The Diary

06 February 2011: Sacked in the Morning 2!

I'm not sure if the chant was heard at the City of Manchester stadium yesterday, but Albion's defeat there has led to Roberto Di Matteo losing his job. The official statement on the Club's web site includes the quote

"...we are in a results-driven industry and felt we had no choice but to act now."

Reading between the lines it appears that the Baggies hierarchy felt Di Matteo was not getting the best out of his squad, and that the right appointment now could save their Premiership status - the crucial factor being the recent closing of the transfer window for this season.

Di Matteo has been placed on indefinite gardening leave while Ade Mafe and Eddie Newton have left with immediate effect. Michael Appleton takes charge for the game against West Ham next weekend with assistance from Reserve Team Coach Keith Downing. The statement stressed that the role would remain that of Head Coach rather than Manager, and that Di Matteo had no problem with this setup.

Di Matteo himself issued the following statement through the League manager Association:

"I was extremely surprised and disappointed to be relieved of my duties today. Winning promotion to the Barclays Premier League with West Brom last season was without doubt one of the highlights of my career and certainly my managerial career. Playing in this league is tough and we have had to compete against some fantastic sides but we have shown that we can compete with the best. Apart from the first week of the season, the club has not been in the bottom three and has an important and crucial run of home fixtures coming up. I am disappointed that I don't now have the chance to lead the team through this crucial period and keep them in the league. I wish the players well over the coming weeks and I thank them for the hard work they have put in and the great attitude they have shown. I would like to thank the staff at the club, it has been a pleasure to work with you, and of course I would like the thank the most loyal and fantastic fans at West Brom with whom I had a great relationship during my time at the club."

Is it too late to save our season? Would Di Matteo have achieved survival? Let us know what you think.

I for one feel sorry for Roberto, when you consider all the injuries weve had, and suspensions. losing olsson for 3 months didnt help. we also seemed to have players suspended every week and that's down to discipline and the players themselves. if you take into account the number of certain penalties we were denied by inept refs, which definatly changed games, it seems poor results and officials are partly to blame for his dismissal. should we also not look at jeremy peace and the lack of activity in the january transfer window. was roberto given money to bring players in, just maybe we might be in a better situation. it looks like were gearing up for championship soccer next season, and i for one blame jeremy peace this time around. Who will want to come to the albion, whos out there, i cant think of any managers that might want to come to the albion, maybe holloway if he gets sacked. im dreading if we go down were going to lose some of the best young players weve had at the club - dorrans, brunt, mulumbu, odemwingie, olsson, morrison. i cant see them wanting to stop and play championship soccer again. a very dissapointed frustrated and angry baggies fan.

 - Andrew Hazlewood

Is it set up for Allardyce to come in? Football-wise hope not, league-wise hope so....

 - Gav Thomsom

Bang goes the stabilty with the next 3 games vital, West Ham / Dingles at home and Blooze away this is the last thing we needed imo, if we lost them games then maybe we should look at it then, not before. Lets hope this is not the big mistake it looks like right now.

 - John Hipkiss

I'd be more than happy to see Albion play like SA's Bolton if we get the same results SA's Bolton got. Tippy tappy football hasn't got us far has it?

 - Cliff

Gutted.......comes straight after the transfer window where no money has been spent! Clearly peace again flexing his muscles at a manager who can't pull results out the bag week in week out with a second rate squad! Three very important games, which I can't see us gaining anything! I think the yo yo tag will leave us this year as we won't return to the prem!

 - Chris Jones

Who is coming in then? It's the same old dross names such as Sam, Curbs etc. We're not big enough to go and get someone such as O Neill. I think this is a dreadful decision (based on what we know now, which is not a lot). We are a bargain basement club, the last two being relatively unproven. If there isn't someone to come in immediately its an even worse decision. I truly believe RDM was playing a better mix of football and punching us above our weight. Ultimately its the quality of player and we will always struggle with that. Guess we have to accept we are a small yo yo club and are being run as such. Very poor IMO

 - Matt

There's been talk of big Sam. But who else is around and in our league. I would like Martin Jol but suspect he would not come. Roy Hodgson is better than he did at Liverpool but I suspect he won't want it either. Can we poach Holloway?

 - Andrew Grillage

I'm only upset at the timing - why not a couple of weeks ago when a newcomer could have done some dealing? The whole Carew / Vela thing sums it up. We couldn't get a big target man who leads the line, so let's go for a small impact player out wide, and let the best player at the club we have at playing up front on his own go to to Turkey. Our problem is the defence anyway - why not address that? We looked best last year when Jara and Mulumbu played in front of the defence to shield them - but we've not done that this time around. Instead, we've persisted on playing a midfielder at centre-half and kept Jara at right back where he's been a liability in some games. I think it's always a sure sign of a manager who's lost the plot when he persists on playing people out of position. He also looked stuck - he didn't know what to do - much as he did when MK lost their play-offs. Always sad to see someone lose their job, but RDM just doesn't have the experience of dealing with things when they are not going well - not as a manager or a player. Please God not Allardyce as manager next though. Curbishley???

 - Mark Lardner

Albion have got an appalling record for sacking managers. Megson apart- a whole 4 years-hardly a lot-we haven't imo given any manager since BFR a reasonable run at the job. A bright young manager going through his first poor patch is now lost to us. In will come Mr Majeika who is expected to immediately gee up the same set of players to good results. It stinks of panic,& i agree with those who suspect something going on behind the scenes. There were no rumours of dressing room upset;the fans were,as far as I can tell, solidly behind the manager. A club that behave as badly as this (I'd include WHU, Blackburn) doesn't deserve success.It's my club so i hope we will stay up but I've lost some respect for the Board & JP.

 - Robin Martin

Ahh the conspiracy theory, we get it every time a manager leaves the Albion. Then we find out there was no conspiracy and we move on. I seem to recall that Albion supporters were bemoaning the fact that we hadn't strengthened the team in the Jan. Window, and were quoting the West Ham owner as having boasting that they had spent money where as Albion wolves and Brum hadn't. Just goes to show that buying players is not always the answer. Especially if they are not the right players. I love this club and I have followed and supported the since the early 1960's. I believe for a club of this size we are being run in the correct manner. I think also the ramifications from the actions of the lady in The Red White and Blue pub in Portsmouth (well worth a visit. A proper pub) will prove our Club correct in the way it runs things. If she wins her case all bets are off concerning the grotesque that is the Prem. But It's just my opinion. Keep the faith The Albion will always be here.

 - Phil Aston

Just read the sad news regarding RDM. With a bit of luck we could have / should have won against Villa, Bolton and Man U. If so, RDM would still have a job and we'd be relatively comfortable. The only possible justification for getting rid of him at this point is if he has 'lost the dressing room' and the team had stopped playing for him. It would appear that that was not the case, although poor discipline on the pitch is often a sign of weak leadership. This decision smacks of desperation and I can't see a radical change of tactics turning things around in time to save us. How quickly things have gone pear shaped. For the sake of the club I hope it was indeed the fact that the team had stopped playing for RDM and that a new face can inspire them. We will soon see.

 - Oshawabaggie

Complete disaster, as my father was a baggies legend and as someone who ate slept and drank football for thirty years I am probably as well placed as anyone to know that Di Matteo was a) a top player and b) a pretty good manager, who won promotion at his first attempt - does this chairman even know what they blow a ball up with?

 - John Haines

What a crappy decision to part with Roberto. Where's the backbone from the board? So now we join the 'quick fix' likes of Blackburn, Newcastle, QPR et al. DiMatteo had earned his laurels. He should have had the chance to keep us up, and then the club could have made a considered decision.

 - James Webster in St. Louis, U.S.A. and an Albion supporter since 1954 when I saw them bring home the cup.

Have read these comments belatedly after today's shock sacking. I'm beginning to think RDM may have lost the dressing room in recent weeks, if some of these comments are to be believed. Certainly in the games I've attended this year at Fulham and Reading, our performance level was poor - nothing like that shown in the heady win at the Emirates. It's sad to see RDM go because he's got great integrity, perhaps too much for this league, so I wonder how all the stuff with injuries and the constant, often enforced, positional swapping, has affected morale. We can still do it of course, but the timing of the sacking ahead of the Wets Ham and Dingles games, is a real high risk effort from the chairman.

 - Highbury Baggie

The wrong person has gone, Peace should be sacked not RDM. But that is the point, Peace answers to no one but himself. Perhaps that is why he makes carp decisions. Peace is only at West Brom to take money out of the Club. He pays himself a massive ?10,000 a week minimum, only works part time,goes on a holiday abroad every January, and had never invested one penny in the Club. RDM was the best Manager we have had for years. JP you wouldn't know a football if you found it in your caviar!

Went past the Astle Gates this afternoon and someone had tied a sign to the fence saying 'Peace Out, you are a control freak and are ruining the Club'. As I went past a Security man was sent out, under instructions from a 'Director' to rip it down immediately. Say no more!

 - Mark Koppel

The decision to sack RDM smacks of being a panic measure by the West Brom board. That is unless they have a very good replacement already lined up. We have progressed as a team a lot since the Robson and Mowbray days. Who could have imagined teams under those managers taking the game to their opponents at Old Trafford, the Emirates and Everton. Of course we are going through a bad patch, but that largely corresponded with key players being out through injuries and suspensions. Under RDM I feel there was a vision for the future. It is also very unfair on Robbie as he understood that 17th place would represent success, and it is not as if we are 10 points adrift of 17th place. The new manager will probably not have any long term plan for the club, and will have to motivate RDM's set of players. Of course I, like most Albion fans, will be looking very critically to see which new manager is selected. Any manager who believes in "route one" or a kind of kick and rush hoofball, will have lots of fans on his back from the start, me included. That rules out Allardyce. However, any manager with a reputation to protect will think twice about taking the job, given the way RDM was treated and we will end up with someone who thinks they've got nothing to lose.

 - WBAlex

Anyone else surprised, not by the sacking itself, but by the timing of this? After an away game to Man C - what, we were expecting a win? Suspicious. Regardless, RDM has been poor managerially since October - but he's not alone. Peace has just stated the league is result driven - so he keeps his hands in his pockets - again. RDM hasn't had much to work with. We have 8 PL players in the squad - tops. The rest are journeymen. If most of the 8 play (and they rarely do), and play well, we can win. But with a shallow squad when things go wrong - injuries, send offs etc (which we have had in spades) - we have no hope. Add about 9-12 points lost to inept officiating and things go south in a hurry. But Peace is more to blame. After every promotion we expect the players who get us there, to keep us there - and it's never worked. We leak goals so we sign a medium/unknown striker. And that's it? I think we deserve to go down, and I don't think we should come back up until we have a different philosophy from the board. I'm not holding my breath.

 - Rod Zwart

Firstly I'd like to wish Roberto di Matteo the best of luck in the future - now he may have better luck giving up the fags. I think he's been treated badly and don't believe there was any growing anti RdM sentiment with most of the fans. What was RdM supposed to do-wave a magic wand? We have the smallest/one of the smallest budgets for players in the PL-despite millions in Premiership revenue.

I think Peace has done this to deflect attention from the board's failure to invest that little more in the squad. Noone wants us to spend money we haven't got but the Albion can't be short of a few quid and I'm sure we could have brought two or three quality, long term targets in during January.

I feel Peace will alienate himself from the fans with this and will lead to growing unrest. And I don't want that overrated buffoon Allardyce - the new Bobby Gould.

 - Malcolm Warrilow

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