Report: West Brom could fire Bilic despite Man City draw
Slaven Bilic’s days at the Hawthorns could be done come Wednesday, according to a report in The Times.
His removal would come despite a Sam Johnstone-inspired draw against Manchester City on Tuesday, as the Baggies sit two points from the Premier League’s 17th place.
Bilic, 52, is in his second stint with a Premier League outfit, having gotten the Baggies promoted back to the Premier League after leading West Ham United to the Europa League.The club hierarchy had been supporting Bilic in conversations with West Brom’s overseas ownership, according to the BBC:
It is thought Albion’s Chinese ownership is veering towards a different conclusion, which would make Bilic the first Premier League manager to leave their job this season.
When Bilic was asked about his future following the draw at Etihad Stadium, he said: “I’m very calm. I love my job, I enjoy it and I’m working hard for myself and my staff for the club. Everything else is out of my control. I’m just doing my best. I’m not bothered what’s happening behind the scenes. I don’t care.”
West Brom has not out-produced an opponent in expected goals this season, but has drawn Chelsea, Burnley, Brighton, and Man City while beating reeling Sheffield United. Bilic’s men have also lost 1-0 to Spurs and Man United... but also lost to newly-promoted Fulham.
The candidates to replace Bilic would be Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes, Nigel Pearson, and Eddie Howe.
It’s challenging to argue that any of the four would be far-and-away better than Bilic with the Baggies roster as currently constructed -- the attacking options limited and young -- though better arguments could be made for Howe and Pearson and both have more recent PL experience than Allardyce and Hughes.
Allardyce is known for keeping teams up but has not boasted a win percentage above 40 percent with a club since his eight-year run with Bolton ended in 2007. His last three jobs have been 31 matches (Sunderland), one match (England), 24 matches (Palace), and 26 matches (Everton).
Hughes has been out of football since a short stint with Southampton in 2018. He, too, hasn’t lasted long anywhere since leaving Man City in 2009, having led Fulham, QPR, Stoke, and Saints.
Pearson has had three jobs since leaving Leicester City in 2015, faring poorly at Derby County and OH Leuven before joining Watford’s relegation campaign in December of last season.
Howe spent all but one season managing Bournemouth between 2008-2020, taking a short spell at Burnley between 2011-12.