West Brom may be the only team in the Premiership to have received two written apologies this year. The first was from Howard Webb for missing a foul in the game against Stoke which would have given us a penalty and maybe a win and not a draw. The second was from the referee against Chelsea for giving a penalty in the last minute leading to a Chelsea equaliser. The absence of this penalty, so close to the final whistle, would also have given us a win rather than a draw.
These four points would have pushed the Baggies up the league a few places and would have meant that the accusation raised against Steve Clarke, the manager we sacked just before Christmas, that we were under-performing, would not have looked so convincing. I know that our calendar year results have been poor and our good position at the end of the 2012/13 season was largely predicated on a good first half of the season but, given the level of investment we can manage as a club, 8th-10th in the Premiership currently represents success for us. Basically we are regularly towards the top of the league of the rest. I count the 'big' clubs, with whom we cannot compete financially, as the two Manchesters, the two Liverpool clubs, Chelsea and Arsenal. Tottenham and Newcastle should also be part of this cartel but haven't been able to nail their membership through consistent results.
So four more points, taken from us dodgily, and we would probably still have Clarke for a bit longer.
Our new man, Pepe Mel, was sacked by Real Betis last autumn in similar circumstances. Having got his club promoted he was then dismissed when a run of poor form saw them looking to avoid relegation rather than pushing on. He had got them into Europe.
Sometimes the only change a club owner can make to his investment is the manager. It is the route taken too often.
That said, Mel looks a good guy who has long wanted to manage in England. If he is poor he will last 12-18 months and then we will sack him. If he is good he will last 12-18 months and one of the big eight will steal him.
Welcome to our world. Manchester United. Come on down.