West Brom endured a difficult campaign in the Premier League this season and only just survived the drop to the Championship.
Boss Pepe Mel left on Thursday after just five months in charge. The departure of the Spaniard may have surprised some, but it seems that it was not a surprise to anybody connected with the club.
Mel’s appointment was always a gamble and I do not think he was the right man for the job or his style of management fitted the Premier League.
The fact that he did not speak English did not help his cause and it seems that the Baggies fans and players were never quite convinced by his methods.
Mel seems like a nice guy and in his homeland is relatively highly-rated, but he was never well suited to English football. The 51-year-old is likely to return home this summer and has been heavily linked with the Malaga job.
The experienced boss’ reputation does not seem to have been harmed by his stint in English football and no doubt he has learnt a few things along the way.
Not only has Mel left the Hawthorns, but a whole host of players have joined the former-Real Betis boss in leaving the club. Those players are Steven Reid, Zoltan Gera, Diego Lugano and Liam Ridgewell.
The likes of Ridgewell, Lugano and Reid were all regulars last season, while Gera’s season was hampered by injury problems. Loan stars Morgan Amalfitano, Scott Sinclair, Matej Vydra, Goran Popov and Thievy Bifouma have also returned to their parent clubs.
All in all ten players from last season’s first team squad have left the Baggies and that will leave a massive hole in their squad for next season that will not be easy to fill.
The next West Brom manager will have a major rebuild on their hands at the Hawthorns. Maybe after such a close call with relegation the West Brom squad needed a shake-up. However, the likes of Ridgewell and Reid still seemed like they had something to offer the team.
West Brom now needs to go out and replace the departed players and that is likely to cost money, which the Baggies have not been keen on spending in recent years. The likes of Gera, Ridgewell and Reid are experienced campaigners, even if they are not the best technically they offer Premier League know-how.
West Brom also has to replace Pepe Mel and have been linked with a number of names since the Spaniards departure. The favourite for the job with the bookmakers seems to be former-Cardiff boss Dave Jones.
I doubt that many Baggies fans will be thrilled by the idea of the experienced boss being their new boss though. His last managerial role was at Sheffield Wednesday, as the Owls struggled in the Championship.
The likes of Malky Mackay and Gianfranco Zola have also been linked with the role and they may prove to be more popular appointments. Both have shown promise in their managerial careers so far and are at the opposite end of their careers to Jones.
Jones may be the cheap option, but I believe that the younger bosses would be better fits for the club from the Midlands. West Brom has had a lot of managers in recent seasons, so their next choice of boss needs to be right or they could struggle next season.
The West Brom board have been far too trigger-happy with bosses in recent years. The sacking of Steve Clarke really was a strange one. The team may not have been in great shape, but the Scot had the experience to turn the situation around.
Clarke had proved the season before that he could turn the Baggies into a good solid Premier League outfit, yet the Baggies board panicked at the first sign of a bad run and appointed a foreign boss that had no experience of the English game. Was not exactly a masterstroke was it, despite the Baggies surviving the drop.
I have to say I have always liked West Brom as a club. The Baggies seem like a good, local family club. However, if I were a West Brom fan I would be very worried at this moment in time, because the club now have an even smaller squad and no manager.
Unless the West Brom board act quickly then the club from the Midlands could very experience another season of relegation dodging in the new campaign.
Who is the right boss to take West Brom forward next season?
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