West Brom comment: Was Guochuan Lai too gung-ho?

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

There’s a danger that, in their haste, Albion’s Chinese owners have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

Former technical director Nick Hammond.

Guochuan Lai was understandably angry at seeing his £175million investment slip away just 18 months into his ownership.

But the timing of his decision to axe chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman left Albion rudderless at a pivotal point of their season.

However, it was the decision to sack Nick Hammond a few weeks before the season finished that was arguably more baffling.

Hammond deserves to shoulder plenty of blame for the Pardew appointment.

He was so instrumental in that decision one fellow candidate described him as ‘railroading’ the former Newcastle boss into position.

But Hammond realised long before Pardew eventually left that his former Reading colleague needed to go and the technical director was advising the club to act weeks before they did.

Hammond made his name as a shrewd director of football for the Royals in the Championship, and it’s a division he has over a decade of experience working in.

He certainly has far more experience of that tier than Giuliano Terraneo, the Italian who replaced him on a temporary basis.


Terraneo is only at the club in a consultancy capacity, and is there to help search for a new technical director this summer.

The new man could be a resounding success of course, but there is uncertainty surrounding that position.

Considering Albion already needed a head coach and a chairman, perhaps Lai was slightly too trigger happy when it came to Hammond.

Marginalised under Tony Pulis, he paid the price for the Pardew appointment, and arguably rightly so.


But having worked for the club for two years, he knew the squad, knew its weaknesses, and which areas would need strengthening.

Sacking him may have completed a necessary clean sweep, or it may have over-complicated an already busy summer.

And when there are so many plates spinning, the worry is that one will crash and fall to the floor.

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.


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