Just one day after the curtain came down on the Premier League campaign, West Brom and manager Pepe Mel have parted company by mutual consent.
The former Real Betis manager was appointed by the club in January 2014 following the departure of Steve Clarke and was charged with keeping the Baggies afloat in the Premier League.
Mel was able to keep the club in the top flight, but after discussions with the Baggies' hierarchy, both club and manager have decided to go their separate ways just four months into the 18-month contract that was initially signed:
West Bromwich Albion have parted company with Pepe Mel by mutual consent #wba— WBAFCofficial (@WBAFCofficial) May 12, 2014
The Baggies' Sporting & Technical Director Richard Garlick thanked Mel in a statement released on the club's official website:
We would like to thank Pepe for his efforts over the past four months in helping to keep the Club in the Premier League and wish him well for the future.
Both Pepe and the Club set out with the best intentions of making the appointment work. However, having reflected on events both on and off the field during our talks today, it became apparent that it was in the best interests of both parties for there to be an amicable parting.
We are grateful for the manner in which the existing coaching staff and players have rallied behind Pepe to get the Club over the line in what has proved an extremely competitive division.
Mel will leave the Hawthorns after steering the Baggies to three wins, six draws and eight defeats during his 17 games at the helm.
Should Mel have seen his contract out at West Brom?
The club were four points clear of the relegation zone prior to his appointment, and having been branded by Garlick as a "forward thinking coach," per BBC Sport, Mel was expected to maintain the Baggies' top-flight status.
The Spaniard immediately looked to integrate a new mantra centred on a high defensive line and intense off-the-ball pressing.
Draws at home to Everton, Liverpool and Chelsea showed signs of early promise, but he was unable to fully establish his principles with an unfamiliar squad embroiled in a relegation scrap. Eventually, West Brom finished just three points clear of the relegation trapdoor in 17th place.
Mel's reign of just four months is no great shock in the modern game, and his short stint in charge puts him in the same category as plenty of other short-serving bosses, as documented here by Football Cliches:
Filing the forgettable tenure of Pepe Mel alongside those of Alain Perrin, Velimir Zajec, Jim Jefferies, Ricky Sbragia and Steve Wigley.— Football Clichés (@FootballCliches) May 12, 2014
Having clung on to their Premier League status, a massive summer lies in wait for West Brom. The Baggies have a host of technically adept players who you suspect could flourish in the right environment. But starting the campaign with their third manager in 12 months can only be unsettling for the players and supporters.
From Mel's perspective, he achieved his primary aim in keeping West Brom in the Premier League, established himself as a popular figure with the supporters and can leave with his head held high. It's something the now departed boss touched upon prior to his sacking, as reported here by the Times' Oliver Kay:
Pepe Mel on Fri: "I'll go from here with 2 feelings: achieving the objective and people not really knowing the head coach I am" Now left WBA— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) May 12, 2014
After a brief stint in English football, a job back in Spain—where he has enjoyed the vast majority of his managerial success—looks most likely for the 51-year-old.