West Bromwich Albion have won the race to appoint Tony Pulis as their next manager as they bid to stave off the threat of relegation from the Premier League.
West Brom are currently languishing in 16th place in the Premier League, one point above the relegation zone, after former manager Alan Irvine won just four of his 19 league games in charge.
The Baggies have acted very quickly after sacking Irvine following their 2-0 defeat to Stoke City on Sunday, and needed to do so. Pulis is a wanted man after his heroics last season with Crystal Palace and his previous ability to keep an un-fancied Stoke City team in the Premier League during his tenure there.
His mercurial work at Palace last season earned him the manager of the year award. When he took over at Selhurst Park in November 2013, Palace were languishing in the bottom three but his managerial skills guided the side out of the relegation zone to an eventual eleventh place finish, 12 points above the drop zone. It was a feat that has enhanced his reputation greatly.
He is now back in the public eye because clubs, and owners particularly, are looking for a manager who can save their club from the dreaded relegation and huge financial losses that are incurred as a consequence, and Pulis fits the bill perfectly.
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West Brom will have been all too aware that the Premier League sacking season has begun, although later than normal, and that clubs will be after the best man for their club, so capturing Pulis as quickly as possible will have been of paramount importance to them.
Whilst only Crystal Palace have sacked their manager so far, and are officially on the look-out for a replacement, the first sacking can often lead to a snow-ball affect as managers start to perish. Therefore West Brom’s swift action has been necessary.
For West Brom, although they also interviewed Tim Sherwood, there must have been no doubt that Tony Pulis was their number one choice to succeed Irvine. Sherwood does not have the experience that Pulis has particularly when it comes to a relegation scrap. Neil Warnock could have been another option for West Brom but Warnock, fresh from the sack at Palace, would not be too keen to swap one dog fight for another and, again, Pulis would be the number one option for West Brom given the choice between the two.
Premier League's most wanted
If Pulis can achieve what he and West Brom want him to achieve then his reputation can only be enhanced as he becomes one of the most wanted managers in the Premier League. He may never be a manager of one of the top clubs in England but his value to those who are battling it out for survival will be just as important as those who are battling for silverware and European qualification.
Pulis is in an enviable position of being able to sit back and pick his next job carefully and in theory is in a no-lose situation given the plight of the teams he is trying to help. Whilst not in charge West Brom will still hope to have Pulis overlooking from the stands for their New Year’s Day clash with West Ham United at Upton Park. From then on the hard work starts for both Pulis and West Brom for the remainder of the season.
Can Pulis save West Brom from relegation this season?