We pit West Bromwich Albion’s current team against Ron Atkinson’s 1978 side.
In the late 1970s, Ron Atkinson produced one of West Bromwich Albion’s most exciting sides of all time. His team finished third in the league and reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup during their 1978/9 campaign.
Tony Pulis’s side currently compete in the richest league in the world. They come up against teams featuring 86 million pound men and some of the world’s greatest managers.
With no West Brom game to look forward to this weekend, let’s indulge in a little bit of fantasy and imagine what might have happened if these two Albion sides met.
On a brisk afternoon at The Hawthorns, Tony Pulis’s men put up a brave fight against a rampant West Brom 1978 side.
The occasion got off to a fiery start when Bryan Robson squared up to James McClean following a late tackle on Brendan Batson – neither man stood down and both found themselves in the referees’ book.
Tony Brown forced the game’s first save with a speculative drive that was well matched by Ben Foster. Big Ron’s side continue to push for an opener but it would be Albion 2016 that created the first big opportunity. Chris Brunt’s in-swinging corner was met by Gareth McAuley, whose header went agonisingly over the bar.
Buoyed by McAuley’s chance, Albion 2016 began to see more of the ball, and on 36 minutes they took the lead. Brunt’s free-kick caused chaos in the Albion 1978 penalty box, before falling at the feet of Nacer Chadli, who slid the ball past Tony Godden.
Their lead did not last long as Len Cantello spotted Derek Statham’s overlapping run, and the left-back drilled the ball across the six yard box for Ally Brown net the equaliser.
Tony Brown came close to adding a second but Jonny Evans’ last-ditch tackle meant the two sides went in level at half-time.
Big Ron’s men started the second half stronger and barely allowed their opponents to see the ball. And Albion 2016’s frustration began to surface when Claudio Yacob saw yellow for yet another foul on Cantello.
It took a moment of magic from Laurie Cunningham to give Albion 1978 the lead their play deserved. The winger left Allan Nyom on his backside before cutting inside and bending the ball beyond Foster.
Pulis threw on Craig Gardner, Hal Robson-Kanu and James Morrison but it wasn't enough to shift the momentum of the game.
Bryan Robson played the ball into Cyrille Regis, who swivelled past Evans and drilled his shot low and hard at Foster. The stopper could only parry the strike as Ally Brown responded fastest to force the ball over the line.
Rondon, who had a tough afternoon against the physical pair of Ally Robertson and John Wile, came close to giving Albion 2016 a lifeline with an audacious effort that Godden managed to tip over the bar.
However, Big Ron's side never looked in danger of surrendering their lead and closed out the game comfortably.
Result: West Brom 2016 1-3 West Brom 1978