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Home away from home

First team kitman Alex Burrows on new surroundings when Albion are on the road.

By Alex Stedman • 29 April 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Alex Burrows prepares Albion changing room away to West Ham United in February.

Much is made of home advantage in football. You’ve got the crowd, the tunnel, the dressing room – all of which are designed with the hosts in mind. 

So, what about the away team? Usually, the changing room is smaller and, of course, the surroundings can be unfamiliar too. 

It’s led Burrows and his staff to add a personal touch on their travels in the Premier League this season and it’s an idea that has gone down well with both players and staff alike. 

“This year we’ve put pictures of each of the lads above their places in the dressing room and put some flags up to try and make them feel like that, although it’s not our ground, it’s our space,” he said. 

“It might give them a little of motivation and the players certainly seem to enjoy it. We’ve been happy with how it’s gone, and it looks really good.

“From the first game of the season at Watford when I put the music on, the responsibility has stuck with me. I update it now and again and, if the lads want specific songs, they’ll go on there too.

“Martin Montoya asked for some more Spanish music, so I’ll look into that. After the game if we get a good result the atmosphere can be great. It’s an important ritual for the lads and it’s a routine that they’re comfortable with when they arrive.” 

By Paul Hazlewood
Burrows gets ready for the arrival of the side away from home.

Everyone loves the thrill of a matchday, in truth there’s nothing quite like it. Burrows admits that watching on from the bench is a real privilege. 

“To be involved at some of these stadiums is quite surreal. All I ever wanted to do when I was growing up was to be a Premier League footballer so you could argue that I’ve got near enough the next best thing.

“To be as close to the action as I am makes me feel very privileged. When I try and explain to people what I do it’s actually quite hard to detail.

"It involves a lot of preparation and forward thinking, as well as being ready to react in the changing room before the game if a player wants something altered. We just try and be as prepared as possible for anything that might happen."

 

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