Why West Bromwich Albion will thrive in the Championship next season
Despite Sunday's stunning 1-0 away win against Manchester United, showing the Baggies in a good light, it cannot sugar coat the fact that West Bromwich Albion has had an immensely terrible season. The Midlands club is all but relegated now, with the excellent result coming just a too little too late as far as Premier League survival is concerned.
The Tony Pulis sacking, replacing him with Alan Pardew, was an extremely poor move. You can probably argue that they deserve what is coming to them at this point. However, it should not all be doom and gloom for West Brom; their future is still bright in the Championship.
In Darren Moore as caretaker manager, they have a man who knows the club inside out. He should be given the full-time role next season. The 48-year-old spent five years at the Hawthorns as a player and seems to have gotten the absolute best from the current crop during his few games in charge. He has a simple but effective method, setting his side up in a manner that would suit Championship football. Next season will be a hard slog with 46 tough matches but with Moore at the helm, they will have a side defensively organised that'll be tough to break down.
If they choose not to continue with Moore as manager, then they should opt for Brentford's Dean Smith or try and get Tony Mowbray back from Blackburn Rovers. Smith was born in West Bromwich so knows the club and Mowbray has obviously managed them before. It's always important that a manager knows the club he is controlling while grasping what it means to the fanbase. West Brom will be fine next season, competing at the top-end; but only if they get their managerial appointment right.
Like any team coming down from the Premier League, it's inevitable that West Brom will lose a few key players. Influential stars such as Jay Rodriguez, Jonny Evans and Salomon Rondon are three that are likely to move on. However, whatever happens, they still have a strong core who will form a decent Championship team. Experienced guys such as Jake Livermore, James Morrison, Gareth Barry, Ben Foster, Craig Dawson and Gareth McAuley will know what it will take to get out of the Championship. They are lucky in that regard that they have a number of top professionals.
It is mightily important that the Baggies get their transfers right this summer and usually, they do make shrewd signings. A number of teams in the past have gone into the Championship and thought spending silly money would help them buy their way out of the division, such as Aston Villa last season and Middlesbrough this year. West Brom does not strike me as a team to do this and you would fully expect them to invest wisely this summer on proven Championship quality or young and hungry players.
Another key reason why West Brom's future is not all dim is down to the exciting young talent who are coming up through their ranks. Players such as Sam Field, Oliver Burke (not an academy product but still young) and Jonathan Leko have already been given opportunities aplenty within the first-team, they should push on next season. Then they have youngsters coming through like Rakeem Harper, Kane Wilson and Alex Bradley; all will be hoping to get their opportunities.