WEST BROMWICH, England (AP) — Delivering West Bromwich Albion’s best result of the season was not enough to save Slaven Bilic from becoming the first Premier League manager to be fired.
Bilic lost his job Wednesday, a day after West Brom drew 1-1 at Manchester City with the kind of hard-working display that showed his players had not given up on their coach.
He was replaced by 66-year-old Sam Allardyce, who has been out of work since May 2018 but has a reputation for saving teams from relegation. West Brom will be the eighth Premier League club he has managed.
“In Sam we have a man who has a proven Premier League pedigree with a track record of improving every club he has managed,” West Brom’s sporting and technical director, Luke Dowling, said.
Allardyce, who has signed an 18-month deal, will take training on Thursday ahead of his first game in charge, at Aston Villa on Sunday.
West Brom is in next-to-last place in the Premier League after collecting only seven points from its opening 13 games in its first season back in the top division.
Bilic was in charge at West Brom for 18 months, leading the team to promotion from the Championship at the end of his first season as its manager. After struggling to sign any top-quality players in the offseason, West Brom has found the transition to the Premier League hard, winning only one match — against last-place Sheffield United — and conceding a league-high 26 goals.
Bilic was also unhappy about the club sanctioning the sale of Egypt center back Ahmed Hegazi in October, despite him saying he didn’t want the player to leave.
“Albion would like to thank Slaven and his coaching staff for their efforts in achieving promotion last season and wishes them all well in the future,” the club said, after also announcing the departure of Bilic’s assistants, Dean Računica and Danilo Butorović.
The draw at City was Bilic’s 100th Premier League game as a manager. Afterward, he said he was “calm” amid widespread reports he was about to be fired.
“To be fair, I’m not bothered,” he said. “I’m doing my job. I’m enjoying it. I’m working hard for myself, for my staff, for the players, for the club, that’s all.”
Bilic, a former player and coach of Croatia’s national team, was fired by Premier League club West Ham in 2017 after 2 1/2 years in charge.
He also has coached Hajduk Split, Lokomotiv Moscow, Besiktas and Saudi Arabian team Al-Ittihad.