FACT one: Gary Megson was the Lord of the Manor of West Bromwich in 2002, a title he was awarded for getting Albion promoted to the Premier League.
Sadly, the title did not allow him to sit in the House of Lords. It would have been fascinating to watch him debating the Hunting Bill.
However, the title holder does have the right to put the Lord of the Manor slogan on cheques and credit cards, which must come in very handy when you’re paying for petrol at Watford Gap Services on the way back from a scouting mission at Selhurst Park.
I was reminded of Megson’s year-long reign as Lord of the Manor during his interview with Match of the Day commentator Steve Wilson after Bolton’s 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns today.
Megson, now Bolton’s manager of course, explained how he came to receive the title. (This part of the interview didn’t make it into the MOTD edit, unfortunately, although it can be seen on the BBC Sport website.) Seven years on, he still sounds a bit bemused about the award.
“There’s a local businessman who sponsors it, and he awarded it to me,” Megson said. “I asked him what it was – and apparently it meant I had the right that year to drive sheep and cattle down the M5.”
Well, that would explain why there are so many traffic jams around there.
Tonight’s final match: West Brom 1 Bolton 1
Commentator: Steve Wilson
Fact two: Only five Englishmen have commanded a transfer fee of more than £7million for a single move but have not played for England.
They are: Carl Cort, Dean Richards, Curtis Davies, Anton Ferdinand and Kevin Davies.
That list is set to be reduced to four when Fabio Capello names his England squad to face Slovakia and Ukraine at Wembley – as the last of those five names will probably be in it.
It would be some achievement for Bolton striker Davies, considering that his £7million-plus move – from Southampton to Blackburn – was 11 years ago.
Davies, it is worth remembering, actually needed a trial to convince Sam Allardyce he was worth signing six years ago, so low had his stock fallen towards the end of his second spell at Southampton.
To some, he personifies Bolton’s over-physical approach. To others, he is Wanderers’ most important player; a battering ram of a striker who takes as much punishment as he gives out. I would suggest that, without him, Bolton might have slipped out of the Premier League by now. All of which brings me on to…
Fact three: Since joining Bolton in 2003, Kevin Davies has committed more fouls than any other Premier League over the same period.
As far as Megson is concerned, Davies will have earned his England call-up – at the age of 32 – if it comes.
“If Davo can manage to get himself in there, that’ll be a huge thing for him and for our football club,” Megson said in his post-match interview, before revealing that he had pushed Davies’ case when he bumped into Fabio Capello at Craven Cottage a couple of weeks ago.
Davies didn’t score at The Hawthorns today, but Bolton did – twice. Matty Taylor had them on course for victory, until Danny Shittu deflected Robert Koren’s shot into his own net with nine minutes to go.
Nonetheless, Megson has far more to be chipper about than West Brom’s current manager. Tony Mowbray was not awarded the Lord of the Manor of West Bromwich last year, despite taking Albion to promotion and the FA Cup semi-finals. (Who got it instead? Adrian Chiles? Frank Skinner? Goran Ivanisevic is apparently a West Brom fan – perhaps he won it. Now I could imagine Ivanisevic driving cattle down the M5.)
Anyway, Mowbray is certainly not going to win it this year. But he’s doing his best to keep his spirits up.
“We neede three points,” he said. “Will a point be enough? We’ll wait and see. We’re at that point of the season where players and crowds get nervous and there’s lots of tension about.
“We’ve got to try to hit a run where everybody else gets nervous and we win games.”
West Brom are seven points adrift of safety with eight games to play. It would be a remarkable escape if they stayed up, but it’s an unlikely escape.
1. Fulham: 9 (GD: +1; CD: +1)
2. West Brom: 7 (GD: +1; CD: 0)
3. Wigan: 7 (GD: 0; CD: +2)
4. Middlesbrough: 7 (GD: 0; CD: +1)
5. Bolton: 5 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
6. Capello: 4 (GD: +1; CD: +4)
7. Arsenal: 4 (GD: +1; CD: 0)
8. Blackburn: 4 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
9. West Ham: 3 (GD: 0; CD: +2)
10=. Newcastle: 3 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
10=. Stoke: 3 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
12. Gubba: 2 (GD: +2; CD: +1)
13=. Hull: 2 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
13=. Sunderland: 2 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
15. Manchester City: 1 (GD: +1; CD +1)
16. Portsmouth: 1 (GD: 0; CD: +1)
17=. Everton: 1 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
17=. Tottenham: 1 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
19=. Aston Villa: 0
19=. Chelsea: 0
19=. Liverpool: 0
19=. Manchester United: 0
(NB: Teams level on points will be separated by Gubba difference: the number of times a team is last on Match of the Day with Tony Gubba commentating. If they are still level, they will be separated by Capello difference: the number of times a team is last on MOTD with Fabio Capello present.)