West Brom news

Clarke axing surprised Kilbane

December 15, 2013
By Kristan Heneage

Former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Kevin Kilbane admitted he was surprised to learn of his former club's decision to place Steve Clarke on gardening leave.

Steve Clarke West Brom close up
GettyImagesSteve Clarke has been relieved of his duties at West Bromwich Albion.

• Evans: Clarke axed

Clarke, 50, was relieved of his duties as head coach of the Baggies on Saturday evening following a 1-0 defeat to Cardiff City earlier in the day.

With West Brom currently sitting 16th in the Premier League table and without a win in six matches, the club cited a poor return from 2013 as their reason for his dismissal. 

However for Kilbane, who played over 100 times for the Baggies, the decision is a surprising one, with the midfielder admitting he was disappointed to see Clarke go. 

"I'm a little surprised to be honest," Kilbane told ESPNFC. "Even after the result today he wasn't the first manager that came to my mind as being under a bit of pressure over the last couple of weeks.

“I think that's the way West Brom do things, they keep their business in-house, they don't let whispers out that the manager is under pressure so I think that's why it's surprised so many people. It's not really been mooted that he was under pressure.

"We talk so much about stats now. Stats becoming more prominent, you look at it, I think it's seven wins this calendar year so he's going to be under pressure from that. They've probably looked at that win percentage and the way the clubs being run now, they're running it with a view success especially with the money they've spent recently so you can probably understand it from their point of view.

“I just think that from what Steve Clarke initially did taking over from Roy Hodgson he did really well. I think he proved himself to be a very good manager, a very astute manager. All managers are going to have bad spells and bad patches. I'm a bit disappointed for him more than anything because I like the way he played football and the way he went about things.

"The next appointment is essential now. Whoever comes into the club now, this is a big appointment. Usually when a manager comes in he gets a reaction, you look at Tony Pulis at Crystal Palace, he's got a reaction out of the players. We may see a reaction at West Brom now with a new manager coming in. I think with the quality and strength of the squad I don't see them as a potential relegation team though."

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