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Clarke Hoping For Villa Survival

Clarke Hoping For Villa Survival

This might ruffle a few feathers, Steve Clarke has said he believes it's in Albion's best interests to have a real battle with Aston Villa to determine the Midlands' Top Dogs.

I know this will be caught by our colleagues over on Vital Villa and there's been a fair bit of banter, even going back to the McLeish banner, with how their recent seasons have gone, but if I refuse to gloat about the last few years, their league finishes - well battles against relegation - and our league finishes, I have to concur with Steve Clarke.

Here's what our head coach told

'I would like to see the Midlands stronger. It's important that you have good competition from the clubs around you. It's healthy around the area, and it's better for the Midlands that they have more successful teams.'

The following comments may make some shudder.

'I would miss Villa. It's important that they finish the season strongly. It's important to have your rivals breathing down your neck. You see how much it means to the supporters, they want to be the top dogs.'

The following comment won't make some shudder - it might make them giggle though.

'But you want to be the top dogs because you've beaten your nearest rivals or you've finished higher than them in the same league - that's important.'

Which could translate to Steve Clarke trying to be professional and not saying 'as opposed to seeing your nearest rival flounder around at the bottom of the league, conceding more goals than ConcedyMcSpeedy and being unable for a large part of the season to secure back to back draws, let alone wins.'

But joking aside I agree with him. The local rivalry can be a huge motivator for the team because whilst league place finish is important, being the best local side in a season carries the bragging rights, not only for fans, but also for the players themselves.

It's a badge of honour they can wear know exactly how annoying it is for your rivals, it helps lift players, and can also out psyche the opposition rival when the pressure mounts on them.

Having Villa actually challenging for a midtable finish again would have amplified our achievements this campaign and that counts in our Top Four coated status quo of a Premier League.

Making the jump to the top six can be done, making the jump to the top four is nigh on impossible now for the majority of clubs in this league unless they put their financial futures at risk - I think Villa serve as a perfect example there of what can happen when it doesn't work.

So you build and grow for top six, you build and grow and hope for a challenge on top four. But all you need to do, is turn up, work hard, battle and earn the Top Dog tag and that goes for every area in the country.

Let's face it our other rivals aren't going to be much of a problem for a while. Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry, we need Villa to try their best to give us something to smile about :-)

A solid rivalry can only help improve our club, and that alone is enough of a reason to welcome it.

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Writer:Baggy Boy
Date:Wednesday May 1 2013
Time: 10:27PM


A lot of my friends are Albion fans and have been very smug this season! Don't suppose I can blame them after 30 years of being second best. HopefullybSteve Clarke will get his feelings through to his players and you will beat Wigan and Norwich. Basically though it is in our own hands and whether we stay up will be down to ourselves. Always liked the Villa Albion rivalry. The Villa Blues situation is awful. Full of pure hatred. Like Albion Wolves. I have been very surprised withn Albion obsession about Villa this season. We are not your traditional rivals. If we stay up you may find thatbyounhave a much more difficult job rebuilding your team than Paul Lambert has adding to a very exciting young squad. Best of luck for the next two games!
02/05/2013 00:17:00
Best of luck for next season, undoubtedly Clarke will want to finish on a high, and like our Villa friend says we (Latics) have our fate in our own hands, I for one am hoping that it doesnt come down to a showdown at the DW, though at this stage I'd take it
02/05/2013 09:45:00
I have to say, for me Villa - Albion is the real Birmingham derby. Two proper clubs. Blues are just angry because they're insignificant. Villa and Albion has been rivals from footballing year one and long may it continue. All the besr for the season and up the Villa.
02/05/2013 09:56:00
Me too Worbo. I want to be 4 points ahead of you when we go to the DW! As you will understand Villa fans will be supporting the Baggies as well on Saturday. I think Newcastle are in free fall and IF we can beat Norwich they might be as well.
02/05/2013 09:59:00
Yup krfeskivilla, the bragging rights for us have been somewhat of a long time coming - can't blame a few for taking full advantage :-)

Agree though, seems better natured between the Baggies and the Villa and there have been some very good games that both sides can point to. As you say though, your future is your own hands, I doubt anybody in your camp is looking for a favour from us, but we'll be going for the three points anyway to set our record as high as we can.

Not sure on the last point though, our scouting setup is well established and whilst Odemwingie is no doubt out the door and Lukaku will be a big loss, we'll already have our eyes on replacements that should fit in well and keep helping us progress. Did hope we'd have a good league placing battle this season but it wasn't to be, hopefully next year - that bit of competition locally you'd hope would push us both onto further improvement.

And to you worbo, you know what you are doing at this stage of the season and I doubt you'll have a day like Southampton did in our last match, so it'll be tough, far more interesting at the bottom of the league this season than at the top though! Still can't really call it as an outsider. Anyone from Southampton down in feasibly at risk.

LOL Nel that'll please them!
Baggy Boy
02/05/2013 21:09:00
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