Saturday 14 December 2013
West Bromwich Albion head coach Steve Clarke has been relieved of his duties after the club suffered their fourth consecutive defeat in the Barclays Premier League.
The 1-0 defeat by Cardiff City on Saturday dropped West Brom to 16th in the Barclays Premier League, two points off the relegation zone. In a statement the club said that the decision was unanimous from the board of directors “following a disappointing performance throughout 2013”.
"We felt it was important we acted now to give the club the best possible chance of a successful outcome this season"
It cited the seven victories from 34 Barclays Premier League matches during the calendar year, a 20 per cent win percentage yielding 31 points “despite a substantial investment in the first-team squad”.
Keith Downing, the joint assistant head coach, will assume control of first-team affairs while the club looks for a new head coach. As with Clarke, his assistant Kevin Keen has been placed on gardening leave.
“We have reluctantly come to the decision to relieve Steve of his duties after very careful consideration,” West Brom’s sporting & technical director Richard Garlick said. “It has been well documented that we have not had the rub of the green in certain games this season but that does not cloud the generally disappointing points return during this calendar year, culminating in today’s fourth-successive defeat at Cardiff.
“This club's track record proves we do not take such decisions lightly, having only enforced a change in this position three times in approximately 14 years. But with key games coming thick and fast, we felt it was important we acted now to give the club the best possible chance of a successful outcome this season.
“Our player wage bill is the highest in the club’s history and we feel we have built a squad capable of being very competitive in the Premier League. We now begin the search to find a new head coach who will work within our existing structure, which has been in place for the past six years. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Steve and Kevin for their efforts over the past 18 months. We wish them and their families well for the future.”
Clarke was appointed Clarke as head coach in succession to Roy Hodgson when he became England manager in June 2012.