In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, former West Brom and England midfielder Carlton Palmer has offered insight into how Slaven Bilic’s relationship with sporting director Luke Dowling might have broken down.
The Baggies sacked the Croatian earlier this week, less than 24 hours after picking up an impressive 1-1 draw at Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
They acted very quickly in finding a successor as Premier League veteran Sam Allardyce was appointed on an 18-month contract with the sole aim to steer Albion to safety.
Bilic led West Brom to promotion from the Championship last term, but could only manage seven points from their opening 13 matches, though he largely missed out on numerous transfer targets throughout the summer window.
He even saw a key member of his squad in Ahmed Hegazi sold behind his back by Dowling, against his wishes too, which Palmer believes was the major turning point that turned things sour at the Hawthorns.
The ex-Baggies man told FFC:
“Is it a case that Slaven’s been very vocal about the board and how they haven’t supported him, and the way that he’s been treated by the board? It could be a reason why they decided to let go of him.
“As a manager or a coach, you’re not going to be happy when you’ve not been kept in the loop about a player that has been sold. That’s not acceptable and I know Slaven wasn’t very happy about it, and quite rightly so.”
Indeed this appears to very much be the case.
The Athletic’s Steve Madeley revealed that Bilic told staff privately, “It sometimes feels like we’ve been relegated to the Premier League, not promoted,” following the sale of the Egyptian to Al-Ittihad – one of the Croatian’s former clubs.
Whilst the Daily Mail have also reported of a rift between Dowling and Bilic as Albion sat by and watched the likes of Ollie Watkins and Eberechi Eze join their Premier League rivals.
Big Sam may have to do wonders with what he’s already got with the January window on the horizon.
AND in other news, Exclusive: Pundit drops West Brom takeover hint after Sam Allardyce appointment…