West Brom: The erratic excellence of Somen Tchoyi – a complete one-off


Nathan Carr chronicles Somen Tchoyi’s time at West Bromwich Albion…

It’s the summer of 2010 and West Brom are embarking on a brand new season in the Premier League. Having won promotion from the second tier, Roberto Di Matteo is in charge and the transfer window is in the full swing. Albion had been linked with several names across Europe, but one that kept on popping up was Somen Tchoyi. An unknown quantity, playing his football in Austria with Red Bull Salzburg, it was widely reported that Di Matteo was very keen on bringing the playmaker to England.

Following weeks of negotiation, lengthy preparation work and the bureaucracy of the UK work permit system, the club finally sealed the deal. Tchoyi arrived on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee. At the time no one – and I mean no one – knew who the heck this bloke was.

As a surge in clicks from the West Midlands descended upon Tchoyi’s Wikipedia page it soon became clear that the 27-year-old, 6 ft 3 Cameroonian had no previous experience in British football.  A gamble? Just a bit, but one that Di Matteo had done his homework on. Time would tell whether his decision would pay dividends for the Baggies – then the quintessential year on, year off Premier League to Championship yo-yo team.

It didn’t take long for the new man to grab his first goal, making an instant impact after coming on against Manchester United in a historic 2-2 draw at Old Trafford in October 2010. Having reacted quickest to a calamitous piece of goalkeeping by Edwin Van der Saar, Tchoyi tapped his finish home. This was his proper introduction to the supporters: having been at the game myself, I was immediately fascinated by him. Continue reading