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West Brom appoint Alan Irvine as head coach

Irvine has taken the reins at The Hawthorns. Credit: PA

West Brom have announced former Preston and Sheffield Wednesday manager Alan Irvine as their new head coach on a 12-month rolling contract.

The Scot will succeed Pepe Mel, who left the club by mutual consent the day after the Barclays Premier League season finished last month, once he "signs off" from his current role as Everton's academy manager.

Rob Kelly, who worked under Irvine at Preston and Wednesday, has also been appointed joint assistant head coach, alongside Keith Downing.

Albion technical director Terry Burton told the club's official website: "I'm delighted we have been able to secure the services of Alan and Rob."


Family say former West Bromwich Albion player died from same disease found in brain damaged boxers

The family of Jeff Astle, who helped West Bromwich Albion win the FA Cup in 1968, say they have been told by a doctor that the former footballer died of CTE - the same disease found in brain damaged boxers.

They told the Mail on Sunday that the doctor said Jeff Astle's brain looked like that of an 89-year-old. He was 59 when he died.

Laraine and Jeff Astle celebrate winning the FA Cup in 1968 Credit: PA Wire

Mrs Astle said the discovery meant 'Jeff had been misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s when he was alive, when in fact he had CTE. I wonder how many other footballers out there are in the same position.'

Jeff Astle is the first English professional footballer to have been identified with the disease after his wife gave permission for his brain to be re-examined.

CTE is a degenerative brain disease which can be found in people who have played contact sports and who have repeatedly received head injuries. It has been found in professional athletes who have taken part in American football, ice hockey or boxing.

It can cause symptoms of dementia, including depression, aggression and memory loss.

WBA appoint former coach as Technical Director

Terry Burton coaching at Arsenal Credit: John Walton/EMPICS Sport

West Bromwich Albion have appointed their former first team coach, Terry Burton, as Technical Director.

The 61-year-old will leave his post as Arsenal's Head of Youth Coaching, and work with Richard Garlick, who will now work as Director of Football Administration.

Burton was previously first team coach at the Hawthorns under Roy Hodgson in the 2011/12 season.

The club say Burton will now play an important role in the search for Pepe Mel's successor.

WBA fans react to Pepe Mel's departure

West Bromwich Albion fans have reacted to the departure of Pepe Mel, many saying the Spaniard did not get long enough in charge to really impact the team's fortunes.

Mel left the club today after just three wins in 17 games in charge, with the team only just surviving in the Premier League.


Pepe Mel leaves WBA after 'disappointing season'

Pepe Mel has left West Bromwich Albion after what club bosses labelled a "disappointing season".

Mel was appointed in January and presided over 17 matches, of which the team won just three.

Pepe Mel was appointed in January Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

A statement from the club said they had parted company with Mel by "mutual consent".

Sporting and technical director Richard Garlick said:

Although we have managed to achieve a fifth successive season of Premier League football, it has been a very disappointing campaign and lessons have been learned.

The search for a new head coach has now begun. We aim to find the most suitable candidate who, with the support of the structure we have had in place for six years and are presently strengthening, will enable the club to be more competitive next season.

Baggies' goalie Foster headed for World Cup in Rio

West Brom goalie Ben Foster will be heading for Brazil after being named in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad.

West Brom goalie Ben Foster has been named in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

Despite just six previous appearances for the national side, Foster is one of three keepers selected for the team, alongside Joe Hart and Fraser Forster.

Former WBA winger dies, aged 73

Clive Clark in his WBA days Credit: Barratts/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

Former West Bromwich Albion footballer, Clive Clark, has died at the age of 73, the club has announced.

Clark was known as 'Chippy', and made 351 starts for the club between 1961 and 1969, scoring 98 goals from the wing.

His career highlights include featuring in the 1966 League Cup success, top scoring with 29 goals the following season, and winning the FA Cup in 1968.

Albion signed Clark from QPR for a club record fee of £20,000 in 1961.

Anelka defends 'Quenelle' gesture

Anelka was banned and fined for this gesture Credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

Nicolas Anelka has come out to defend himself and deny he is anti-Semitic.

The French striker was handed a five-match ban and fined by the FA for the 'quenelle' goal celebration after scoring for West Bromwich Albion against West Ham on December 28.

The pose has been associated with religious intolerance in France.

The French comedian who invented the gesture, known as Dieudonne, has been convicted of anti-Semitic crimes seven times.

The commission which handed Anelka his punishment accepted there was no intent by the player to be anti-Semitic.

Anelka has told a french newspaper that the gesture had been 'badly interpreted' and was meant in support of his comedian friend.

The gesture shouldn't cause offence. It is condemnable in front of a synagogue, yes, just like all other bizarre signs that you could do in front of one, but that's all. In that case, to say it's a vulgar gesture, effectively, I agree with you.

There was no religious thought on my part. And I have never said that my gesture was against the system, simply that the gesture was. Again, I'm not racist, not anti-Semitic, and the quenelle was a simple tribute.

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