West Bromwich Albion have sacked Steve Clarke as their manager on Saturday night.
WBA are 16th in the Premier League with 15 points from 16 games. The Baggies are two points above Crystal Palace, who are third bottom of the league.
Clarke’s last match in charge of West Brom was the 1-0 defeat at Cardiff, which was settled by a Peter Whittingham header midway through the second half.
West Brom made the announcement on their website saying:
West Bromwich Albion have this evening relieved Head Coach Steve Clarke of his duties and placed him on gardening leave with immediate effect.
This was the unanimous decision of the Football Club’s Board of Directors following a disappointing performance throughout 2013.
Albion have won only seven of their 34 Barclays Premier League games during the calendar year – a 20 per cent win percentage yielding a total of only 31 points – despite a substantial investment in the first-team squad.
Joint-Assistant Head Coach Keith Downing will assume control of first-team affairs whilst the Club considers all available options for a new Head Coach.
What seems clear from Steve Clarke’s post match interview after the loss to Cardiff was that the coach did not expect to be sacked before he went to bed that night.
From Albion’s view, however, fearing relegation after a run of four straight defeats heading into Christmas, the board had little option other than to sack the boss just before Christmas if they had lost faith in his abilities to win.
West Brom’s next run of games are Hull (h), Tottenham (a), West Ham (a), Newcastle (h) on New Year’s Day.
Below are a series of Tweets on the West Brom sacking of Steve Clarke.
Longest serving manager in English football: Arsène Wenger (17 years, 74 days). 2nd in line: Paul Tisdale (Exeter, 7 years, 171 days)
— Ouriel Daskal (@Soccerissue) December 14, 2013
Clarke sacking is the more intriguing given praise WBA usually, rightly, get for being a well run, stable club that looks to the long term.
— Owen Gibson (@owen_g) December 14, 2013
West Brom's DoF structure means this decision makes sense (albeit not in a traditional manner). Doesn't mean Clarke isn't a v good coach.
— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) December 14, 2013
Who's to blame at the Albion? All the new signings been flops. Anelka worst of the lot? Richard Garlick to take his portion of blame? #WBA
— James Fielden (@James_Fielden) December 14, 2013
Always going to be a time when WBA lost momentum. Take away Lukaku, and before him Odemwingie, and that's a lot of goals to make up
— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) December 14, 2013