Monday 19 August 2019

West Brom on hunt for seasoned boss

Allardyce, Koeman and Pardew linked with succeeding sacked Pulis

Shane Duffy battles it out with Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross during last night’s match at the AMEX Stadium. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Shane Duffy battles it out with Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross during last night’s match at the AMEX Stadium. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

John Percy

West Bromwich Albion have begun the hunt for an experienced manager to guide them to Premier League safety after yesterday sacking Tony Pulis - the man who has never been relegated.

Pulis was dismissed after talks with chairman John Williams following a torrid run of two wins from 21 games, stretching back to last season. The Welshman becomes the fifth top-flight casualty of the campaign.

Despite his record of never being relegated as a manager during a career stretching to more than 1,000 games, Albion felt they were left with no alternative as a result of the disenchantment of supporters over their ultra-defensive style of play.

West Brom were thrashed 4-0 by Chelsea last Saturday - their 11th game without a win - and Pulis endured chants for his dismissal.

Owner Guochuan Lai had made a rare visit to the Hawthorns and discussed his next move with Williams the following day.

The club are already on the hunt for a successor ahead of Saturday's game against Tottenham Hotspur, for which Gary Megson will take temporary charge.

Contenders

Sam Allardyce, Ronald Koeman and Nigel Pearson are emerging as early contenders, while Alan Pardew is likely to be recommended by Nick Hammond, West Brom's technical director, after the pair worked together at Reading. Links with Northern Ireland's Michael O'Neill have been dismissed.

Pulis, meanwhile, has been installed as one of the favourites to succeed Paul Clement if Swansea City make a change and is odds-on for the Wales job after Chris Coleman left for Sunderland.

Williams said: "These decisions are never taken lightly but always in the interests of the club. We are in a results business and, over the back end of last season and this season to date, ours have been very disappointing."

Pulis, 59, signed a new contract in August and will leave with around £2m (€2.25m) in compensation.

Only last Friday he said he would leave with his head held high over his achievements, but his final months were played out against a backdrop of discontent from supporters.

Defeats at Southampton and Huddersfield had intensified the pressure and the result, performance and atmosphere against Chelsea proved to be the final blow.

Pulis replaced Alan Irvine in January 2015 and has undoubtedly left the club in a healthier state, assembling their best squad of the Premier League era and breaking the transfer record with the £18m capture of Nacer Chadli last year.

He guided Albion to 13th and then 14th before the first genuine signs of opposition from fans emerged at the start of last season.

West Brom eventually finished 10th, despite an alarming run in the final two months, yet it was the January transfer window in which it started to go awry.

Albion's refusal to sell Salomon Rondon to Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian for £30m frustrated Pulis, who wanted to use the funds to bring in players such as Watford's Troy Deeney. Rondon has scored just two league goals this year.

Problems then mounted in pre-season when Darren Fletcher quit for Stoke City and Chadli informed Pulis he wanted to leave.

Pulis's trusted deputy, Dave Kemp, also retired.

Grzegorz Krychowiak was recruited on loan from Paris St-Germain at great expense but has struggled in recent games. There have also been injuries to Chadli, James Morrison and Craig Dawson.

West Brom were keen to give Pulis time but recent results forced them to act, with the board believing a new direction is needed to bring supporters back to the Hawthorns. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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