West Brom appoint Sam Allardyce to replace sacked Slaven Bilic
Second from bottom club made move with just one win in their last 13 matches
West Bromwich Albion have sacked manager Slaven Bilic. Photo: Michael Regan/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Sam Allardyce has been appointed by West Brom on an 18-month contract. Photograph: Ian Kington/AFP via Getty Images
West Brom have confirmed the appointment of Sam Allardyce as their head coach on an 18-month contract after sacking Slaven Bilic.
West Brom believe Allardyce, whose last managerial job ended at Everton in May 2018, can guide the club to safety thanks to his experience and know-how. The 66-year-old, a native of Dudley, has managed seven Premier League clubs and never been relegated.
Bilic was sacked on Wednesday with the club second from bottom, having won one Premier League match all season.
Allardyce will take training for the first time on Thursday in preparation for Sunday’s match against Aston Villa. He is bringing with him his longstanding assistant Sammy Lee.
West Brom’s sporting and technical director, Luke Dowling, told the club’s website: “In Sam we have a man who has a proven Premier League pedigree with a track record of improving every club he has managed.
“We believe and, more importantly, Sam believes we have a group of players that have the quality needed to give the club its best chance of Premier League survival.”
West Brom had earlier confirmed the decision to dismiss Bilic in a curt statement. “West Bromwich Albion have today parted company with head coach Slaven Bilic. Assistant coaches, Dean Racunica and Danilo Butorovic, and first-team coach Julian Dicks have also left the club with immediate effect.
“The Baggies are currently 19th in the Premier League table with seven points from 13 fixtures. Albion would like to thank Slaven and his coaching staff for their efforts in achieving promotion last season and wishes them all well in the future.”
The timing of the decision is surprising insofar as it came after Tuesday’s commendable 1-1 draw at Manchester City, during which West Brom showed defensive qualities they had lacked for much of the season. However, the board evidently decided that improvement was unlikely to last under Bilic, whose relationship with senior figures in the club’s hierarchy has been strained for several months.
The situation has been clouded by uncertainty regarding the club’s owner, Lai Guochuan, who has been reported to be keen to reduce or even end his involvement.
Bilic was given relatively little transfer funds after winning promotion, with an initial £20m spent on squad reinforcements in preparation for a Premier League campaign that was always likely to be a battle against relegation. The manager made his unhappiness known in October when the centre-back Ahmed Hegazi was sold against his wishes and contrary to assurances he said he had been given. Two recruits for whom Bilic had lobbied hard, Branislav Ivanovic and Karlan Grant, have yet to prove their worth.
West Brom are only two points from 17th place but a key factor in their survival push will be the extent to which they are willing to support Allardyce with investment in January.
Allardyce was a coach at West Brom under Brian Talbot in 1989 and has managed Bolton, West Ham, Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Everton in the Premier League. He also had a brief spell in charge of England in 2016.