Football Season Review

№17: West Bromwich Albion

West Brom suffered their sixteenth Premier League defeat of the season on the final day. The Baggies lost out at home to ninth placed Stoke City. Record signing Stephane Sessegnon got the West Brom goal. Pepe Mel's side were considered safe from the drop ahead of the game due to their goal difference being vastly superior to third from bottom Norwich City. After over-achieving the previous season when they finished a remarkable eighth in the table, manager Steve Clarke was afforded access to the chequebook in pre-season and managed to add some players that on paper were certainly better than what was already at the club. The squad now offered good depth also. The Baggies struggled for results early in the season, and although Clarke did seem reasonably secure in the his position, the club took the unexpected decision to sack him in the middle of December. At that point in time West Brom had suffered four defeats on the trot and were just two points above the drop zone. Nevertheless, it appeared to be a knee jerk reaction. It took the club's hierarchy almost four weeks to appoint Pepe Mel as the successor, and only after it became clear he was a few places off the top of their short list. Mel ultimately ensured the club escaped the drop, but going into the final day of the season it was only goal difference that granted them comfort. They finished the season sixteenth in the table with just thirty six points, three points clear on the drop zone. Striker Nicolas Anelka struggled with injuries and was then sacked by the club midway through the season. It was a badly handled situation by all involved. Jonas Olsson, Youssuf Mulumbu and Ben Foster were their most consistent performers over the course of the season. When one looks at the quality of players at the club, in many ways it is hard to understand why they struggled so badly. There is a strong argument to be made that they should have never parted company with Clarke. Mel has since left the club, despite having a year left on his contract. His departure was almost inevitable.

Player of the Season: Ben Foster