Them and us – Jason Koumas (West Bromwich Albion and Wigan Athletic)

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Saturday’s trip to the Hawthorns gives TNS the opportunity to look back on the career of a former Latic and Baggie Jason Koumas.

Jason was born in Wrexham on 25th November 1979.  He started his career at Tranmere Rovers after learning his trade with the Liverpool Acasemy.  During his time on the Wirrall he became an accomplished left sided midfielder, scoring 25 goals in 127 appearances.

He made the first of his international appearances for Wales whilst at Prenton Park which was against Ukraine in 2001.  He opted for Wales despite also being eligible to play for Cyprus and from that moment on he was destined for bigger and better things within the game.

Rovers reluctantly allowed Jason to join West Bromwich Albion on 28th July 2002 after receiving an offer of £2, 500, 000 for his services, onr that was too good to turn down, especially as the player himself was keen on the switch.

Jason made his Baggies debut on 31st August 2001 against Fulham at the Hawthorns in a game that resulted in a 1-0 home victory.  He went on to make 103+20 league appearances and netted 23 times in the process.

His time at the Hawthorns saw the Baggies lose and then retain their top flight status, but towards the end of season 2004/05 he fell out with his then manager Bryan Robson and was loaned to Cardiff City at the start of the following season.

His term at Ninian Park was a huge success and he netted 13 times in 44 appearances for the Bluebirds during his season long stint.  City wanted desperately to sign him, but terms could not be agreed between the Welsh outfit and his parent club.

The arrival of Tony Mowbray at the Hawthorns coincided with Jason having a superb season and it came as something of a surprise when he finally left the Midlands for good.

Latics manager Chris Hutchings made Jason his sixth summer signing on 10th July 2007 and he signed a four-year deal at the JJB Stadium.  The fee that the Blues paid to the Baggies for his services was £5.300.000. His first game for the club was on 17th July 2007 whilst the club was on a pre season training camp and the opposition were Dutch Second Division outfit FC Zwolle. Latics ran out 2-0 winners. He made his Latics Premiership debut on 11th August 2007 against Everton at Goodison Park on the opening day of the Premiership 2007/08 Premiership season.

Under Hutchings Koumas enjoyed an almost unbroken stint in the team, but the arrival of Steve Bruce as manager saw him play more games from the bench and it was something of a surprise when he turned down a move to AS Monaco on transfer deadline day. He was also unable to break into Roberto Martinez’s first team plans and throughout season 2009/10 he was offered for loan to several clubs, unfortunately they couldn’t pay Jason’s wages. As at the end of the 2009/10 season he had played 32+22 Premiership games, scoring twice.

On 4th August 2010 he was loaned to Cardiff City for the whole of season 2010/11, upon his return to the DW Stadium he was released.  He is still to find another club as we enter 2012.

The photograph is used by permission of Bernard Platt and Wigan Athletic FC.

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