West Brom appoint Pepe Mel: Premier League strugglers gamble on former Real Betis manager

The 50-year-old was the club's 'No 1 candidate' to replace Steve Clarke

West Bromwich Albion have confirmed Pepe Mel as their new head coach on an 18-month contract.

The 50-year-old Spaniard moves to The Hawthorns as a permanent replacement for Steve Clarke, who was sacked last month. Mel's most recent job was with Real Betis, who dispensed of his services on 2 December.

Mel's greatest crime in Andalusia was to fail to live up to the success of last season, with a seventh-placed finish earning Betis a Europa League spot after he had won promotion to La Liga in 2011. A heavy 4-0 loss to city rivals Seville essentially saw him off but he has been out of work for less than six weeks.

Albion opened talks with Mel at the end of last month but his insistence on bringing in his own back-room staff stalled negotiations. The club were also linked with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and former Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf before succeeding in agreeing terms with Mel

The Albion sporting and technical director Richard Garlick said on the club's official website: "I'm delighted to welcome Pepe to the club.

"His appointment concludes an extensive recruitment process during which we have cast the net far and wide to identify the most suitable candidate to take the club forward.

"Pepe was a strong contender from the outset due to his impressive achievements and has emerged as our No 1 candidate. He is a forward-thinking coach, whose teams are renowned for playing an attractive and positive style of football."

Keith Downing and Dean Kiely, who have led Albion with some credit for the five games since Clarke's departure, are to assist Mel, whose coaching CV also lists the likes of Alaves and Getafe.

The pair will be on the touchline for the game at Southampton tomorrow, with Mel in the stands at St Mary's. He will take charge for the first time for the home game with Everton on 20 January.

Garlick added: "The board is extremely grateful to Keith, the coaching staff and players for their efforts over the past month. Keith will have an important role to play in supporting Pepe as he coaches in England for the first time."

Mel takes over a side out of the FA and League cups and 14th in the Premier League, some four points off the relegation zone.

Man of many clubs: Mel's career history

28 Feb 1963 Born in Madrid

1974-87 Joins Real Madrid youth but fails to play for the first team before moving to Osasuna

1989-93 Helps Real Betis to promotion, scoring 14 goals in single top-flight season.

1993-97 Plays for several minor clubs before retirement. 1999-2002 Coaches Merida and Murcia, then replaces Rafael Benitez at Tenerife.

2003-05 Spells with Getafe and Alaves in Brazil.

2006-10 Returns home to lead Rayo Vallecano to promotion.

2010-13 Joins Real Betis, wins Segunda Division then clinches Europa League place before getting the sack in December with Betis bottom of La Liga.

Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin