This was revealing for two reasons: firstly, he appreciated the support that he had been given by the home fans, and particularly by the fervent support at that end of the ground.
But that is really only half the story, as the interesting bit is the second reason: he was acknowledging the fact that the fans had revealed a banner with the legend ‘Thanks Lokomotiv’. This was in reply to the Moscow club who had also unfurled a banner which stated ‘Thanks West Brom’ but more interestingly had a banana on it.
Those of us without a smattering of Russian would take this as a racist gesture, yet we are told by the head of the Russian World Cup bid of 2018 that this ‘clearly’ means ‘to fail an examination or a test’ and that it is applied to white players as well.
We have a saying in the Black Country that I can’t use here, but suffice to say that we can recognise racism when we see it and so can our new striker – hence his reaction to both the banner and the crowd’s reaction to him.
Not that we are new in recognising heroes – we have a tradition of this in Albion’s history: the ‘Three Degrees’ of Brendon Batson, Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis graced our stadium with flair and style and the Baggies fans recognise that spirit in Peter. Indeed, if he even gets remotely close to emulating the great deeds of ‘big’ Cyrille then he will be a special player indeed. We all wish him well.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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