Former West Brom player and pundit Carlton Palmer has fired a warning to new Baggies boss Valerien Ismael over potential boardroom interference he could experience at the Hawthorns.
Last season, West Brom’s hierarchy made the decision to sell defender Ahmed Hegazi in the run-up to an important Premier League fixture and that left Slaven Bilic frustrated with the club’s board.
The Baggies’ drawn-out recruitment process for a new manager this summer led to the departure from the club of sporting and technical director Luke Dowling.
That came after David Wagner had turned down West Brom to take over at Swiss side Young Boys instead and left them having to start again in their search for a new boss.
Ismael has eventually been named as the successor to Sam Allardyce and he makes the switch from Barnsley after a £2 million compensation fee was paid to Barnsley.
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Speaking to FootballFanCast, Palmer issued a warning to Ismael over West Brom’s board and suggested that they might have too much of a say over what happens with football matters and that the manager needs more freedom if they are to be a success.
He said: “The chairman [and board] has too much of a say on what’s going on and the manager doesn’t have enough say.
“Bilic’s picked his team on the day of the game [practically] and then when it comes to teatime, that player is not able to play because the chairman sold him. Now, you can’t be having that as a manager.”
Palmer is right that West Brom’s board need to re-evaluate the way that they conduct themselves in terms of interfering with matters on the field that they should not be. The sale of Hegazi last term against Bilic’s wishes is a potential alarm bell and Ismael will need to be wary of that, but you would imagine that they will allow him the room to bring in his own players this summer.
Ismael is going to find the West Brom challenge a lot different to the one he had at Oakwell. There will be instant pressure for success on his shoulders and that means he will not have the time to make many mistakes as he gets up to speed with life at the Hawthorns.
The 45-year-old seems to be the sort of character that would not allow his board to override what he wants to achieve at the Hawthorns. He will need to use that and not get daunted by the pressure of trying to lead the club back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.