Slaven sacked, Allardyce appointed
16 December 2020
Despite an encouraging performance that earned a point against billionaire ex-Premier League champions Manchester City, Slaven Bilic has been relieved of his position as Head Coach of West Bromwich Albion with immediate effect. His coaching team of Dean Racunica, Danilo Butorovic and Julian Dicks have also been shown the door.
In an economically worded statement, the Club have said they will make no further comment other than thanking him for his service and wishing him well for the future.
Sam Allardyce has now been named as Albion Head Coach after agreeing an 18 month contract.
Many supporters are expressing dismay at the decision, especially coming so soon after such a good performance the night before. Ian Tyler wrote:
"Thank you Slav!! There's nothing worse than working for an incompetent owner, so you are better off out of it. Albion are a few bounces and a few awful VAR decisions away from being ahead of Brighton. Perhaps our woeful absentee owners blame Bilic for poor recruitment, but how come Dowling is still there then?
Mr Lai, you needed Slav to get you back to the Premiership and he did that (just about). Then you fail to back him!! That is lunacy for a man who wants to offload the club. These players clearly liked playing for Slav and it's hard to see the next guy getting any more out of them. What a shambolic club we have become. A sad day."
Andrew Knowles wrote:
"I don't contribute too often but I have to today.
It has been a very hard season and steep learning curve for Albion in the PL. Not helped at all by empty stadiums due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, devoid of atmosphere. The squad we currently have is not the best we have had in the PL in my opinion, either. Even though we did win promotion last season we didn't really play our best football from February 2020 onwards. I was never sure why that was really. Our poor start in the PL has not been helped by some poor VAR/refereeing decisions. But we are deep in a battle against relegation. So against that backdrop last night's performance and result were excellent. Just after I finished listening to the Albion commentary, media outlets began to suggest that Slaven's job was at risk. Indeed the Daily Mail was clear that he would be sacked today. Indeed by lunch time Slaven and his coaching staff had been sacked, and by mid afternoon Sam Allardyce had been installed with Sammy Lee.
I wasn't especially surprised as the usual signs were there. Poor results, disagreement over the sale of Hegazi, failure by the board to spend money on PL proven or quality players etc. Some of this is due to choices Slaven made, signing Diangana and the inexperienced Karlan Grant for quite a chunk of the available budget. I think most Albion fans will agree though that this squad is barely adequate in quality for the PL. How many teams have a weaker squad? It is clear that the board had decided to move after the loss to Newcastle. However for the story to leak out, almost certainly from Albion sources, as it did during the game last night was, to me, shocking. Is that the way Albion want to be seen, ruthless, even to a manager who only recently was celebrating promotion? I thought only Watford treated managers like that. Moving on to Big Sam. He has a good track record. Have people forgotten though why he had to leave the England Job after one game? This decision to me is all about the board being able to say that they took action to try to desperately preserve the money that comes with PL status. In one way fine but they cold have supported Slaven Bilic. It was noticeable in the club press release that Luke Dowling is quoted as saying that Sam and the board are agreed that "the present group of players have the quality needed to give the club its best chance of Premier League survival".
I myself don't agree with that. It will be interesting to see what happens in January if results have not improved, will funds appear from the Chinese Money Tree? As an Albion fan of 55 years I hope Sam is successful. I am struggling though to decide whether I can support a club with these values."
1964 Baggie added:
"Disappointed that Slav was so sacked after such a result against Man City. I am concerned how this. will affect the team morale. Great points made by Andrew Knowles - could not disagree!"
John Holt added:
"I have supported Albion since 1954. My late grandfather used to walk to Spring lane in the 1890's so as you can see the family go back a long way. Over that period the clubs fortunes have waxed and waned. We have never had the massive core of support that villa and Wolves have enjoyed but I think our supporters have regarded the club as essentially a Black country community club with traditional values based on integrity, honesty and hard work.
Those values are sadly lacking in modern society obsessed with instant gratification and financial gain.
Jeremy Peace gave the impression that he had saved the club and turned its fortunes around to become an established Premier League fixture.
Could I suggest that his long term plan was to create a saleable investment to sell to the best buyer at the right time.
I had my forebodings when the the rumours of a Chinese takeaway became a reality.
Seems strange to me that having invested £170 million, further financial support appeared to dry up in the knowledge that the squad needed huge investment to sustain a premier league challenge.
Perhaps the Chinese realised they had been conned.
After Pardew, Moore and Shan I thought Bilic would bring stability. In his first six months the squad produced some outstanding results but for whatever reason that could not be sustained during 2020.
The owners have now panicked, dealt with Bilic in a ruthless manner and appointed the old war horse to protect their investment.
That is to-days reality. Some players will be very upset as will a lot of supporters. This cynical adherence to regarding Football as an investment and not as a sport together with Var, dodgy referees, Covid 19 and ridiculous kick off times will ultimately kill the game and clubs like Albion will find it difficult to survive.
We do not have a football brain at the top level and Albion's reputation as a family community has become very tarnished.
Will it recover?
Bob Mosely wrote:
"Very astute article John Holt. I think Slaven was very naïve in his dealings with the Baggies Board and executives. When he was appointed it was clear the 'new' owners had been hoodwinked into buying, or investing in current jargon, a set up that was a midtable championship team who were in the premiership due to the astute, if that's the word of the playing tactics of Pulis. Bilic apparently gave two names he wished to recruit but the dalliance of recruitment meant they were missed. Both players who have flopped at the clubs who bought them. The recruitment team had clearly no confidence in Bilic to sort out possible value for money players.
There have been other gaps in communications and decision making that indicate a breakdown in trust between Coach and ? management. Zohore, Austin, Diangana, et al.
The crunch could be the indication that Bilic would not be extending contract or it would not be extended!
Sad story all round but similar to West Ham`s experience?"
18 August 2020: Out Now: From Buzaglo To Balis
30 April 2018: Book Launch: 'Proud to be a Baggie'
15 January 2018: RIP Cyrille