West Brom have the stadium, the fan base and undoubtedly the best squad in the Championship. The only thing they are lacking is a top class manager who can guide them back to the Premiership and establish the club as one of the game’s elite.
More than 30 coaches have reportedly applied for the vacant position left by Bryan Robson and it is vital that Jeremy Peace appoints the right man for the job. It’s one of the most attractive positions in the game at the moment and it’s not a surprise that so many names have been linked with the job. However Peace has to make the crucial decision of appointing one as the next manager.
Here I take a look at the credentials of some of those in the running.
The Burnley boss is widely regarded as one of the brightest young managers in the game and has emerged as clear favourite for the vacant post. His managerial record speaks for itself having taken Cheltenham from non-league football to League 1 in five seasons, securing FA Trophy glory on the way, and currently has Burnley challenging for a promotion place. But for all of his achievements he is still untried at the highest level and if West Brom are serious about winning promotion and establishing themselves as a Premiership club then this could be a gamble.
The former Wimbledon and Nottingham Forest boss has been out of the game for the past two years but has been linked with the job. Kinnear has always won more games than he’s lost at every club he’s been at but his brand of football is unlikely to entertain the fans. But does Peace want a winning team or an entertaining team?
The Hibernian manger has won rave plaudits for his style of football where attack really is the best form of defence. The fans have flooded back to Easter Road as they know they are going to be entertained and he has a real eye for raw talent. West Brom have a squad of players that could destroy the rest of the Championship under the right manager and that man could be Mowbray. However having reportedly turned down the chance to manage former clubs Middlesbrough and Ipswich in the summer I would be surprised if he left Edinburgh for Sandwell, but it would be an amazing coup.
Big Eck has been a winner at every club he’s been at. As a player he won it all at Aberdeen, including the European Cup Winners Cup and Super Cup, and as Rangers boss scooped every domestic trophy available. He even won relegation with Hibernian, but credit to the big man he did bring them back up.. He’s a bright, honest and articulate manager and is looking to get back into management. McLeish would be a great appointment and it would be interesting to see how he works with former Celtic hero John Hartson, who he tried to sign for Rangers.
Glenn was regarded as one of the best young managers in the country following his exceptional work with Swindon before taking over at Chelsea and then landing the England job. Unfortunately his off-the-field remarks have been his undoing and he’s failed to do anything of note since. He was one of the game’s great players but following a poor spell in charge at neighbours Wolves his appointment would go down worse than Robson’s arrival.
The Scot has been out of management since his ill-fated move to Newcastle and I think his appointment would get the same sort of reaction from the Baggies fans as it did from the Magpies. Nobody can deny that the former hardman of Liverpool and Rangers was a great player but his career as a manager has left many unconvinced. This wouldn’t be the right move for either party.
The former Charlton boss was the fans’ favourite for the job when the situation first became vacant but has since distanced himself from the post. He worked miracles at The Addicks and many felt that he could have been the one to cement the Baggies place in the top flight. However it looks as though there is next to no chance of him arriving in the Midlands.
Another former Wolves manager who is doing great things at Championship leaders Cardiff City. Has a great understanding of the game and knows how to get the best out of players and it would be a real scoop if he was to leave Cardiff for The Hawthorns.
Highly respected in the game, the current Coventry boss rules with an iron rod but is very fair and has a great relationship with all his players. He knows all about winning promotion after success at Fulham, Brighton and Leicester and saved the Sky Blues from the drop last season. He would love another crack at the Premiership and would surely have more chance to achieve that at West Brom than Coventry.
The former Blackburn and Aberdeen striker has worked wonders at Kenilworth Road and would no doubt be a hit with the Baggies fans. He is tactically astute and demands 100 per cent from his players. His no-nonsense style of management would appeal to most fans.
Who Peace appoints next will say an awful lot about his ambition for the club. Hopefully for the fans’ sake he picks a man that will excite them and get them back to where they belong.
Who would you like to see in charge at The Hawthorns? Let me know.
30 September 2006