The managerial circus at West Brom looks as though it’s finally been put to bed. That’s for the time being anyway.
On Tuesday the club confirmed that James Shan would be given the reins until the end of the season, putting weeks of uncertainty behind them.
The West Brom board had been under pressure to deliver a new appointment as soon as possible after Darren Moore’s dismissal and, as the weeks went by, it looked all the more like they never really had a plan in place.
It may be that the board choose to go with Shan long term but that will probably depend on whether they get promoted. However, here are some potential consequences if the 40-year-old was given an extended stay at the Hawthorns.
It’s clear where Shan’s experience lies – in youth coaching. As a result, making the step up to a team on the verge of the Premier League is considerable. But his prior experience in this area could massively benefit West Brom if he was to stay next season.
An increasing theme at the club has seen their best youth players leave. A key one that springs to mind is Izzy Brown. With Shan at the helm, we’ve already seen the likes of Rekeem Harper and Kyle Edwards get more game time and this might be something that convinces their best youth prospects to hang around longer.
The caretaker boss is excellent at developing young talents and his long term appointment would lead to West Brom’s youth academy flourishing, especially Harper and Edwards.
Harper is out of contract at the end of the season and with supporters likely sweating over his future, Shan’s appointment may convince him to sign a new deal.
Earlier in the season under Moore, the Baggies regularly played with a three-man defence. It was a system that was met with mixed results but in the one game Shan has decided to deploy the same formation it’s brought about one of the club’s most convincing performances.
Last weekend they demolished Preston whilst operating with three men in defence and a two-man attack, so it looks as though that would be the way forward if Shan stayed.
Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle have been better when partnered together and, although the latter isn’t likely to be around next season, it’s a system that would work should either Salomon Rondon remain at the club or another striker walks through the door.
Are West Brom going to learn their lesson? Moore was initially a huge hit at the Hawthorns but having never managed a team before it did seem questionable.
Therefore, similar questions would have to be asked if Shan was appointed on a full-time basis at the end of the season.
West Brom’s ambition is clearly to get back in the Premier League but the club may actually suffer considering Shan’s relative inexperience at first-team level.
With players like Chris Brunt still holding a huge influence in the dressing room, it could be another managerial decision that comes back to bite the Baggies’ owners if he was given an extended chance.