Alan Irvine’s near 7 month long spell in charge at West Bromwich Albion has reached its ugly end, and in truth it always did seem destined to end this way given the completely left-field nature of the appointment by chairman Jeremy Peace last summer.

The Scotsman, who has become increasingly unpopular amongst the Albion fan base in recent weeks, has overseen a difficult winter period within which West Brom have lost seven of nine matches, which has directly led to his departure.

The club’s ongoing slide down the Premier League table set alarm bells off inside the Albion boardroom and according to the Telegraph’s John Percy it was a board meeting early on Monday morning that ended with the conclusion that Irvine was to be dismissed.

West Bromwich’s season has struggled to ever really get off the ground despite positive signs emanating from the club in the summer. The signature of the promising Brown Ideye from Dynamo Kiev for a club record fee was the big signing fans had long hoped for at the Hawthorns. However it is the situation surrounding the Nigerian that has rather poetically characterized the season for the Midlands club.

Ideye has scored just one league goal in only nine appearances since the summer with Albion heavily over reliant on Saido Berahino who has been unable to sustain his excellent start to the campaign.

Supporters will welcome the news of Irvine’s departure however the question of where West Brom go next is an interesting one.

Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood was interviewed in the summer but an agreement could not be reached with Sherwood rumored to have reservations about the setup behind the scenes at the club. Sherwood is still a free agent within the coaching market and West Brom could yet make another play for him.

Interestingly enough in the official club statement confirming Irvine’s departure, the club declare they expect to be able to appoint a successor before the weekend which fuels the flames of speculation that another manager may have already been sounded out prior to this evening’s events.

Albion head to Upton Park for a clash with high flying West Ham on New Year’s Day with assistant head coach Rob Kelly taking charge of the first-team.

West Brom may well face competition from Newcastle United for the services of Tim Sherwood following Crystal Palace’s ongoing pursuit of Alan Pardew whilst Tony Pulis remains an available figure following his heroics with Palace last term.

West Brom do now face the difficulty of appointing a new manager quickly with the January transfer window rapidly approaching within which Albion will have to strengthen. It is an oddly similar situation to last term following Steve Clarke’s dismissal when the club took just under a month to appoint Pepe Mel as his replacement.

Supporters will be hoping for a much quicker appointment this time around as well as one who is significantly more popular than Irvine was amongst the Albion fan base.