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May 6, 2013
Aaron with the Blue Square prem Trophy at Torquay.

Aaron with the Blue Square prem Trophy at Torquay.

I can still remember the game in which I think Aaron Webster made his Albion league debut.

If I’ve got this right, it was versus Halesowen Town on 22.09.98; a Tuesday 1-0 defeat, with then manager John Barton leaving the club a couple of days later.

I was 12 years old, Year 8 at school.

Today I am exactly a month away from turning 27, and Aaron has been released.

Nearly 15 years, that’s mad.

Do I agree with the decision? Well being honest, no I don’t… Aaron still has so much to offer us I think. He can play in just about every position (GK and right-back are the only positions I’ve not seen him play), has performed well when called upon this season including his MOTM performance at Crewe in the FA Cup, and I think you need people like Aaron at your club, someone who has been there so long and is Albion through and through.

But I can’t question Gary Rowett’s judgement as manager after his fantastic first season in charge so we just have to accept the decsion, despite how saddening it is.

We’ll most probably never know anything like it again, a player being with the club for 15 years. Aaron has played a massive part in our rise through the league’s and left me (and many of you no doubt!) with some great memories.

I remember the 2000/01 season, ‘G’ became penalty-taker. A great local-derby away at Tamworth looked like ending 2-2 after a late equaliser under the floodlight’s for the Lamb’s, until a handball on the line.

It was the 94th minute, there was a delay before the kick could be taken, but Aaron stepped up ice cool and sent one of the best penalties you have ever seen flying past Darren Acton and right into the top corner of the net… you can’t beat last minute winners, especially at Tamworth and that 1 sent us ballistic. A great memory.

Another favourite G goal of mine was up at Gateshead in the Unibond season. A frustrating afternoon looked like ending in defeat, until a late free-kick was lashed in by Aaron. It flew low into the bottom corner, sending us mental about 4 miles back in the stands behind the running-track.

I absolutely loved those early years when Cloughie was manager, and Aaron was such a massive part of that time.

Back in those days Aaron played mainly on the left-wing and up-front, and in my opinion he should’ve stayed playing there and not at left-back.

One of Peschi’s best decisions as manager was to play him as the central attacking midfielder in the 4-2-3-1 formation and this decision was justified with goals.

G was a sold and dependable defender don’t get me wrong, that was proved yet again this season at Coventry and Crewe away for example, but to me a player with that attacking threat should be played in an attacking position.

But hey, who am I to argue with people like Nigel Clough?!

As I sit here typing this and thinking back through them times loads more memories just keep coming – celebrating a last minute winner at Hucknall and Aaron jumping around in the middle of us on his way back from the tea-bar! Going to Kettering to watch him play for the England Non-League XI.

There was the dance G would treat us too after a good result, I think the best one was when we won that bad-tempered game at Chesterfield 2-1.

The home fans were going berserk. Aaron and Shaun Harrad were celebrating not far from the Spireittes, and some of them were giving Aaron and Shaun a mouthful. Aaron just started doing his dance. This grey-haired Chesterfield fan who must’ve been in his 50’s was red-faced and going absolutely crazy, his blood-pressure was soaring. G just kept dancing.

And we’ll never forget that day at Oldham, Aaron slamming in a penalty in the 1st half and nearly getting arrested in the 2nd.

I’ve spoken to Aaron on a few occasions, such as after Southend away when we ensured survival in 2011. “You hear next season Aaron?”, I asked. “Yeah… Well unless Liverpool come in for me.”

Liverpool never came in for him, but Man City once had him up for training when Keegan was manager.

There was always plenty of rumours about bigger clubs showing interest in G, no surprise in that; but maybe a surprise nothing ever came of the interest… obviously to our benefit.

Another time I spoke to Aaron was when he came into my work with Adi Yussuf for some Children In Need fundraising last November.

There was to be a staff FIFA tournament with the winners facing Aaron and Adi Yussuf. I have never put in such a shift on FIFA. I was desperate to play Aaron, and my controller was dripping with sweat after winning my final game to secure a tie against 1 of them.

I ended up playing Adi Yussuf (a very nice lad) and having to beat him instead of Aaron, but I still had a bit of a chat with Aaron who was understandably frustrated at the injury which had disrupted his season so far.

There was also the odd tweet, and Aaron has always tweeted back, he’s always had time for us supporters.

After the Rotherham game in February he listed what he’d taken in painkillers to see him through the game. I tweeted back, and got this reply:

“#cheers Jamie

Saw your face on the 2001 championship winning dvd! #loyalfan”

Little things like that make your day. Back then I spent every penny I had on travelling to watch us at places like Folkestone, Dorchester, Whitby, Colwyn Bay, so to get a message like that from Aaron was, to me, such a nice touch.

Hopefully Aaron will be down at the Pirelli tomorrow night for Corbs testimonial (another club legend leaving as well as Macca!!), but it doesn’t seem real to think after tomorrow night, that’s it, no more G antics down the Pirelli…

Thanks for all the memories Aaron. It won’t feel right without you here, and it definitely won’t feel right seeing you in another team’s colours – and it wouldn’t surprise me if we do next season at the Pirelli because there must be plenty of interested FL clubs.

You’ve gave me – and I’m sure many others – some absolutely priceless memories that I’ll remember and cherish forever, and I wish all you all the best for your future.

Cheers G


From → The Albion.

  1. Steve permalink

    I suppose I feel the same today after that other Albion legend left – Darren Stride. Mind you I hear he playing in Corbs testimonial tomorrow so would be nice to see him too.

  2. Up yours Jamjam that was never a penalty at Tamworth you tart!
    Now Aaron Webster knows who’s been sending him those valentine cards.

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