I commented in my equivalent post last season how rare an opening day victory has been for the Baggies in the last few decades, and a year later we get another one!
The last time that Albion recorded opening day victories in successive seasons was the two seasons spent in the third tier of English football which, of course, coincided with the birth of the Premier League 25 years ago. In 1991, Albion’s first ever game in the Third Division resulted in an impressive 6-3 home win over Exeter City thanks to a brace of penalties from current Leicester City boss, Craig Shakespeare, two goals from Don Goodman and a goal each from Adrian Foster and Paul Williams. It was a strong opening from Bobby Gould’s side in a season that ultimately ended in failure and, when the next season kicked off, Ossie Ardiles was in charge and the Baggies recorded a 3-1 home win over Blackpool with a brace from Bob Taylor and a goal from Bernard McNally.
The last time Albion recorded successive opening day victories in the top flight was in the late seventies with home wins over Chelsea in 1977 (3-0, Tony Brown 2 and Nicky Cross) and Ipswich in 1978 (2-1, Tony Brown and Ally Brown).
To find an instance where one of two successive opening day fixtures was away from home, we have to go back all the way to the great side of the 1950s. In August 1952, two goals from Ronnie Allen, one from George Lee and an own goal from Spurs centre half, Harry Clarke, helped Albion to a 4-3 victory at White Hart Lane (future England manager, Alf Ramsey, scored from the spot for the hosts). The Baggies were officially managed by committee at that time, with Jesse Carver the coach, but a year later, the great Vic Buckingham was in charge and Albion kicked off the 53/54 season, one that saw them almost win the double, with a 2-0 win at home to Arsenal with Johnny Nicholls scoring both goals.
|Comparison of Equivalent Fixtures^|
|2016/2017 Results||AFC Bournemouth (H)||W||2-1|
|2002/2003||17/08/2002||Manchester United (A)||L||0-1|
|2004/2005||14/08/2004||Blackburn Rovers (A)||D||1-1||Clement|
|2005/2006||13/08/2005||Manchester City (A)||D||0-0|
|2011/2012||14/08/2011||Manchester United (H)||L||1-2||Long|
|2012/2013||18/08/2012||Liverpool (H)||W||3-0||Gera, Odemwingie (pen), Lukaku|
|2014/2015||16/08/2014||Sunderland (H)||D||2-2||Berahino (2, 1 pen)|
|2015/2016||10/08/2015||Manchester City (H)||L||0-3|
|2016/2017||13/08/2016||Crystal Palace (A)||W||1-0||Rondón|
|2017/2018||12/08/2017||AFC Bournemouth (H)||W||1-0||Hegazi|
|2002/2003||24/08/2002||Leeds United (H)||L||1-3||Marshall|
|2004/2005||22/08/2004||Aston Villa (H)||D||1-1||Clement|
|2005/2006||20/08/2005||Portsmouth (H)||W||2-1||Horsfield (2)|
|2008/2009||23/08/2008||Everton (H)||L||1-2||Bednar (pen)|
|2012/2013||25/08/2012||Tottenham Hotspur (A)||D||1-1||Morrison|
* Positions are recorded as Albion’s position in the Premier League table after all fixtures for that day have been completed.
^ Fixtures against promoted clubs are compared against fixtures against the relegated clubs from last season with the club finishing 1st in the Championship compared against the club finishing 18th in the Premier League, 2nd compared with 19th and the play-off winners compared against the club who finished bottom.