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James Shan: I'll look back on 13 years at West Brom with fond memories

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Jimmy Shan bears no grudges from his time in the Albion hot-seat – as he now targets a return to football.

James Shan

Shan left the Baggies this summer after 13 years following his 12-game stint as caretaker boss at the end of last season.

The father-of-three, who is now on the hunt for a new job, has been linked with a possible re-acquaintance with old boss Darren Moore at Doncaster Rovers.

He told the Express & Star he was grateful for his chance at Albion and has fond memories of his time there.

“I’ve got lots of fond memories of the last 13 years," he said. "I’ve made an awful lot of good friends in my time at West Brom, no doubt that friendship will continue.

"I’m grateful for the opportunity from the club to develop over that time.

"A lot of people say I started out as an under-7s coach, it’s not entirely true, my first role was performance coach from under-7s to under-16s and then I took the under-11s as an age group.

"Pretty much every four years I had a progression in role and responsibility, from all the way though from the little-ones to the first team.

“It was the pinnacle of my coaching career, being in charge of a first team steeped in history like West Brom."

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Shan left shortly after Slaven Bilic was appointed as head coach, and has been replaced as first-team coach by Julian Dicks.

He admitted his time in charge of the Baggies gave him a taste of management, but he's not narrowing his search down to those roles.

“It was a joint decision,” confirmed Shan. “But I don’t just want to pursue a career as a manager, that puts me in a small bracket.

“I’ve got a huge passion for coaching, if that means being an assistant manager, first team coach, or going back into academy level, so be it. I have a big passion for being out on the grass.

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“I don’t want to be out of work for too long, I'm just a normal guy with three kids and a mortgage, I need to be in work!”

Albion have dominated Shan’s life for the past 13 years, ever since he joined the club from Birmingham City.

“You give your all,” said Shan. “Two of my kids are currently eight and five, they’re both West Brom fans. They’ve already asked ‘can we still go to the games?’ They want the new kit too.

“I’ll follow the club with great interest and wish them all the success for the future.”

The 40-year-old sat down with new boss Slaven Bilic before a decision was made on his future, and he was impressed with what he heard.

“I think it’s exciting,” said Shan. “He’s someone of vast experience, he knows the English mentality.

“I had two hours with him, I have to say I found him a highly intelligent football man, great charisma, great personality, he’s highly motivated, he wants to bring success to West Brom.

“West Brom deserves to be a Premier League club. Hopefully he can steer the club back to those heights.”

Shan was also pleased to see Rekeem Harper, a player he knows from the academy, sign a new three-year contract amid serious interest from Tottenham, and he hopes Bilic will blood a few more academy players next season

“We’ve got lots and lots of players within that academy that are progressing at a steady rate,” he said. “One thing that the club has done very well over my time is to produce players that have gone on to have fantastic careers in the game, even if they’ve had to depart.

“Hopefully Sam Field, Jonathan Leko, Rekeem Harper, Kyle Edwards will all be trusted in that first team environment, and given an opportunity to succeed.

“There’s some talented players below them too, who have been given the right tools to progress, hopefully that can be a conveyor belt.

“Obviously it’s fantastic news about Rekeem, hopefully that shows the intent of the club.

“I’m a huge admirer of Rekeem, I think he can go on to be a top Premier League midfielder.”

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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