Shilen Patel reportedly sat down with the West Bromwich Albion players for their pre-match meal before their most recent draw with Queens Park Rangers, according to Jed Wallace. The players’ initial reactions were largely positive, as was the opinion of the supporters.

Following his majority buyout of the team from Guochuan Lai at the end of February, Patel became the new chairman and owner of Albion. The Floridian has already attended games against Southampton and QPR, and he plans to bring his family back to England eventually to watch Albion play. Patel recently witnessed a tense 2-2 tie between Albion and QPR in London, but before he used the occasion to have a chat with the team and share some bread.

In the absence of a natural center forward, captain Wallace has led the line for Albion in recent weeks. Wallace appreciated Patel’s efforts to build rapport with Wallace and his teammates as he provided support for their attempt to return to the Premier League at the third attempt. Wallace scored in the Baggies’ 2-0 victory over Bristol City on Saturday.

“To be honest, it was really inspiring what he said to us,” Wallace said of the man who came to introduce himself to the boys and spoke to us prior to the QPR game. He remarked, “This season, we have a chance to truly make the fans proud, and we shouldn’t take that opportunity for granted. He joined us for a pre-match lunch, which was lovely to see.

“Being around other players goes a long way, and I know he’s excited to come watch a lot of our games, which is how it should be. Everyone on the ground crew up feels that we’re moving in the right path.

Albion’s convincing win against the Robins at The Hawthorns on Saturday has solidified their spot in the play-off spots. Even though the Tigers still have a game left and manager Carlos Corberan has stressed that no complacency will be allowed in Albion’s final stretch, they are eight points ahead of Hull City, who are now in seventh place. It’s still a highly sought position that they hold.

Many would have been extremely and happily surprised if you had told a fan that, after 38 games of this season, they would have such a coveted lead over the chasing pack, despite the financial uncertainties of the time and the disappointment of missing out on the top six on the last day of the previous season. But Albion have a lot of talent in their ranks and a leader who is getting the best out of the team he has at his disposal.

Wallace continued, “We always understood the quality we had here – and the manager we have.” As a club, we’ve done well; we didn’t make a lot of noise. Because of how well the team has performed, there hasn’t been any animosity surrounding the club.

“We’ve been together at the training facility and with the supporters from the opening day of the season, as I stated. They have endured our patience because, although the best teams these days play differently from ten years ago, games now resemble chess matches.