WHAT a day it was. A crucial game at the end of a hard-fought season following heartbreak the previous spring.
No, not last weekend’s win against Wigan but the crunch game in 1979 away to Newcastle – the last (and first) time the Albion secured promotion to the top flight.
After the 3-1 victory, then manager Alan Mullery was in pugnacious mood, telling reporters: “We are not going into Division 1 just to survive. We want to make an impact and I know we have the players to do it.”
The celebrations which followed the victory were enormous and hopefully the ones to come this year will dwarf even those.
The champagne party which took place in the North East immediately following the win was followed by a delirious welcome home by crowds of Albion followers the following day.
Back then, more than 100,000 people thronged the streets to pay tribute to players like Brian Horton and Mark Lawrenson as the champagne poured from an open-topped bus which made its way through the city streets.
After the open-topped bus journey it was on to Hove Town Hall, where the players waved from the balcony to thousands of supporters.
Albion’s promotion in 1979 was seen by many (just as this year’s has been) as just desserts following narrowly missing out on promotion the previous season when they were pipped by Tottenham on goal difference.
Interviewed ahead of Albion’s first season in the top flight, then chairman Mike Bamber said: “I know we have got the worst ground in Division Two, and it’s worse than many in Division Three but our talks with the local councils are at an advanced stage and before long we hope to move to a new home.”
If only he’d known!