ACCRINGTON'S Richard Chaplow admitted that West Brom's dramatic survival in the Premiership had justified his decision to make the move from Burnley.
The 20-year-old left the Clarets in a £1.5m move to join the Baggies in January but, with them fighting a relegation battle, many felt he would be playing Championship football again next season.
But, against all odds, Bryan Robson's side survived on the final day of the campaign last Sunday and the midfielder is now ready to get a full season under his belt in the top flight.
"A few people asked me what was the point of the move saying I would be in the Championship next season as we had such a big deficit to make up," said Chaplow.
"It could have happened but I had the feeling we could do it.
"We have proved everyone wrong and I am ecstatic. I am just glad to be able to play football in the Premiership next season."
Chaplow, a former Accrington Cricket Club wicketkeeper and St Josephs FC Junior player, was only involved from the sidelines as he tore the medial ligaments in his knee and missed the final three games of the season. And it was gutting after he has showed signs of what is to come with a starring role in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham last month where he impressed everyone - including the gaffer.
"He has the potential to be a top player," said boss Robson "I am hoping he will prove to be a bargain. He just needs more experience in the Premier League."
And now he can get just that.
"It will be good to get a pre-season under my belt, get fit and then have a good crack next season at facing Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and the rest," said the England Under 21 player.
But he doesn't want to go through the agony of last Sunday's relegation showdown again.
He admitted watching the game against Portsmouth - which bottom club West Brom needed to win to stay up against the odds while Norwich, Crystal Palace and Southampton had to draw or lose - was painful.
"It was nerve racking - it would have been easier playing!" said Chaplow, who was pictured partying with the rest of his team-mates in a suit in the dressing rooms after the game.
"I was with Andy Johnson, who is injured as well, and we went to the bar and watched it on television as we needed a few drinks to calm our nerves. The tenion was unbearable. The scores were coming in with Southampton winning, then Norwich losing and then Crystal Palace winning and it was tense.
"But then it suddenly turned our way and when we learnt we had stayed up it was just unbelievable. Captain Kevin Campbell has won the Championship but he said this was the best feeling.
"We have made history as no team, bottom at Christmas, has stayed up.
"We obviously have had a good party - and will carry on for a short while!"
And he will be able to after it was feared he would need a summer operation but it now looks unlikely
"It was thought I might have to have one on my cartilage but it is fine now, thankfully."
While he was celebrating, fellow Accrington-born player Brett Ormerod was commiserating after he was part of the Southampton side who were relegated from the Premiership on the same day.
But the striker could still be in the top flight next season as promoted Wigan are thought to be keen to snap up the former Accrington Stanley player, after he had a loan spell there earlier this season.