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Steve Clarke's Baggies

Started on 30 January 2013 by Glenn T
Latest Reply on 31 January 2013 by Glenn T
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We all know about Roy Hodgson's decision to move on from West Bromwich to England, and we also know about his replacement, Steve Clarke. But how exactly did Clarke, a complete novice in full-time management, guide West Bromwich to the top half and beyond? How exactly did his first season go? Read on to find out.


Season One: 2012/13

Episode 1: Clarke's First Season
Episode 2: Summer Plans
Episode 3: The New Boys
Episode 4: Wheeling & Dealing
Episode 5: Clarke's Pre-Season
Episode 6: Kit Promotion

Clarke's First Season

This story begins on the 29th of June 2013. Clarke's first season has come and gone, but how exactly did the former Chelsea and Liverpool assistant manager do in his first season at the Hawthorns?

Steve Clarke, a former football player who played for St. Mirren and Chelsea, making 550 appearances for both clubs in total, also enjoyed a career as an assistant manager to West Ham, Chelsea and Liverpool. Just 2 days after being sacked by Liverpool, Clarke was announced as manager of West Bromwich Albion on 8 June 2012, replacing Roy Hodgson.

His first matches in charge of the club, the pre-season friendlies, were a huge success, with the Baggies not scoring less than 3 goals to win in every game. Clean sheets were also easily kept.

Clarke's first months in charge of West Bromwich proved satisfying. The Scot introduced a highly defensive mentality, and this helped to secure wins against clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. Despite it backfiring sometimes, this strategy and mentality often brought wins. In his first 22 games in charge, Clarke had masterminded 13 wins and 2 draws.

West Bromwich were also very active in the transfer window, with Clarke spending 23 million and selling a total of 20 million worth of players away to reshape the team. Every single new arrival shone, especially goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who took away the first-team spot of Ben Foster in mid-season and keeping 8 clean sheets, 2 more than Foster. Paulo Ferreira was also another surprisingly brilliant transfer, originally brought in as support at right-back, but the Portuguese veteran has established himself as first-choice at left-back with his superb performances after joining from Chelsea.

The Baggies' first half of the season was undeniably better than the second, but nevertheless, Albion fans will look back to this as one of their better seasons. Despite going out early in the Third Round of the FA Cup, Clarke took West Bromwich to the Semi-Finals of the League Cup, losing to Liverpool over 2 legs. The Reds eventually went on to win the League Cup for the second consecutive season, beating Chelsea in the Final.

It was an 8th place finish for West Bromwich Albion. Manchester City retained their league title and both Arsenal & Tottenham surprisingly finished above Manchester United. Newcastle finished at 5th place like they did in the previous season, and Stoke City finished 6th, winning Tony Pulis a runner-up spot in Manager of the Year. On the other side of the table, Swansea, Queens Park Rangers and Wigan were relegated, with Wigan finishing rock bottom with 24 points.

All in all, it was a good season for the Baggies, but Clarke will be looking to improve on them in his second season.

2012 European Roll of Honour

Ballon d'Or
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

World Player of the Year
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

World Team of the Year
Valdes; Ramos, Pique, Vidic, Evra; Sneijder, Xavi; Messi, Aguero, Bale, Villa

2012/13 Premier League Awards

Golden Glove
David de Gea (Manchester United)

Footballer of the Year
Peter Crouch (Stoke City)

Goal of the Season
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

Manager of the Year
Roberto Mancini (Manchester City)

Players' Player of the Year
Gareth Bale (Tottenham)

Players' Team of the Year
De Gea; Sagna, Kompany, Vidic, Evra; Cazorla, Mata, Rooney, Bale; Giroud, Crouch

Players' Young Player of the Year
Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United)

Golden Boot
Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

2012/13 Club Awards

Top Goalscorer
Shane Long - 11 goals

Top League Goalscorer
Shane Long - 9 goals

Top Assists
Wellington Nem - 8 assists

Fans' Player of the Year
Jonas Olsson

Best Eleven
Gordon; Coleman, Okore, Olsson, Ferreira; Mulumbu, Dorrans, Thorne; Morrison, Wellington Nem; Long

How will Clarke's future at West Bromwich go?

Read on to find out.

Summer Plans

West Bromwich manager Steve Clarke has called a press conference before the squad's pre-season tour of Austria, discussing his plans for the summer.

In the press conference, Clarke also reveals that Seamus Coleman will be returning to parent club Everton, despite the Irishman's successful loan spell at the Hawthorns.

"We are looking at a few players, but our budget is also very tight," Clarke admitted. "So there will be loans."

When asked about Romelu Lukaku and Coleman, Clarke reveals that both loanees will return to their parent clubs.

"I was very interested in signing Seamus permanently, but obviously Everton doesn't want to sell," says Clarke. "I am not at all surprised. He was a very good player during his time with us and if I was (David) Moyes, I would want to keep him. He is a brilliant player."

Asked if he could name any of his transfer targets, Clarke says: "I don't think that would be a good idea, but I can tell you that the primary area we are looking to strengthen is left-back."
Superb start m8. Your writing is awesome :)

Good luck ;)

The New Boys

West Bromwich have completed the signings of 4 players, and at the same time, there have been 3 departures from the West Midlands club.

The first of the departures is Gonzalo Jara on a free transfer to Leeds. The Chilean spent last season on loan at Nottingham Forest and will look to salvage his career in the Championship.

Liam Ridgewell has also confirmed his own departure to Championship club Blackburn Rovers for a fee of 2 million, just 18 months after joining West Bromwich from Birmingham.

Despite his rather successful summer at West Bromwich, manager Steve Clarke has opted to sell Argentine defensive midfielder Claudio Yacob to recently-relegated Swansea for 3.6 million.

Steve Clarke's new signings include Liverpool striker Andy Carroll on loan until the end of the season, and could very well replace Shane Long who is rumored to be wanting a move out of the Hawthorns.

Denilson has also agreed a loan move in from Arsenal, where he is deemed surplus to requirements on the back of an unsuccessful loan spell at Sao Paulo.

Jadson arrives from Sao Paulo in a 6 million deal. The 29-year-old has worked with fellow signing Denilson at his former club and is also rumored as a replacement for James Morrison, who is understood to be on the verge of leaving West Brom.

Last but not least, 16-year-old Portuguese defender Hans Daprela has agreed to sign a youth contract with West Bromwich, joining the Baggies from hometown club Casa Pia.

The New Boys

Andy Carroll

Hans Daprela



I passed up on both Jadson and Denilson who were listed in the second season on my Villa save. Interestingly I ended up buying Yacob. xD
2013-01-30 21:58#79388 Liverbird : I passed up on both Jadson and Denilson second season on my Villa save. Interestingly I ended up buying Yacob. xD

Dayum! :P

Yacob was a tad bit above average for me, but I've gone with selling him.
Andy Carroll? What is wrong with you?!? HaHa

A good start for you Glenn, keep it up!
Good start mate, I believe you can take the Hawthorns to the top! Yacob has an average season on the first, then he is a beast.
2013-01-31 02:33#79417 Jamesg237 : Andy Carroll? What is wrong with you?!? HaHa

A good start for you Glenn, keep it up!


Thanks Jamo!

2013-01-31 08:32#79458 PaukerJ : Good start mate, I believe you can take the Hawthorns to the top! Yacob has an average season on the first, then he is a beast.

Well you could have told me that before I sold him :P

Wheeling & Dealing

West Bromwich manager Steve Clarke has confirmed a few peculiar signings and departures for the West Midlands club today.

Young left-back Dodo joins on loan from Roma. The 21-year-old does not have much experience in senior team football, having only played 2 times for Roma in Serie A, but Clarke has invested much confidence in him and it remains to be seen if the Brazilian will live up to expectations.

Montpellier second-choice keeper Laurent Pionnier has also agreed to a short-term move to England. A serious injury to Ben Foster will leave the Englishman out for 3 months, and Pionnier has been brought in on a 4-month loan deal to play backup to Craig Gordon.

Player Exchanging

With Clarke himself claiming there is no transfer budget to spend despite him leading West Bromwich to an unexpected top-half finish last season, the Scot has gone for the next best thing - player exchanges. His trades have been a tad bit peculiar, but he insists that Baggies fans have no need to worry.

James Morrison, influential in the Baggies' campaign last season, has been exchanged for Atletico Madrid's Mario Suarez. The Scottish attacking midfielder moves to Spain, while 26-year-old defensive midfielder Suarez will play in the Premier League for the first time.

Mario Suarez, in his unveiling as a West Bromwich player

James Morrison playing his last league game for West Bromwich, against Everton

Perhaps the transfer that caused us all to call Clarke's decision-making 'peculiar', and what West Ham would describe as a possible coup, West Bromwich have agreed to exchange last season's top scorer Shane Long, who is rated at 5 million, for West Ham's young left-back Danny Potts, rated at about 575k on the market. America Under-20 international Potts is showing every sign of developing into a quality full-back, but fans have questioned Clarke's decision of off-loading Long for a young and unproven player.

Danny Potts playing in an Under-18s game for West Ham

The New Boys


Mario Suarez

Danny Potts

Laurent Pionnier
Shane Long for POTTS?! WTF?

Clarke's Pre-Season

Pre-season was brilliant, save for the 2-0 loss against Bursapor. Trashing a team 7-0 is absolutely wonderful, no matter what country and division that particular team plays in. A spectacular morale-booster, and I'm hoping this form can be carried on into the season.

Wehen 0 - 7 West Bromwich

NAC Breda 1 - 3 West Bromwich

Woking 1 - 3 West Bromwich

West Bromwich 0 - 2 Bursapor
2013-01-31 17:53#79482 Liverbird : Shane Long for POTTS?! WTF?

I'm the reckless type :P

Kit Promotion

West Bromwich have announced their allocation of kit numbers for the upcoming 2013/14 season, and Giuseppe Bellusci and Jores Okore are revealed to have been handed new kit numbers.

Originally wearing the number 22, Bellusci has inherited the number 4 shirt, last worn by Claudio Yacob who moved to Swansea a few weeks ago.

Okore, formerly wearing number 23, has donned on his favoured number 6, formerly worn by Liam Ridgewell who has moved to Blackburn.

The rest of the kit numbers are as follows:
1) Ben Foster
2) Paulo Ferreira
3) Jonas Olsson
4) Giuseppe Bellusci
5) Mario Suarez
6) Jores Okore
8) Jadson
10) Andy Carroll
11) Chris Brunt
13) Craig Gordon
14) Wilfried Bony
15) George Thorne
16) Wellington Nem
17) Graham Dorrans
18) Dodo
19) Adryan
21) Youssuf Mulumbu
23) Danny Potts
24) Denilson
27) Mattias Johansson
32) Laurent Pionnier
34) Hans Daprela

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