STEVEN REID: Liam Ridgewell went to a Justin Bieber gig… he didn't even have the excuse of taking his kids – he went with one of the other West Brom lads!
10:01 GMT, 11 March 2013
10:16 GMT, 11 March 2013
Steven Reid is the kind of player everyone wants in their team. He played on with a fractured leg at the Emirates this season and took it upon himself to thrash things out with Peter Odemwingie following the striker's decision to drive to QPR on transfer deadline day. He has just celebrated his 32nd birthday and is now hoping his West Brom team can qualify for Europe… even if some of his team-mates are going to Justin Bieber concerts. Before you read his Footballers' Football Column, watch his video…
Footballer's Football Column: Steven Reid, West Brom
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I didn't know it at the time that I was playing with a broken leg against Arsenal. It happened after about 10 minutes when our keeper, Boaz Myhill, cleaned me out. I knew straightaway that I had a problem. His knee has hit my knee, which was my first concern.
I was struggling for the rest of the half. Then a penalty was given against me (following a 'tackle' on Santi Cazorla) and in my own head at least I thought: 'There's no way I'm coming off now.'
When you have just given a penalty away
and then you come off… you want to stay on the pitch and turn it
around, especially with 60,000 people watching you.
Taking a tumble: Santi Cazorla (19) goes down after a challenge from Steven Reid
Penalty: Arsenal are awarded a penalty after Cazorla goes down after a challenge by Reid, who was playing with a fractured leg
I didn't have anything done at half-time. I was too annoyed about the penalty decision. I went out in the second half and, to be honest, it didn't really affect me too much. I wasn't that conscious of it.
But for two days afterwards, I couldn't walk on it.
I went for an X-ray which didn't show up anything. Then I had a scan and that shows the bone in greater definition and it came up as a fracture and I ended up being five or six weeks out.
Failed move: Peter Odemwingie could not secure his transfer away from West Brom on deadline day
Starting out: Reid played for Millwall alongside Tim Cahill and Neil Harris in 2001
Irish eyes: Reid won 23 caps for the Republic of Ireland
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Obviously when you are out for that long, you get the chance to watch a few games and
I went and sat with the West Brom fans at Wigan. I was under cover, a
big woolly hat covering my face, a big coat on. I was trying to keep
under the radar.
get to sit with the supporters too often, going to a game as a fan, it
gives you a different perspective. I didn't sing along with the songs –
but then I also shied away from giving the players a bit of stick.
I have played in different positions over my career, but I consider myself a right back now.
I'd like to think I could do a job in midfield if there was an injury
crisis but I feel that I have developed that side of my play.
Roy Hodgson was good for us, he did wonders for us. I was learning the defensive side of my game under him. I'm happy to play there.
Since the time I've been here the club has evolved and pushed forwards, that is why we are doing so well. They are getting a better quality of player, the right sort of player.
For example, G-Mac (Gareth McAuley) has been sensational since he arrived. He trains every day the way he plays every game – especially coming from the Championship because he hadn't played much Premier League football.
There are a few lads who have been here for a long time – such as James Morrison – he's arguably our player of the season.
The scouting department isn't going to go out and spend massive money
but we have brought in Claudio Yacob on a free. He's a tough
Argentine, a good character.
And then you have got the likes of Liam Ridgewell…he went to see Justin Bieber the other night! I'd like to offer up the fact that he went with his kids as an excuse – but he didn't…I think he went with George Thorne [West Brom's 20-year-old midfielder].
If we were to qualifying for Europe it would be an amazing achievement.
I was with Blackburn when we qualified for the UEFA Cup after finishing
sixth and it's one of the biggest achievements of my career.
It was a relatively small squad that we had at Blackburn, pretty much the same size as the one we have here at West Brom.
I think it would be the same here. When you are in it, it's tough.
Playing Thursday somewhere in Europe and then again on Sunday.
I don't think the fans get that. It's a
tiring week. It's one thing I can't have that you can't be tired if you
are playing three games in seven days. With the travel, it's hard.
Bieber-mania: Liam Ridgewell (left) went to a Justin Bieber (right) gig with Baggies team-mate George Thorne
I am the patron of the Nystagmus Network which is a charity close to my heart. They support people with a serious eye condition. My son, Harry, aged three was diagnosed with it a while ago. It involves involuntary movement of the eye and hopefully one day there will be a cure but there's not much that can be done at the moment, sadly. Click here for more information…