West Brom’s decision to hire ex Liverpool number two is a gamble

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Eleventh and tenth-placed finishes under Roy Hodgson established West Brom in mid-table and sees them rated 4/1 outsiders for the drop in his absence, but they have never come higher than 17th in the Premier League without him.

The sense that the transition into life without the England manager will be a bumpy one is enhanced by their bold call to shun comparatively experienced candidates like Ralf Rangnick and Chris Hughton in favour of Steve Clarke.

The Scottish coach was confirmed as the Baggies’ new head coach on Friday in what will be his first role as the senior figure at a club and, though examples like Hughton show such a move can work, very few get their first job in the Premier League.

Clarke was lauded for his influence at Chelsea during the glorious Jose Mourinho era and is even judged by some to have been the primary reason behind their run to the Champions League final in 2007/08 under Avram Grant.

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However, his lack of success away from the comfort of long-term employers Chelsea should be seen as a genuine cause for concern, although it is of course difficult to gauge the impact that a member of the backroom team is having.

Clarke has been an assistant at three other sides – Newcastle, West Ham and Liverpool – and on each occasion, the manager that he was brought in by was fired within two seasons.

His recently axed Anfield superior Kenny Dalglish has backed West Brom’s appointment, observing that not being required to dictate transfer policy – Dan Ashworth has that responsibility – could help ease him into the position.

He said: “It would be a great move for him and for the club. It would be the perfect place for him to start out as boss because of the stability of the club.

“In some ways, the job there is a head coaching position and it would allow him to continue with something he does brilliantly…I’m glad he’s getting fixed up. He would be an asset to any club.”

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.