West Brom announced that they have hired Alan Irvine as their next manager. Their statement read in part:
Albion are delighted to announce that Alan Irvine will be appointed as their new Head Coach.
The 55-year-old has agreed a 12-month rolling contract and will complete his move to The Hawthorns once he has officially signed off from his current role as Everton’s academy manager.
He will take over the reins from Pepe Mel, with whom the club parted company by mutual consent just over a month ago.
Rob Kelly will also be joining the staff, taking over the role of co-assistant manager with Keith Downing.
West Brom technical director Terry Burton said:
I'm delighted we have been able to secure the services of Alan and Rob. From the outset, we decided to pursue candidates who are renowned for their coaching ability and Alan was very much at the forefront of our thoughts because of his achievements in the Premier League and the high regard he is held within the game.
Irvine has had managerial stints at Preston North End and Sheffield Wednesday, but his greatest successes have come in his role as Everton's head of the youth academy. Under his leadership, the Toffees have built a stable of young stars led by Ross Barkley.
Darren Griffiths, Everton's media and public relations manager, wished Irvine the best of luck with his new endeavor:
All the best to Alan Irvine at West Brom. A great guy who will be missed at Everton.— Darren Griffiths (@DGriffiths65) June 14, 2014
Having experience with younger players and developing promising stars will come in handy at a club like West Brom. The Baggies can't match those above them financially, but if they can create a pipeline from the youth team to the first team, they could set themselves up well for the future.
Some will be surprised that Tim Sherwood wasn't the choice to succeed Pepe Mel.
The Independent's Sam Wallace reported that the former Tottenham Hotspur manager couldn't come to terms with the club:
Tim Sherwood has turned down the West Bromwich Albion head coach/manager job. Could not agree personal terms. More late @Independent— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceIndy) June 14, 2014
However, Steve Madeley of the Express & Star reported that the Baggies' first choice was Irvine after the second round of interviews:
Tim Sherwood's camp will claim he turned the job down. Albion adamant Irvine was more impressive in second interviews. #wba— Steve Madeley (@smadeley_star) June 14, 2014
West Brom are certainly taking a leap of faith with their decision. Plenty of managers with Premier League experience are either without clubs or would leave their current club in order to move to The Hawthorns.
Of course, the other point to consider is that Irvine is a somewhat fresh face in terms of the coaching scene. The Baggies are sacrificing a certain amount of security for the chance that he is somebody who can help the club punch above its weight rather than merely stave off relegation.