West Brom fires coach Steve Clarke
West Bromwich Albion moved to halt its slide down the English
Premier League by firing coach Steve Clarke on Saturday, hours
after the club slumped to a fourth straight loss.
Clarke lasted just 18 months in his first full-time managerial
position, having previously been assistant coach at Chelsea – where
he worked under Jose Mourinho in two straight league title-winning
campaigns – West Ham and Liverpool.
Clarke guided West Brom to an eighth-place finish in the Premier
League last season but Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Cardiff left the
team just two points and two places above the bottom three. In
2013, West Brom has won seven of 34 games, picking up only 31
points in that period.
”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,” sporting and technical director
Richard Garlick said in a statement.
”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.”
Clarke is the fourth coach to lose his job in the Premier League
this season, after Paolo Di Canio (Sunderland), Ian Holloway
(Crystal Palace) and Martin Jol (Fulham). Clarke’s assistant, Kevin
Keen, was also removed.
Joint assistant coach Keith Downing will temporarily be in
control of the first team until a permanent replacement is
West Brom has arguably its strong squad in years, having broken
the club’s transfer record twice on deadline day in September to
sign Stephane Sessegnon and Victor Anichebe for a combined 12
million pounds ($19.5 million).
But the loss of striker Romelu Lukaku, who scored 17 goals on
loan at the Baggies from Chelsea last season, has been keenly felt.
A win at Manchester United – its only victory in its last 10 games
– and a draw at Chelsea have been rare positive results.
In its statement, West Brom said the board made a ”unanimous
decision” and took into account results as a whole in a
”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,” Garlick said.
Clarke took over at West Brom after Roy Hodgson left to become
Its next game is at home to Hull on Saturday.