Gortnahoe Glengoole’s Shane Long is back in the Premiership once more after West Brom Manager Roy Hodgson splashed out in excess of £7m for the former Tipperary minor hurler.
The Republic of Ireland international striker has made the switch from Reading after the Baggies held talks with his advisors over the weekend. The fee is a club record and surpasses the £4.7m Albion paid Real Mallorca for Spanish midfielder Borja Valero three years ago. West Brom’s desire for a new striker was pressing as last season’s leading scorer, Peter Odemwingie, is battling to overcome an ankle problem. And, Manager Roy Hodgson targetted Long to fill the slot after the Tipp man bagged 28 goals in 58 games during last season and caught the eye of a number of Premiership sides. He fired a total of 54 goals in 200 appearances for Reading during his time there.
Long could have a baptism of fire in an Albion shirt as they entertain champions Manchester United in Sunday’s Bar clays Premier League opener at the Hawthorns. The signing is the first monetary outlay of the summer by West Brom after Gareth McAuley, Zoltan Gera and Billy Jones arrived on Bosman free transfers and Ben Foster joined on loan from Birmingham. Hodgson has been pursuing Long all summer after the 24-year-old scored 25 goals last season for Reading to go along with the three he scored for Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland.
Championship side West Ham last month failed with a bid thought to total around £7million with add-ons, for Long but the Royals told Shane Long Long that he could join a top-flight side if the price was right. He had also been linked with Everton and Newcastle.
When the Gortnahoe Glengoole man earned his second cap as a substitute against Slovakia on 28 March 2007 he became the first person to play both hurling and international football at Croke Park, having been part of the Tipperary team for the All-Ireland Minor semi-finals in 2003 and 2004.