West Brom agree terms with Mel as managerial hunt ends

PREMIER League strugglers West Brom have appointed Spaniard Pepe Mel as head coach ending their month-long search to replace former boss Steve Clarke.

Mel has signed an 18-month deal and will watch from the stands tomorrow as the Baggies, four points clear of the relegation zone, travel to out-of-form Southampton.

The 50-year-old had initially held talks with the club two weeks ago, following Clarke’s dismissal on 14 December, but negotiations were said to have broken down when Mel was told he could not appoint his own coaching staff.

However, he has now agreed to work alongside assistant head coach Keith Downing, who takes charge of the team for the sixth and final time at St Mary’s, and goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely.

West Brom sporting and technical director Richard Garlick said: “Pepe was a strong contender from the outset due to his impressive achievements and has emerged as our No1 candidate.

“He is a forward thinking coach whose teams are renowned for playing an attractive and positive style of football.”

Mel successfully guided Real Betis to promotion to La Liga in 2011-2012, then seventh place in the top flight last season and consequently qualification to the Europa League.

The former Real Madrid striker was sacked last month, however, with Betis bottom of the table having only won twice all season.