The biggest news of last month’s transfer window for West Brom was the departure of Shane Long to Premier League rivals Hull City. Long potentially had eighteen months left on his contract, six months with the option of an extra season. The undisclosed fee, thought to be between six and a half to seven million pounds, is considered as excellent business by Peace for some Albion fans, but for others extremely frustrating.
The opinions of the fans have been extremely variable, from the extreme of some relieved to see the back of the Irish international to others absolutely devastated and worrying about the team’s future in the Premier League. The reasoning of those happy to see Shane Long head for the exit door was that he was paid to score goals, which did not happen regularly, the statistic twenty two goals in eighty seven appearances in all competitions for West Bromwich Albion (nineteen in eighty one in league), therefore a brilliant bit of business by Jeremy Peace, gaining around seven million pounds for a striker who struggled to find the back of the net. However, many supporters have been distraught at the news, Long, having been one of the main players in the squad and in his time at the Hawthorns, was a brilliant player who scored some vital goals. The striker was the best thing since sliced bread in the Midlands derby against Aston Villa, putting the home side 2-0 up and scoring his best and last goals for the Albion, before the team conceding two and the match ending in a draw.
During his time in the Black Country, Shane Long was known for his pace, quality in the air and terrific work rate. The move to Hull may be a good one for his career, with many journalists having said that Long would not fit in with new manager Pepe Mel’s style of play, and him alongside former Everton frontman Nikica Jelavic could produce a deadly duo. The Republic of Ireland international was given advice on joining Hull, by his international teammates Robbie Brady, Paul McShane, David Meyler and Stephen Quinn, who are currently playing for the Tigers. Many fans will remember his debut goal against Manchester United, in front of the Smethwick End and the away fans. Shane Long has scored many memorable goals for the Baggies, one of the most significant is his strike against Manchester City in the 2012/13 season, not remembered for the nature of the finish but the message he had on a printed shirt underneath, showing ‘We Know What We Are,’ which has since been picked up as a chant for Albion fans.
From the perspective of the player, this switch is a move in the right direction, away from under-performing West Brom and playing every week at Hull, pushing for a top half finish. Long has been scoring regularly and formed a terrific strike-force partnership with ex-Everton man, Nikica Jelavic. However, from the perspective of his former club, he has left behind their inconsistent club who are fighting to keep their Premier League status and made a very effective move to Hull where he is scoring goals an Albion fan could only wish for. A very talented player who is missed by many.
By Anjali Patel