Steve Clarke has been sacked as manager of West Bromwich Albion.
The following is the statement from the club with my editorial comments in yellow:
“West Bromwich Albion have this evening relieved Head Coach Steve Clarke of his duties and placed him on gardening leave with immediate effect.”
— And a very Merry Christmas to you, West Brom board of directors. And is it really necessary to mention the ‘gardening leave’ in a club statement, as if that’s going to make the news more palatable?
“This was the unanimous decision of the Football Club’s Board of Directors following a disappointing performance throughout 2013.”
— West Bromwich Albion finished in eighth. EIGHTH in the 2012/13 Premier League season. While their current form is unsettling, it’s poor form by West Brom’s board of directors to minimize the club’s excellent 2012/13 season.
“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.”
— ‘Substantial investment’? Clarke spent £13million in the summer transfer window and picked up eight players for that amount. I would hardly call that a substantial investment considering the amount of money West Brom brought in last season with their eighth place finish.
“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.
“Sporting & Technical Director Richard Garlick said: “We have reluctantly come to the decision to relieve Steve of his duties after very careful consideration.
“It has been well documented that we have not had the rub of the green in certain games this season but that does not cloud the generally disappointing points return during this calendar year, culminating in today’s fourth-successive defeat at Cardiff.
— “Thank you” Ramires for helping Clarke get sacked after taking that dive against West Brom at Stamford Bridge to win a penalty.
— Yes, West Brom lost to Cardiff today, and Norwich last week. But the previous two defeats were against Manchester City and Newcastle, hardly two teams that the Baggies or other clubs at their level would be expected to beat. And didn’t the Board of Directors remember West Brom’s 2-1 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford in late September?
“This Club’s track record proves we do not take such decisions lightly, having only enforced a change in this position three times in approximately 14 years.
“But with key games coming thick and fast, we felt it was important we acted now to give the Club the best possible chance of a successful outcome this season.
“Our player wage bill is the highest in the Club’s history and we feel we have built a squad capable of being very competitive in the Premier League.
“We now begin the search to find a new Head Coach who will work within our existing structure, which has been in place for the past six years.”
— Best of luck to you, Baggies. But in my opinion, you’ve made the wrong decision by not sticking by Steve Clarke. You pulled the trigger too quickly.