventful experience, generally. The past six years have been a pulse-steadying, thrill-free ride.

Low expectations are the norm - for both myself and the side. I do not have to make any particular effort to know a lot about the Baggies - their new signings, how the reserve team is doing, what kind of a youth set-up there is at The Hawthorns.

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Because whenever I inform someone which team I support, their eyes glaze over and head nods up and down automatically, like a sort of disaffected Churchill. This is because their lack of knowledge about West Brom is only surpassed by their apathy. All I have to do is make some vague comment about Tony Pulis and the conversation swiftly moves on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOLjdLP_qao

The lack of television coverage provides even further leeway for me to avoid the spittle-filled, vicious arguments that often develop between fans of clubs who are actually visible and involved in the business end of the season. I can maintain my position as mysterious fence-sitter, neutral irrelevance.

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Bar the odd FA Cup run, life as a West Brom fan now generally encompasses an accepting, comfortable and safe lethargy. Occasionally a firm Gareth McAuley header will cause me to stir from my reverie, or some anti-establishment defiance from James McClean. But generally I feel neither threatened nor excited, and that suits me just fine.

SEE ALSO: Spurs Fans Won't Be Happy About Moussa Sissoko's Previous Comments About Arsenal

But then we signed Nacer Chadli. In my opinion, Chadli is a Champions League standard player; the type we only ever really see at The Hawthorns when darting past the desperately sprawling leg of Jonas Olsson.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZJJFVr-4eQ

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Then we allowed Rickie Lambert to leave for Cardiff. Ordinarily Rickie would be guaranteed a lifelong career at the Baggies, labelled a 'combative' forward and need only the odd five-yarder against Aston Villa or Birmingham to preserve his legacy . His departure signalled a worrying level of ambition from Pulis and our new owner Guochuan Lai.

Then Sissoko's name came up. Then Carvalho's. Two players who at the Euros had placed themselves firmly in the eyeline of some of the world's best clubs.

Real Madrid.

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Arsenal.

West Bromwich Albion.

Panic set in. I started to frantically browse the Amazon catalogues for DVDs and books about the history of West Brom. Online chatrooms, podcasts, old copies of 'Shoot' magazine - I scoured them all, readying myself for the world of barstool football debating.

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I started to analyse my lifestyle patterns - my diet, how much I exercised. I would need to take better care of my heart to deal with the almost unbearable levels of excitement that would come with supporting a club in the Champions League, a club pushing for the title.

I became fiercely delusional. Waves came of LSD-esque hallucinations featuring Premier League trophies and Lionel Messi clad in the famous blue and white stripes, hailing the ecstatic Hawthorns faithful.

But then the moment passed. Moussa Sissoko saw sense and signed for Spurs. William Carvalho was staying at Sporting Lisbon. I breathed a sigh of relief and checked the fixture list, hoping for a nice uneventful clash next. Something to temper the tumultuous emotions of the past day or so.

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Bournemouth.

That'll do nicely.

SEE ALSO: Transfer Deadline Day: David Luiz Is Back At Chelsea And Spurs Sign An Arsenal Fan

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