Mel the man for West Brom
Published 10/01/2014 | 08:12
The Premier League wakes up with a second Spanish boss on Friday morning after West Brom appointed Pepe Mel as their new head coach.
The Baggies decided on Thursday night that the 50-year-old former Real Madrid junior was the right man to replace Steve Clarke on an 18-month contract and he joins Everton's Roberto Martinez as a second representative of Spain's pool of coaching talent in the English top flight.
Clarke was sacked in December as Albion fell into a relegation battle, with the Scot losing his job not long after Mel's December 2 axing by Real Betis.
Mel's biggest crime in Andalusia was being unable to repeat the success of last season, where a seventh-placed finish earned them Europa League football.
But the writing was on the wall this campaign after a heavy 4-0 loss to city rivals Sevilla and he was later sacked.
West Brom are confident, though, that Mel - who lists the likes of Alaves and Getafe amongst his former clubs - is the right man for the job.
Sporting and technical director Richard Garlick said on the club's official website: "I'm delighted to welcome Pepe to the club.
"His appointment concludes an extensive recruitment process during which we have cast the net far and wide to identify the most suitable candidate to take the club forward.
"Pepe was a strong contender from the outset due to his impressive achievements and has emerged as our number one candidate.
"He is a forward thinking coach whose teams are renowned for playing an attractive and positive style of football."
Keith Downing and Dean Kiely, who have led the Baggies with some credit for the five games since Clarke's departure, are to assist Mel.
The pair will be on the touchline against Southampton this weekend, with Mel in the stands.
Garlick added: "The board is extremely grateful to Keith, the coaching staff and players for their efforts over the past month, which has yielded six points from four unbeaten league games.
"Keith will have an important role to play in supporting Pepe as he coaches in England for the first time."
Mel takes over a side out of the FA and League cups and 14th in the Premier League, some four points off the drop zone.