West Bromwich Albion will hope for a fresh start after hiring Pepe Mel as manager of the English Premier League club.
The squad announced the move on its official Twitter account:
1/4 Albion are delighted to announce they have appointed Pepe Mel as their new Head Coach— WBAFCofficial (@WBAFCofficial) January 9, 2014
2/4 The 50-year-old Spaniard has signed an 18-month contract— WBAFCofficial (@WBAFCofficial) January 9, 2014
Sporting and Technical Director Richard Garlick also released a statement on the club's website:
I’m delighted to welcome Pepe to the Club.His appointment concludes an extensive recruitment process during which we have cast the net far and wide to identify the most suitable candidate to take the Club forward.
Pepe was a strong contender from the outset due to his impressive achievements and has emerged as our No.1 candidate.
He is a forward thinking coach whose teams are renowned for playing an attractive and positive style of football.
Mel was most recently the manager of Real Betis in La Liga, bringing the club from Spain's second division up to the top league in his first year. Unfortunately, he was fired last month after the team dropped to last place in the table.
Prior to this position, the 50-year-old former striker was the head coach of Rayo Vallecano, Corinthians and a few clubs around the world since retiring in 1998. He also spent most of his playing career in Spain and has no professional experience in England.
He will now take over for West Brom after the club sacked former manager Steve Clarke in December. Keith Downing has been the interim manager over the past few weeks, but Saturday's match against Southampton will be his last match in charge.
Of course, not everyone believes that a new manager was needed, like Jake Humphrey of BT Sport:
I wish Pepe Mel all the best at West Brom, but it should still be Steve Clarke's job. That one still baffles me...— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) January 9, 2014
Still, West Brom Albion currently sit in 14th place in the EPL table with 21 points in 20 matches. This is especially disappointing after an eighth-place finish a year ago.
The organization will hope that Mel can take the talent on the roster and turn it into better results. Although it might be too late to turn around this year, he should have an opportunity to win trophies starting in the 2014-15 season.
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