West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace’s sacking of Steve Clarke was a decision that exemplified the lack of patience at clubs in these times. A former Chelsea defender, Clarke had performed decently as manager of the West Midlands club.
The Scotsman had led West Brom to a highly commendable eighth place finish in the Premier League last season. 14 wins in the season, a league double over Liverpool, a Premier League high of 49 points for West Brom, and yet Clarke was not shown the patience when his team hit a rough run of form this season.
If we restrict ourselves purely to statistics of this season, then the logic of Peace’s decision is justified to a certain extent - no wins in the previous six games, four defeats in a row, in 16th place, just two points off the relegation zone.
However, the statistics fail to take into account the mitigating circumstances. Firstly, Steve Clarke did have the services of a certain Romelu Lukaku this season as the Chelsea striker opted to go on loan to Everton. Lukaku was great up front for West Brom banging in 18 goals for the west midlands outfit. Lukaku was replaced with Victor Anichebe who isn’t the most prolific scorer of goals.
Secondly, Clarke was a victim of his own success the previous season, when the Baggies clearly punched above their weight. This season they were brought down to earth, but the expectations had become bloated by that fairytale eighth place finish.
Ultimately, the buck stops with the club chairmen and owners to be realistic about the expectation at a club. Yes, Steve had suffered a bunch of unwanted results, but his achievements last season should have earned him some credit to be given the chance to turn things around.
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