The Baggies would no doubt have liked to have been in the top six, if not higher at this point in the season. However, after faltering under Valerien Ismael and struggling to score goals, he was relieved of his duties with the side on a slide down the division.
As Steve Bruce took over, the results didn’t pick up at first. It saw West Brom drop out of the top six entirely and then out of the top half to boot, although they have since restored some credibility by reaching 12th in the league table.
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However, it isn’t where they wanted to be and the supporters have been quick to criticise plenty of their team this year, with many of the squad failing to step up to the plate and produce the goods.
It should – and probably is then – a hard task to single out one Baggies player as the Flop of the Season. There have been a few in the side who arguably haven’t been up to scratch, especially with the side struggling and falling short in the expectations of themselves this year.
However, Football League World’s West Brom fan pundit Matt has been able to select his choice for Flop of the Season and has settled on goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
The former Man United and Aston Villa man has linked up with England in recent years and has started to emerge on the international scene. He was also once regarded as one of the most promising shot-stoppers in England and potentially the best keeper in the Championship.
However, he has played in 36 league games this season and whilst he has managed 15 clean sheets, he has flattered to deceive both on and off the field. Some fans have blamed him for some of the club’s bad results this year and after a fall out with Valerien Ismael that saw him exiled completely, it left a bad taste in the mouth.
He has once again been confined to the sidelines under Steve Bruce – and Matt has now spoken out about his choice for the Flop award. He said: “So Flop of the Season is an interesting one and probably controversial too because he is a player we all felt lucky that he stayed at Albion in the summer. I’m going to go with Sam Johnstone because compared to his performances last year where he won England caps and was a member of England’s squad in the Euros, you would not even believe it was the same player inbetween the sticks.
“He struggled to adapt to Valerien Ismael’s ideology behind being a goalkeeper and made numerous mistakes rushing off his line, was too rash here and there, he’s had discipline issues, he fell out with Ismael which may have contributed to his sacking and was sent off against Cardiff. As the season has gone on, even when Steve Bruce has joined, he’s made countless errors and I think he’s actually lost Albion points.
“So compared to last season when he was winning plaudits from everyone, it’s a massive contrast and look how the season has ended for him – he’s been bombed out of the team with his mind set on elsewhere. I’ve never really got the feeling he’s been committed to the cause and it has been disappointing all round. It’s not been a good campaign for Sam Johnstone.”
Sam Johnstone has certainly not hit the same heady heights and levels of performance he has set for himself in previous seasons.
The goalkeeper was seen as somebody West Brom could rely upon and in a team that was struggling to get goals and results, you would have thought the shot-stopper would be one name that they could turn to in a bid to help get them through it. Instead, he faltered as the rest did and was arguably to blame at some points.
Having made himself practically un-pickable too has helped nobody. The goalkeeper has suffered as a result of missing gametime and being on the sidelines and the Baggies suffered as their number one shot-stopper was unavailable. He’s also no doubt left a sour taste in the mouth of fans, which is never a good thing to do when you leave a club.
It might be best then that he is likely off this summer – and West Brom might not miss the player too much now.