Early Look at Potential Candidates to be Next West Brom Manager

West Bromwich Albion

Sam Allardyce will be stepping down as boss of West Bromwich Albion once the season comes to a close and although the news is fresh, the club will have to move fast in appointing a new manager to help them try and get back into the top tier.

Potential Candidates to be Next West Brom Manager

Ideally Experienced at Championship Promotion

They’ll need to find a man capable of sorting out the squad this summer, offloading the high-earners and keeping a good core group that can help them bounce back at the first attempt.

There are bound to be several names linked, a few favourites for the job and some names bandied around that are frankly absurd. Here, we look at some potential early candidates for the job.

Alex Neil

Perhaps a strong contender for the job – if he fancies jumping straight back into management – is Alex Neil.

Most recently at Preston North End, the Scot did superbly with the Lilywhites having nearly led them into the play-offs during his first season in charge despite their modest budget. He continued to keep them challenging at the top end of the table, just barely missing out on a top-six spot.

However, after some poor performances in the current campaign and a run of games that saw North End slide towards relegation, the manager was relieved of his duties.

It’s perhaps unfair to pin the blame entirely on Neil – he was a victim of his own lofty expectations, having taking North End perhaps a lot higher than they should have been with their budget and the squad had also been thinned in the January window.

Baggies Wanted Neil Previously

As for the case as to why he could be the next Baggies boss, let’s take a look at the positives. Neil has taken teams out of this division before (see his time at Norwich City for example) and could complete a similar feat with the Baggies, who have also bounced between the divisions albeit not as regularly as the Canaries.

With a slightly bigger budget, he could achieve even better than he did at Deepdale.

Furthermore, when he was in charge of the Lilywhites, there was a moment in time when West Brom were desperate to bring the man to the club. A deal looked likely, only for him to pen a new Preston contract at the 11th hour. They’ve had an interest in him before – now he’s without a club and they’re back in the second tier, could they renew that interest?

Michael Appleton

This one could largely depend on whether Lincoln City gain promotion or not.

Appleton has worked wonders at Lincoln City, implementing a fresh and exciting style of play and working well on a small budget with a group of young, talented players. To have a manager like that in charge of your team is promising and is the kind of setup you’d arguably want.

May Want to Oversee Promotion With Lincoln

There are some issues over a move. If the Imps managed to bag promotion via the League One play-offs, he would no doubt want to stay and oversee the club in the second tier. He’s the one that took them up and he’d be the one who would want to continue putting in the work. There’s also a question of whether the step up would be too much – would he be able to adapt to a team who would ideally want to be battling for instant promotion back into the Premier League?

It could be a risk work taking though. Appleton has been impressive in his role as a manager so far and if Lincoln don’t manage to go up, that isn’t to say their boss won’t jump at the chance to try himself in the second tier without them.

Frank Lampard

Perhaps a bold statement but could Lampard’s next role be back in the Championship? He’s been linked with numerous positions, with some stating he would end up at Crystal Palace now Roy Hodgson has announced he is leaving the club.

However, he struggled at Chelsea and his successor, Thomas Tuchel, has perhaps proven that the step up for the former midfielder was too soon. At Derby County though, he dragged the side into the play-offs with his use of contacts and loans. Swansea City have succeeded with a similar approach with Steve Cooper.

West Bromwich Albion Could Provide Lampard With Chance to Prove Himself Again

Rather than try again in the Premier League, perhaps it would be worth Lampard trying his luck again in the Championship. Bagging a promotion wouldn’t be a bad thing to have on his CV going forward and he’s shown that he can be quite capable at this level. It might be a good match for both Lampard and the Baggies then.

The only stumbling block may be if teams higher up the pyramid – or abroad – offer him a more exotic role and whether he would price himself out of a move to the Hawthorns.

Eddie Howe

Again, perhaps a bold statement but what an appointment it would be by the Baggies.

Eddie Howe has previous at this level – he worked wonders at Bournemouth, dragging them from low in the football pyramid all the way to a respected Premier League team. He’s no stranger to the Championship and could quite easily try his hand at the second tier again with West Brom.

Interest in Howe From Plenty Other Sides

There are no doubt teams higher up the pyramid considering approaches for the boss and if an offer elsewhere is more appealing, it might be hard to convince him to drop back into the Championship. Howe has, of course, proved he can cut it at the top level – so could land a higher job.

However, West Brom provides him with the chance to challenge at the top and perhaps bag yet another promotion.

It would be a statement of intent from the Baggies – and would potentially get them back into the top tier at the first time of asking.

Nicky Butt

A left-field name and appointment considering his lack of first-team managerial experience but it could be a good chance for the former Manchester United man to prove his mettle as a boss.

Butt has left his role at Old Trafford in search of pastures new. After his work with the club and their younger players, he could be a good fit for a Championship side. He has contacts in the game no doubt and could rely on them to help bring a good crop of players in to help them battle for promotion. Furthermore, Butt has playing experience at the highest level – and that can work in his favour, commanding a level of respect from those he manages.

Would Be His First Role

The approach of appointing former players has certainly worked in some cases – see Steven Gerrard at Rangers, Frank Lampard somewhat during his spell at Derby for two. However, it doesn’t always pay dividends – see Wayne Rooney, also at Derby.

However, Butt has put in the work, has his qualifications and has some level of coaching experience already. Could the Baggies provide the perfect chance to try his hand at management for the first time?

 

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