Seven points from safety and rock bottom of the Premier League, you would think things couldn’t be much worse for West Bromwich Albion. You would be so wrong.
Despite three wins all season, the Baggies manage to embarrass themselves even more off the pitch. In just over a week, Albion’s top goalscorer, Jay Rodriguez, has been charged with using racial language towards Brighton’s Gaetan Bong.
January signing Daniel Sturridge was taken off injured, just three minutes into a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea on Monday night. Rarely seen owner Guochuan Lai sacked both chairman John Williams and chief executive, Martin Goodman. As well as an incident in which four Albion players allegedly stole a taxi at 6 am, while away for a warm-weather training camp in Barcelona. Have I missed anything?
The news broke just 24 hours before a fifth-round FA Cup game at home to Southampton. Questions are certainly being asked as those involved are club captain Jonny Evans, vice-captain and England international Jake Livermore, all-time Premier League appearance maker Gareth Barry alongside Boaz Myhill.
From top to bottom, how has it gone so wrong? For a stable club that is spending its eighth year in top flight. Just where do the Baggies go from this?
This simple answer is, down. Seven points from safety, three wins all season and controversies coming from everywhere you look. Albion are as good as relegated, and it may be the best thing for them.
The four who are caught up in the Barcelona ‘taxi-gate’ should not play for the club again. The lack of professionalism shown by them is disgusting. Fans travel week in week out to watch Albion put in mediocre performances and that is how they are repaid. You can not excuse their behaviour. It wasn’t a ‘lads’ holiday’, it was a training camp for their employer and they have shown disrespect towards everyone at the football club.
Young players such as Sam Field and Oliver Burke should be given a chance over the four who have performed the crime, they will be the future as Albion attempt to bounce back straight away from the Championship.
Relegation will give Albion to chance to get rid of the players who just are not worthy of wearing the shirt. For players such as Chris Brunt, Gareth McAuley, Ben Foster and James Morrison being caught up in wrong doings time and time again, they deserve much more respect as all their hard work is being undone by unprofessional players.
There is also no way back for Alan Pardew. I liked the guy when he first came in. He talked the players up, said they were good enough despite what was being said by former manager Tony Pulis.
In hindsight, any man or his dog would have portrayed a more positive attitude than what was shown under Pulis.
But Pardew has been given his chance and has not shown any signs of improvement, especially from results in both games in Merseyside and against Brighton. For the players to not only break a curfew of midnight but to crush it to ending up stealing a taxi six hours later. Just what control or respect has he got over these players and especially the senior ones?
It is a chance for Albion to rebuild. Bring someone in who knows the club and will show it the respect it deserves. Derek McInnes seems the obvious replacement. Just like recent times when Albion have been promoted from the Championship, managerial unknowns of Tony Mowbray and Roberto Di Matteo took the Baggies up, it needs to return to that.
West Bromwich Albion need to rebuild for the future. Get a stable chairman in who knows the club. An up and coming manager to bring through younger talent which Albion do own. Then get the Baggies out of the Championship as that is where they will inevitably end.