Belfast Telegraph

Clarke: Baggies sacked me too soon

Former West Brom boss Steve Clarke believes the Baggies sacked him too soon.

The Scot was axed by the club in December 2013 after a poor start to the season, but feels he deserved more time.

Clarke guided West Brom to eighth in the Barclays Premier League in 2012/13, but was axed after a run of just seven wins in 34 league games.

However, the former Chelsea number two believes the Baggies were too hasty in giving him the boot.

"I know I was moved on before my time because the crowd didn't have the chance to get on my back and give me stick. When that happens you know you have maybe gone a little bit early," Clarke told talkSPORT.

"It was a strange season the second season. We started really poorly, I didn't feel as though we had built the squad properly in the summer, then we got a few players right on the deadline day. Then we had a really good spell when we picked up some good points and played well.

"But in the space of two weeks we lost four matches and with no warning or nothing from above to say 'Look, you've got a couple of games to turn in around Steve', suddenly I was out of the door. it was quite a strange feeling."

Clarke is yet to find another job but was close to landing the Crystal Palace hotseat before Neil Warnock was appointed last month.

He was replaced by Pepe Mel in January but Mel left the club in May after they finished 17th and Albion, who host Hull in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday, appointed head coach Alan Irvine in June.

Clarke was close to bringing back Romelu Lukaku to The Hawthorns in August 2013 - after the striker's successful loan spell from Chelsea in 2012/13 - only to be beaten by Everton, a big reason for the Baggies' struggles last year.

He said: "It was close, it was obviously between ourselves and Everton, and there was a spell quite late in the evening, about 8pm, when I thought Romelu was coming back to West Brom.

"Between 8-9pm his agent stopped answering the phone and we realised he'd decided to go to Everton, which is his choice and he's done a great job for them."

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