Baggies choose Allardyce
After the sacking of Slaven Bilic, West Brom have confirmed that Sam Allardyce will take over as head coach on an 18-month contract. Allardyce has been pivotal in a number of Premier League clubs securing Premier League survival, and now the Baggies have turned to the former Newcastle coach to save them from a seemingly inevitable drop.
Allardyce has not managed since he left Everton in 2018. He has also taken charge of Crystal Palace, Sunderland, West Ham United, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle and Bolton. The 66-year-old was even appointed England manager for a short spell, but left due to allegations of malpractice.
West Brom technical director Luke Dowling explained: “In Sam we have a man who has a proven Premier League pedigree with a track record of improving every club he has managed. We believe and, more importantly, Sam believes we have a group of players that have the quality needed to give the club its best chance of Premier League survival.”
We are delighted to confirm the appointment of Sam Allardyce as our new Head Coach ✍️
— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) December 16, 2020
Allardyce is yet to comment on his appointment.
The right decision?
Despite earning a point away to Manchester City on Tuesday, Bilic was nevertheless relieved of his duties.
A club statement wrote: “Albion would like to thank Slaven and his coaching staff for their efforts in achieving promotion last season and wishes them all well in the future. The club will make no further comment at this time.”
Considering the fact that the former West Ham coach had earned the club promotion back to the Premier League, the swiftness of the decision to move him on proved surprising, regardless of the recent point against Manchester City.
Bilic had also shown that his side were capable of producing in attack on occasion, having previously taken a 3-goal lead against Chelsea. The defensive side of West Brom’s game became a problem, though, with their most damning result of late a 2-0 loss to Fulham. Nevertheless, the Baggies remained just 2 points from safety in the Premier League table, and 3 points off 16th-placed Brighton.
Results against the clubs around them are likely to have proven central to Bilic’s dismissal, but losing Matheus Pereira to a controversial red card against Crystal Palace is also relevant.
The Baggies are set to face Liverpool and Arsenal in addition to Leeds United and Aston Villa before the January transfer window opens. The decision, in turn, feels somewhat premature. Had Bilic been given a few more games following the confidence boost of bagging a point against City, combined with the return of Pereira, results could have continued positively.
But the choice has been made, and Allardyce will now be given less than half a month to assess his squad, to ascertain what exactly needs to be done in January in an attempt to secure Premier League survival.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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