Darren Moore
West Bromwich Albion Manager Darren Moore during the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Ipswich Town at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich on Saturday 9th March 2019. (Photo by Leila Coker/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

West Bromwich Albion parted ways with head coach Darren Moore following the Baggies’ 1-1 draw with bottom side Ipswich Town. The shock move comes with West Brom fourth in the Championship with ten games remaining. Moore’s assistants, Graeme Jones and Wayne Jacobs, were also relieved of their duties. Three games ago, West Brom were just one point behind the top two and, in two of those three games, they faced sides in the top three.

Darren Moore’s Brutal Dismissal

Popular Appointment

Darren Moore was given the role on a permanent basis in the summer after a successful period as interim boss. He was tasked with seeing out West Brom’s dreadful campaign last season following the dismissal of Alan Pardew in April.

Moore was already a cult hero at The Hawthorns with over 100 appearances for the club between 2001 and 2006. He solidified that status with a quite exceptional end to a torrid Premier League campaign, picking up 11 points from a possible 18.

He gave the decision makers at West Brom no choice but to give him the permanent position for this season. Two draws and three wins from six Premier League games, including successes at Old Trafford and St James’ Park, as well as an incredible late winner against Tottenham Hotspur at home, almost engineered a miraculous escape from relegation.

Pressure Building

Moore suddenly found himself head coach of a side that demanded a swift return to the Premier League in his first managerial season. He headed up a team that has the second highest wage bill in the division having retained most of their squad following relegation. 

Moore faced questions almost immediately with defensive frailties becoming a clear issue early in the season. Albion’s leaky defence has ultimately halted their promotion charge. With just six clean sheets all season, West Brom have conceded more goals than any other side in the top eight.

Failure to plug the holes in his defence had put Moore in a precarious position that only worsened as 2019 came around. Harvey Barnes was recalled by Leicester City, leaving a massive hole in Moore’s side, another hole he was unable to plug. The Baggies haven’t won a home league tie since Boxing Day and have won just four of their last 12, leaving them 11 points behind leaders Norwich City and nine points off the automatic promotion places.

Old Wounds 

West Bromwich Albion sacked two managers last season before finally being relegated to the Championship. Once the dust settled, one of the criticisms aimed at the club was how slowly they reacted to the downturn in results, many arguing that not pulling the trigger at the right time contributed to their exit from the top division.

Some argued that Tony Pulis had taken the club as far as he could and shouldn’t have been at the helm beyond the summer. Whilst that argument is debatable, it is absolutely clear that Pulis’ successor, Alan Pardew, should’ve been sacked sooner. Pardew won just one of his 18 league games, conceding 30 goals before he was ousted.

It appears that those wounds haven’t healed. West Brom were always going to be quick to pull the trigger at the first sign of trouble after last season. However, in their relentless pursuit of Premier League redemption, a popular fan favourite has been unceremoniously thrown under the bus.

Football is a Business 

First-team coach James Shan will take charge until a replacement for Moore is found, and a replacement must be found quickly with just ten games of the season remaining. West Brom want their new man through the door before their midweek fixture when Swansea City visit The Hawthorns. Former Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic has emerged as a top target for the Baggies. Jokanovic won promotion to the Premier League last season, beating Aston Villa in the play-off final. 

Darren Moore unified a club and a fanbase that had been torn apart in recent seasons. His mantra of ‘We, not me’ had begun to heal a feeling of toxicity that remained following a turbulent campaign. It’s a harsh reminder that modern football is a business and, in chasing that Premier League payday, a popular club man is brutally dismissed. There are no prizes for sentiment, not in this game.

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