Five lessons West Brom should have learned from their disastrous season
After the final game of the season, Darren Moore urged Albion to learn from their mistakes this season. So we looked at five key lessons for the club.
Recruitment needs to return to the old Albion model
Albion’s decision to recruit experienced players from clubs higher up the league backfired.
The Baggies used to be full of hungry players who saw the blue and white stripes as the pinnacle of their career, but they became full of “quality” players who dropped down from so-called bigger clubs on bloated wages and it didn’t work.
Krychowiak, Barry, Sturridge, Chadli – these were players supposed to take Albion to the next level. None of them did.
The Baggies also paid through the nose for the potential of Oliver Burke while Ahmed Hegazi, who only arrived on loan at first because he was seen as a punt, played more minutes than any other Albion player this season.
Experience doesn’t guarantee success in any league
Albion’s decision to appoint Alan Pardew because of his Premier League experience mirrored their mistakes in the recruitment department.
Experience is supposed to bring stability, but Pardew brought the opposite. He threw the shackles off a functional squad and removed the essence of what made them tick.
It was an unimaginative appointment that ultimately cost the club.
Dithering over decisions cost the club
Tony Pulis was probably sacked one or two weeks too late, but by then Roy Hodgson had joined Crystal Palace. But far worse than that oversight was the decision to keep Pardew on so long.
Pulis went after four straight defeats, but Pardew lost nine in a row before his exit.
The board were wary of more upheaval, but you can’t imagine former owner Jeremy Peace waiting so long when there was still a chance of staying up – however slim it was.
Treating people well integral to modern management
Players have so much power in modern football, and the majority of them stay at their clubs far longer than the managers that come and go.
It means that today’s coaches need to rule with the carrot just as much as the stick.
Darren Moore’s honest, humble and hardworking approach appealed to the Albion players and it was in stark contrast to what came before him.
Ben Foster summed it up by saying: “He’s just a real good guy and you just want to work for him and do the best you can for him.”
And director of performance Mark Gillett described the importance of ‘being kind’ in developing mental resilience as “the biggest lesson from our season.”
Fans are lifeblood of the club – they need to be looked after
To be fair to chief executive Mark Jenkins, he has already learned this lesson from his time outside of the boardroom and back in the stands.
His severe reductions to season ticket prices next season show he understands the importance of having a rocking Hawthorns.
The atmosphere had grown stale under Tony Pulis, and as the defeats racked up, anger turned to apathy under Pardew.
Under Darren Moore we witnessed how important the 12th man can be to performances.