West Bromwich Albion: Who will replace Roy Hodgson at the Hawthorns?
Roy Hodgson was only at the Hawthorns for 15 months, but what a 15 months they were. When he came in the Baggies were teetering on the brink of relegation. A few months later the Baggies were sitting pretty in mid-table. They have just ended the season in 1oth place and Hodgson has given Albion fans memories they will cherish forever. Who will ever forget their 5-1 annihilation of Wolves at Molineux or their 1-0 win at Anfield – their first in 45 years?
However, when England come calling, there is only ever going to be one winner. So now the search is on to find someone who can take the Baggies to the next level. There have already been some huge names linked with the vacant post, but who is the right man for the job?
Here are the main runners and riders in the race.
The former Newcastle United manager has worked wonders at Birmingham City, but all is not well at St Andrews. Issues at board level could see Hughton jump ship in the summer, with the Hawthorns looking like being his next port of call. Calm, measured and respected by all, Hughton has thrived on the pressure of being a manager. He led Newcastle back to the top flight after their fall from grace but was harshly axed by Mike Ashley following a heavy defeat by the Baggies. Hughton gets the best of players and his style of play will suit the Baggies down to the ground.
The Tinkerman has been linked with so many vacant jobs in the Premier League since he was unceremoniously sacked by Roman Abramovich, but could this be the one to finally bring him back? The Spaniard has a glowing CV and could attract some big names to the Hawthorns. His appointment would certainly prove to the fans that the club was ready for the next level.
The former West Brom coach is currently at Portsmouth but is facing more battles at Fratton Park than the Prime Minister David Cameron. Appleton was forced to retire prematurely from playing while at West Brom, but he says he is determined to be a successful manager because of that. The ex-midfielder obviously knows the ins and outs of the Hawthorns very well and would want to do his best for the club, but this would be a huge gamble by the board.
Could the former Baggies boss be set for a sensational return to the Hawthorns? Mowbray led the Albion to the Premier League but couldn’t prevent them from falling back through the trapdoor. The fans wanted him to stay but when the Glasgow giants Celtic came calling he couldn’t resist. However, his time at Celtic Park was less than fruitful, getting sacked after less than a season in charge. He is currently at Middlesbrough and just missed out on the play-offs. We all know what he can do but West Brom have moved on so much in the past few years. It might be suicidal to go back.
He is being linked with moves to Aston Villa and potentially Liverpool, and doesn’t feature very highly on the betting here, but Roberto Martinez and West Brom were made for each other aren’t they? The Albion fans demand free-flowing attacking football and that is exactly what the Spaniard delivers. Just look at what Wigan have achieved on a limited budget. He would receive more cash to spend at the Albion than at the Latics and would be playing in front of near sell-outs every other week. If Martinez, who rejected the advances of Villa last summer, was to arrive at the Hawthorns what a coup that would be.
The current Brighton boss is in a similar mould to Roberto Di Matteo. Both men like to play attacking football and have the personality to excite players and fans alike, but we all know how the Di Matteo story ended. Poyet is doing a grand job with the Seagulls, but having now established themselves as a top flight club, this would be a risky appointment by the Albion.
With Hodgson off to England some pundits are predicting a former Scotland boss will replace him. Thankfully it is not Alex McLeish! Walter Smith has a glittering CV following his time north of the border with Rangers, but his style of play has been criticised for being anti-football. Defensively-minded, Smith goes into each game not wanting to lose. Some people will see that as wise, but it didn’t help Alex McLeish at Villa did it? Smith believes he has the experience to take on one final challenge in football. Although he is a top manager, I don’t think this would be the right move for anyone.
Despite having only just arrived at Bristol City and saving them from the drop, the former Baggies midfielder’s name is still being linked with the Albion job. The former midfielder has a great career ahead of him. He guided St Johnstone to the SPL and established them as a top flight side. This alerted Bristol City to his services and the young Scot managed to keep the Robins flying high. McInnes is another manager who insists of passing and moving and is destined to end up at the Hawthorns at some stage down the line, but not now.
Other names in the frame include Bolton supremo Owen Coyle, former Wolves’ boss Dave Jones, Cardiff chief Malky Mackay, ex-Huddersfield manager Lee Clark, Alan Curbishley, Gordon Strachan and Michael Laudrup, to name but a few.
West Bromwich Albion are one of the best footballing sides in the country and with players like Morrison, Brunt, Odemwingie and Long, they have the potential to challenge for Europe next season. With an inspired appointment, Jermey Peace could ensure the Baggies dig their heels in at the top table and reap the rewards for years to come. But who will be the man for the job? Personally I think Martinez would be ideal, but can the Baggies convince him to leave the Latics? Failing that I’m sure Hughton or Ranieri would bring more exciting times to the Black Country.
Calling all West Brom fans. Who would you like to see in the dugout at the Hawthorns next season? Does Hughton get your vote? Is Ranieri your top choice? Or would Walter Smith float your boat? Whatever your views, we’d love to hear from you.