Steve Clarke had performed wonders with Albion on a limited budget before being sacked on December 14th following a barren start to the season. This is remarkably similar to Mel’s record who was himself sacked by Betis in December after eight games without a win despite performing miracles to win them promotion and then gaining them Europa League football.
Mel was tipped for the job from the very start but in a strange twist WBA had announced in late December that they would not be appointing him. Mel had impressed the board during his interview but had insisted on bringing in his own backroom staff. This was something that the West Bromwich board couldn’t countenance at the time so it remains to be see who has come out on top during the negotiations.
Mel is known for his love of attacking, flowing football and he is used to operating on a strict budget – the reason for his stagnation at Betis this season was largely due to injuries and the loss of key players to balance the books. His style of play should go down well with the Albion fans but he has a tough task if he is to eventually bring European football to the Hawthorns just as he did to the Benito Villamarin.
Mel’s playing career peaked at Real Betis where he was a striker with a good eye for goal. West Bromwich Albion are Mel’s tenth club in a fourteen year management career and he becomes the fourth Spaniard to manage in the English Premier League but time will tell whether he will be a Rafa Benitez or a Juande Ramos.