West Brom need to plan for the future and appoint James Shan next season

For now, the managerial saga at West Brom has been put on hold. Ever since Darren Moore was sacked there’s been an alarming lack of response from the Baggies board.

Surely, with the season reaching its climax, you would have had a plan B in mind. Apparently not. Because if you’re on the board at the Hawthorns, things are never simple.

But simple is what they now must do. The appointment this week of James Shan until the end of the season is essentially a knee jerk reaction to Alex Neil signing a new deal with Preston but they must stick with him long term.

For all the world, it looked like the Scot was going to take the reins at West Brom last week. However, after his side suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Albion at the weekend, perhaps his mind was changed.

Neil has experience of taking Norwich from the Championship to the Premier League before and it’s likely he would have been perfectly placed to possibly do the same with West Brom.

But with Shan, a sense of stability can be found. Their decision to hire Moore in the final weeks of the 2017/18 Premier League season eventually ended in disarray but they’ve already proven that inexperience doesn’t count for much.

Long term future needs to be considered

For once, West Brom need to look at the future. The club are obviously targeting a return to the Premier League as soon as possible and that’s completely fair enough. But let’s forget about that and the money that comes with it for a second.

It’s hard to tell what’ll happen down the line, that’s the nature of football. Things could end disastrously with Shan but there is at least a sense that there could be some stability.

A change of thinking is necessary. After all, West Brom have been a yoyo club for a considerable period of time.

They’ve also gone through their fair share of managers and the fact only three bosses have led the club in over 100 matches since 1997 tells you all you need to know in that regard. In total, West Brom’s managers average 107 games per spell.

Investing time in Shan can help right those issues. Pepe Mel is a fine example of where things went drastically wrong.

And although targeted managers Slavisa Jokanovic and David Wagner have fared well in the Championship, their records in the Premier League speak for themselves.

Shan is inexperienced and will need the help of additional coaches, which he’s now got in Steven Reid, but there’s no better time to learn than in the heat of a promotion battle.

Youth will stick around

Another wrong West Brom must make right is a failure to stick by their flourishing youth academy. Players such as Kemar Roofe, Tyler Roberts and Izzy Brown are ones that got away but by keeping Shan in charge, there could be an easier pathway into the first team for their upcoming stars.

Having managed the Baggies’ U23s he knows the players at that level all too well and that’s symbolic of the game time he’s given to Kyle Edwards and Rekeem Harper since he took caretaker charge.

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Harper is out of contract at the end of the season but might he sign a new deal if there are assurances that Shan sticks around? Quite possibly.

The topic of young West Brom players leaving the club has been a concern for some time too, with a thread from Twitter in January detailing some of their frustrations.

Shan’s record of developing young players at the club is notorious and with him at the helm, Premier League or not, they’d be assured of longer-term stability.

Football is a cut throat business, managers seem to come and go on a regular basis but West Brom simply have to ignore that and trust in one of their own.