Chris Hughton would be a safe appointment for West Bromwich Albion as they search for a manager to take them back to the Premier League.
However, in recent years ‘safe’ choices have not always brought success for Championship clubs and the Baggies should maybe be tempted to take more of a risk.
Following the sacking of Darren Moore in March, Jimmy Shan oversaw managerial duties until the Baggies’ play-off defeat to Aston Villa on Tuesday. Despite winning the game 1-0 on the night, making the overall aggregate score 2-2, Shan’s side lost out on penalties and face a consecutive season outside the top flight for the first time in a decade.
The club finished 4th last season but were tipped by many to be champions at the start of the campaign after holding onto key players like Dwight Gayle and Jake Livermore.
Chris Hughton was sacked by Brighton on Monday despite steering the club clear of the relegation zone and narrowly losing out to Man City in the FA Cup semi-finals. The former Birmingham and Newcastle manager has been strongly linked with the vacant Albion job and his experience and track record would ordinarily make him the perfect candidate for the role.
However, recent managerial appointments in the same vein have shown that this formula may not be as sure-proof as it once was. Stoke City appointed Gary Rowett last season after luring him from Derby and he was considered to be the ideal candidate to take the club back up. However, despite Rowett’s experience Stoke struggled and he was later replaced by former Luton manager Nathan Jones.
Tony Pulis, who has left Middlesborough today, and Steve Bruce who was sacked by Aston Villa, are further examples of how the so-called ‘safe pair of hands’ may not always be the best way to go.
David Wagner, Daniel Farke and Chris Wilder did not have the same managerial status as the likes of Bruce, Pulis and Rowett when they arrived at their clubs but all three were successful in getting their teams promoted. If West Brom want to try and play an entertaining style of football, similar to that of Norwich, Hughton may not be the best man for the job. His Brighton side was heavily defensive and one of the reasons for his sacking was the fact the Seagulls won just three of their last 23 games.
Lincoln manager Danny Cowley’s name has also been mentioned after he took the Imps from the National League to League One in the space of three years. While Hughton may be the obvious pick for the Baggies, taking a risk can often pay off.