Opinion: Just how badly did Tony Pulis hurt West Brom?

I’m sorry West Bromwich Albion fans, but Alan Pardew isn’t going to be the man who is going to bring long-term success to your football club.

On a more positive contrary, if Tony Pulis has made you so bored of football that you’re thinking about picking up another hobby to keep you entertained on a Saturday afternoon, Pardew may offer you a fun part-time replacement for a year or so; although relegation is looking like the price you may have to pay for it.

Imagine during GCSE’s, your horribly old-school, evil yet effective Maths teacher who made you scared to go to school gets replaced by a supply teacher who’s a pushover and tries too hard to make you laugh; you were meant to get an A but you got a C. You may sulk in regret now, but at the time it seemed completely worth it. This is how I imagine West Brom fans to reflect in a year’s time.

Tony Pulis to Alan Pardew is a backlash which represents how fed up West Brom must have been with 0-0’s and goals coming exclusively from set-pieces. As a Palace fan, I’ve experienced both sides of the coin with these respective coaches, and even though they both endured fairly successful times at the club, I’m quite happy we’ve got neither currently; Tony is like watching paint dry and Alan Pardew can feel more like Alan Partridge, at the best of times.

West Brom went in for Pardew as he is a manager which brings an instant swagger and tenacity to his team. Pardew’s confidence in himself and his methods does rub onto the players as proven at Palace and Newcastle, where both teams faced a refreshing instant injection of belief which was proven from their results and performances. Another exciting proposition is that his teams like to get on the front foot and attack when possible.

Attacking football and instant motivation: these two attributes were clearly the inspiring factors for the West Brom board which made them approach Pardew, in an attempt to break the dreary, bleak pessimism which has loomed over The Hawthorns this campaign and the tail-end of the last.

What should be most concerning for West Brom fans is that after 12 premier league games, Pardew has only 1 win and they sit 4 points adrift at the bottom of the table, and judging on his previous jobs, the early period is meant to be by far his best period.

Yet the Baggies faithful still seem satisfied with their choice. Perhaps this is proof of the depth of the wound which was inflicted from the Tony Pulis era; previously I was of the opinion that West Brom should be careful what they wish for, however, it seems they’d rather get relegated under Alan Pardew than continue watching a Tony Pulis side each week – and I’ve got to respect them for that.

Whether you love him (unlikely) or not, Alan Pardew will give you entertainment value and the #wba hashtag will be flooded with Pards memes before you know it. This can be when it’s going well and he does a funny little dance, when he conducts the fans singing his name or, at worst, when you lose 5-4 to relegation rivals, or when his excuse for not winning is “we scored too early”. Regardless, like the start of any Alan Pardew relationship – West Brom seem happy, although I’m not sure how long that will last.  

By Tommy Joyce