West Bromwich Albion technical and sporting director Luke Dowling has left The Hawthorns club by mutual consent.
That’s according to a statement posted on the West Brom website, in which the club confirmed that Dowling is leaving the Championship side with immediate effect after three years of working with the club.
A further statement was released later on Monday afternoon, in which the Baggies chief Executive Xu Ke provided an update on the club’s current search for a new manager, as well as thanking Dowling for his services to the club.
Xu Ke said: “I would like to thank Luke for his work behind the scenes at The Hawthorns during his three years with us. Luke’s departure provides us with an opportunity to reassess how our football operation functions and I will provide a further update on this subject in due course.”
The news of Dowling’s departure comes at a rather awkward time for West Brom, as, with the club still in the midst of their bid to appoint Sam Allardyce’s successor, the Baggies board now look set to conduct this search without a single member of staff who boasts a background in football.
Indeed, the technical and sporting director’s departure could also have come as a result of Guochuan Lai’s decision to rule out the club’s appointment of the former Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder, as Dowling was believed to have strongly favoured a move for the 53-year-old.
And, after the news was shared by the club in a post on Twitter, a large portion of the West Brom fanbase appeared outraged by the decision, with one claiming that the board are turning West Brom into a “joke of a club,” while another stated their belief that fans “can’t blame Dowling going if Lai and the board constantly overrule [him] all the time.”
We have to say, the perspective of these fans is easily understandable, as, with the club looking to make an immediate return to the Premier League next season, so much uncertainty regarding the board, the staff and the club’s transfer business does not appear to be the best way to kick start West Brom’s Championship campaign.
Furthermore, with Dowling playing a huge role in Slaven Bilic’s previous appointment at the club, a manager who ultimately secured the Baggies’ last promotion to the Premier League, the technical and sporting director has a history of installing a successful coach in the second tier, leading us to believe that Lai allowing Dowling to walk away could well be the biggest mistake of his West Brom reign to date.