Written by Sam Bettany
The EFL Championship looms closer for West Bromwich Albion, with relegation all but confirmed for some time as the club remains rock bottom of the Premier League. Just three wins all season and an eighth consecutive defeat last Saturday to Burnley at The Hawthorns meant Alan Pardew left his position with the West Midlands club.
The appointment of Tony Pulis in 2015 seemed like a suitable appointment to give West Brom some consistency within the Premier League after contrasting previous seasons finishing a league high of 8th in 2012/13 then just surviving 17th in 2013/14. But his sacking part way through this season became problematic as ironically most sides like West Brom would look to appoint a Pulis-type manager to keep their team afloat of relegation.
They opted to bring in Alan Pardew in November of last year, giving the Englishman a good period of time, including a transfer window, to get the team out of an early mess. Not much tactical nous but with a lot of Premier League managerial experience and a reputation of making great starts at clubs, it was probably worth a long shot. Just one win in his 18 games as Baggies boss, not helped by many off the field incidents involved players, has likely seen has final chance blown as a Premier League manager.
Whilst caretaker manager Darren Moore is in position to see out the remaining games of their dismal season, the board will be working hard to make the right appointment and get the club (eventually) back into the top flight. Some of the bookies early contenders including Leicester City assistant manager Michael Appleton, Ipswich Town’s Mick McCarthy and an outside shout for Östersunds FK boss Graham Potter.
Whilst all those managers seem fairly solid choices on paper, a smart move might be to appoint Nigel Pearson and Craig Shakespeare in both managerial and assistant managerial roles at the club. Both men were caretaker managers of West Brom back in 2006, with Shakespeare playing for the club for three seasons during his playing career, making well over 100 appearances.
Pearson has a great record and amount of experience in the Championship and could be easily lured from his current position with Leicester City feeder club OH Leuven in the Belgian second tier. Shakespeare has worked closely with Pearson for several seasons whilst at Leicester and West Brom. On top of this, Shakespeare boasts recent managerial experiences in the Premier League and Champions League.
Pearson managed a 1.61 points per match (ppm) average during his second spell with Leicester City, which includes the Premier League season in which he revitalised the club from rock bottom to 14th place in the final few games. Appleton and Potter have never managed at Championship level, whilst Mick McCarthy ends his reign with the Tractor Boys this summer with a lower 1.40 ppm (as of 4th April).
There is no doubt that Nigel Pearson comes with some arrogance and character, but that is maybe what is needed at the club in order to bounce back. The fans want to see some longevity and a manager with desire for the club, and they would certainly get that in both Pearson and Shakespeare.
Promotion at the first ask is tougher than ever before, and more clubs are finding themselves making back-to-back falls (look at Sunderland). But the Baggies have a great record of bouncing back into the Premier League and will be hoping whoever they do appoint in the summer can maintain that reputation during a much-needed re-build.
West Brom fans, what do you make of these thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image credit The Scottish Sun