Sam Allardyce returns to the Hawthorns as West Brom put faith in survival expert

Sam Allardyce has returned to the club where he began his coaching career 21 years ago after being confirmed as the new manager of West Brom on an 18-month contract.

The Baggies acted quickly to call on the 66-year-old after sacking Slaven Bilic in the wake of Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Despite the impressive point it left the Baggies with just seven points from their first 13 games and facing the kind of relegation battle that Allardyce has been proven to relish.

Baggies sporting and technical director Luke Dowling said: “In Sam we have a man who has a proven Premier League pedigree with a track record of improving every club he has managed.

“We believe and, more importantly, Sam believes we have a group of players that have the quality needed to give the club its best chance of Premier League survival.”

Allardyce joined West Brom as a player-coach under boss Brian Talbot in 1989, but the pair were dismissed 18 months later after their side’s embarrassing FA Cup defeat to non-league Woking.

It was a departure that clearly rankled for the Dudley-born Allardyce, who described it as “unfair” prior to taking his then Bolton team to The Hawthorns in 2003.

“Being a local lad and going to West Brom was as great privilege for me, consider the club’s history and the fact it was my first real coaching job,” Allardyce recalled.

Allardyce has been out of the game since leaving Everton two years ago. In his six months at Goodison Park he guided the Blues to an eighth place finish but left some fans dissatisfied with his style of play.

Soccer – FA Cup – Third Round – West Bromwich Albion v Woking – The Hawthorns
Soccer – FA Cup – Third Round – West Bromwich Albion v Woking – The Hawthorns

Allardyce, who was considered for a return to Newcastle after Rafael Benitez’s departure in 2019, will bring his long-time assistant Sammy Lee with him to The Hawthorns.

He will take his first training session at the club on Thursday as his side prepares for Sunday’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa.

Bilic led West Brom back into the Premier League but pressure continued to mount after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Newcastle at St James’s Park.

Slaven Bilic File Photo
Slaven Bilic File Photo

Speaking after his side salvaged a surprise point against City, Bilic said: “I’m very calm, I love my job.

“I’m not really that bothered what’s happening behind the scenes and all that – I don’t care.”

The club confirmed Bilic’s coaching staff of Dean Racunica and Danilo Butorovic, plus first team coach Julian Dicks, have also left the club.