So, the rumours were true and Slaven Bilic received his marching orders at West Brom this morning with the club confirming his departure in a statement, it said:
“West Bromwich Albion have today parted company with Head Coach Slaven Bilić.
“Assistant Coaches, Dean Računica and Danilo Butorović, and First Team Coach Julian Dicks have also left the club with immediate effect.”
Perhaps the writing was on the wall for the Croatian and his coaching staff – the Baggies were only just dragged over the line to promotion last term, and have indeed won just nine league matches since the turn of the year.
Albion are currently second-from-bottom in the Premier League, though after last night’s impressive 1-1 draw with Manchester City, they are merely one win from safety – depending on Burnley’s game-in-hand.
Evidently, the decision to let him go was made before the trip to the Etihad and probably sometime after their embarrassing 5-1 defeat to Crystal Palace a couple of weeks ago.
According to multiple sources, Sam Allardyce is the front-runner to take the helm at the Hawthorns – the 66-year-old has been out of work since leaving Everton in May 2018.
The former Blackburn, Bolton, West Ham and Sunderland boss has never been relegated, though the challenge in the west Midlands could prove to be his hardest challenge yet.
He’ll be working under a chairman unwilling to spend or invest – it’s even been claimed that Bilic was on the verge of resigning in October following frustrations over the sale of Ahmed Hegazi and the club’s transfer strategy throughout the summer. He missed out on multiple targets.
This appointment feels eerily similar. Go back to 2017 when Tony Pulis was sacked by Guochuan Lai.
The Chinese businessman turned to an ‘experienced’ head in Alan Pardew but in reality, his time in the Premier League was already done and that has been proven since as he’s only been in charge Dutch strugglers ADO Den Haag since for a very brief stint.
Allardyce came out of retirement to take charge of the Toffees and hasn’t been in the game for over two seasons, so can he really be the man to steer the Baggies to safety this time.
His reputation says yes, but the likelihood isn’t the same as it once was. Pardew only lasted until April before he was given his P45. It would not be a surprise to see the same happen here.
Ultimately, this appears to be a potentially fatal call from Lai. We’ve seen it before and here we are again.