Terry Wills on happenings at the Hawthorns.
Farewell Alan Irvine – welcome Steve Sherwood, Tony Pulis or any other name that Jeremy Peace decides will be next in line to take over the Hawthorns’ poisoned chalice.It’s one that’s already dispatched a number of what were termed at the time “the best available”, to seek pastures new.
Irvine knew from the start the only way he could appease fans angry at his appointment was by winning games and in that respect he failed. Now, prior to the West Ham away game, Albion find themselves just one point above the drop zone, and if they lose they will most likely be ensconced in the bottom three.
The line between success and failure is very narrow. A couple of wins can shoot a team nearer a comfortably secure position where supporters will be relatively happy despite the standard of football at times being little short of embarrassing.
But in Irvine’s defence time after time he was let down by individual errors, and once players cross the touchline there is nothing he could do redress the balance. Recent lacklustre, and that’s being kind, performances highlighted by woeful defending, underlined the need for drastic changes.
Last week I said that I wouldn’t be surprised if Albion failed to gain a single point from the next three games and unless the players can show a marked improvement, I sadly look being correct. The defeat against Manchester City didn’t come as a surprise, but tossing away a 2-0 lead against a poor Queens Park Rangers summed up just how low were the fans feelings.
Back to the next ‘right’ appointment. Should Sherwood or Pullis be offered the position that will surely mean the chairman and his board, acknowledging that whatever they believed in the past, a old-fashioned manager having full control over any new signings, is once more acceptable. At least, I hope so.
And amongst the speculation about the new man I almost forgot that on Saturday it’s FA Cup third round action. Non-league Gateshead are at the Hawthorn for a match that whatever team is selected has to see Albion’ name in the hat for the fourth Round draw. And then I suddenly recall Woking.
Even my pessimistic feelings at the current situation have to be put aside – Baggies to win. Should they fail, even though Greed League survival has to be the prime objective for supporters looking for a few crumbs of comfort, this would only add to the negative views held by a majority. I’ll make another forecast – one of the lowest Hawthorns attendances for many years.
Over to the players, who consistently stressed that Alan Irvine was a great coach and much admired. As a belated farewell present try to do your best by performing as you did against Manchester United, a tremendous game that if consistently repeated would in all probability still see Alan Irvine residing at the Hawthorns.