West Brom appoint Alan Irvine as head coach
West Bromwich Albion, 3/1 with Coral to be relegated from next season’s Premier League, have appointed former Preston North End and Sheffield Wednesday boss Alan Irvine as their new head coach on a one-year rolling contract.
The 55-year-old was Everton’s academy manager, and reportedly beat ex-Spurs chief Tim Sherwood to The Hawthorns vacancy. Irivine succeeds Spaniard Pepe Mel, who steered the West Midlands outfit to safety this term.
He becomes Albion’s second Scottish manager in half a year, as his appointment comes six months to the day the Baggies dismissed Steve Clarke.
Irvine spent two years at Preston (2007-2009), but could not get the Lancashire outfit up via the Championship play-offs. He subsequently suffered relegation from the second-tier with Wednesday in 2010, and was sacked when they failed to mount an immediate promotion push.
Reports claimed that Sherwood had agreed to take over at West Brom, but a final sticking point were the terms offered to his backroom team, which included Les Ferdinand.
While Albion fans may think Irvine lacks much managerial pedigree, the majority of his coaching career has been as an academy boss. The Baggies may be looking to the fruits of their own to maintain top-flight status, following a poor campaign under Clarke and Mel.
Recently rejecting a bid from Derby County for deep-lying midfielder George Thorne, the Baggies also have young forward Saido Berahino attracting attention, and seem set for regular involvement.
Free agent Craig Gardner is West Brom’s only summer signing to date, while there is no left back and only three senior defenders on their books. Rebuilding their backline is an immediate priority for Irvine.
There is plenty to work with in midfield, however, as Gardner’s arrival supplements the likes of Baggies captain Chris Brunt, Claudio Yacob and Chris Brunt. James Morrison and Graham Dorrans, both compatriots of Irvine, are also still at Albion.